The popularity of website builders is growing exponentially. There are more and more of them, and the existing ones are rapidly updating their functionality, adding more and more options and templates. Despite the growing popularity, the attitude towards designers is very ambiguous for both customers and freelancers. The former is afraid of getting a product with “reduced functionality”, and the latter do not want to change the traditional methods of creating sites. Having experience in working with many designers, such as Tilda, Wix, Readymag, I will try to talk about the pros and cons of working with them based on practice and knowledge of the pitfalls that arise in the process of creating real products.
The main advantages of website builders
Before I start talking about the pros of website builders, I would like to clarify that we will talk about the scenario of creating a “customer-executor” site. There are many cases when customers think that they can independently create an excellent site without having certain skills and without the participation of specialists. And, having received a disastrous result, they think that website builder platforms are obviously a bad idea and that they basically have no positive aspects. In fact, there are a lot of advantages, namely.
Probably the biggest and most fundamental advantage of using designers is the cheapness and economy on development. After all, the traditional method of creating a site includes design development, the layout of the site, work on cascading style sheets, SEO, and many other types of work, depending on the complexity and type of site. Almost always, each of these areas is engaged in individual people, which means that you need to pay separately for the work of a designer, layout designer, marketer, and other performers. When creating a website on the designer in 90% of cases, one person works, usually a designer.
No need to work with code
Most often, advertising their services, the owners of platform website builders write about the lack of code as the main advantage of development. It would seem that this should not apply to the customer because it does not matter to him whether the freelancer will work with the code when creating a site or not. But almost always there is a need to change something in the site, simply change the inscriptions or pictures. And in the case of using the designer, the customer does not need to look for a freelancer, ask him to change something in the site or even post individual tasks on freelance exchanges with a request to change the content of the site (yes, there are really a lot of such orders). The site owner can independently make all the changes in just a couple of clicks thanks to a convenient visual editor, which is present in each designer.
Time of creation of the site
Based on the above factors, namely the lack of need to have many performers to create a site, as well as the lack of need to work with code, the process of creating a site on the designer takes much less time. In addition, due to the fact that, as a rule, one person works on the creation of the site, you do not need to discuss all the nuances with the designer and layout designer for a long time. In practice, I can say that the creation of a completely ready “turnkey” excellent complex landing page takes 2-3 days, a corporate site or a business card site can be created in less than a week, and a high-quality developed online store will take up to 14 days. For example, without designers, this process takes 2-4 times longer.
Website builders also simplify the organizational part of creating a site, which almost always lies with the customer. There is no need to look for hosting, think about how to pour a site there. In addition, most existing designers offer the opportunity to purchase a domain immediately on their platform. Thanks to this, there is no need to separately look for platforms that sell domains and provide hosting. Also, there is always a support service that always provides assistance, advising on the work of the functionality and any trifles related to the site, which is excluded with the traditional version of its creation.
Speed and pattern
Speaking of the cons of website builders, it is important to note that their creators are developing their platforms very rapidly. As a result of this development, some shortcomings were eliminated. For example, if earlier it was believed that sites created on constructors work slowly, now the creators of platform designers work on good servers that are located around the world. This allows their sites to work and load sometimes even faster than those that have sites on conventional hosting. Previously, the main drawback was considered a certain “template” of sites that are created on designers, but now on most platforms it is possible to create absolutely any design. It all depends on the skills of the designer himself, but you can realize almost any idea, which will get rid of the feeling that all sites are collected according to one template.
But, there are still some very important shortcomings that are important to mention.
It is impossible to fully own the site
If the site is created on the designer, its owner has a limitation in actions with this site. A person can’t just take all the data and transfer it to another hosting. It would seem that this is not such a big minus and very rarely someone will want to transfer a ready-made working site simply to another hosting or another designer, but in practice quite a lot of customers need it.
More expensive fares
The second minus directly emerges from the first, because the cost of hosting on any platform that offers this function is several times lower than the tariffs of website builders. This is logical and is explained by the fact that the platform-designer provides much more services than conventional hosting. But at the same time, the fact that a person does not have the opportunity to simply take a ready-made site and transfer it somewhere from the platform to the hosting, where the tariff will be cheaper, is definitely a minus.
Advertising the service
Almost all designers have an advertisement for the service itself or an indication that the site was created on this constructor. As a rule, it is absolutely unobtrusive and looks like a small inscription or a line at the bottom of the site, which absolutely does not spoil either the site or its design. However, not everyone likes it, and in order to disable this inscription, you need to pay separately or purchase the most expensive tariff, and this is a minus of such platforms.
It would be very wrong to say that sites created on constructors do not perform well. Moreover, there are many examples when such sites occupy the first lines in search engines, and every month their number is only growing. Inside the builders, there are large and fairly flexible options for customizing search engine optimization. However, this is not all the functionality used by marketers and SEO specialists that can be implemented in the site. And you have to come to terms with that.
Limitation in functionality
Despite the constant development and introduction of new features on the constructor platforms, there are still many options that simply cannot be used on the site due to their absence in the designer itself. As a rule, these are functions related to the work of PHP programming, which allow the client to diversify the site, add more complex functionality, such as complex calculators, personal accounts, the history of using the site. I put this point last in the chapter of cons, because, as a rule, these are functions that are not needed by everyone and even on ordinary sites their implementation is very expensive. But you need to be prepared for the fact that not all the ideas of the customer can be implemented on the site that was created on the designer.
Based on everything written above, we can conclude that the advantages in creating sites on the designer are becoming more and more every year or even a month. If you follow the trend, it is easy to see that the number of sites created on such platforms is growing exponentially. For example, sites created on Wix, exceed 150 million. According to official data presented on the Tilda Publishing blog, more than 200,000 applications were submitted for 2020, which is much more than last year.
I can confidently say that with the development of designers, their popularity will only grow. However, do not forget about the disadvantages of such sites. After all, there is a high probability that one of them will be a fundamental factor for choosing in favor of more traditional options for creating a site. So in what cases it is worth considering the creation of a site on the designer? I will try to present the most objective point of view on this issue, but still I do not guarantee that there will not be some subjective view here.
When to Use a Website Builder
Landing pages or personal blogs. One-page sites or landing pages that consist of 2-3 pages should definitely be created on designers. I just don’t see options in which any of the cons listed in the article can affect the decision not to use the constructor. After all, the functionality allows you to create simply unimaginable in design and quality one-page sites.
A business card site, a corporate website, a directory site or a site selling services. In many ways, the customers of such sites are stopped by the limitation in the settings of search engine optimization, because it is absolutely important that such sites get on the first pages and even the first lines of search engines. But I will repeat what I already wrote above: there are a large number of examples when sites collected on the designer come to the forefront of search engines, so I always recommend clients to use builders in creating such types of sites. But I do not exclude that in some cases additional functionality will be needed, which will lead to the need to create a site by the traditional method.
Online store. Probably the biggest stumbling block in disputes about how to create a website is the online store. A lot of people say that it is simply impossible to assemble high-quality e-commerce on the designer, while others argue that the functionality of the designers allows you to create excellent stores. From a practical point of view, I should note that when creating an online store, the functionality of the designer is very often really not enough. From my experience, I can say that it all depends on the size of the store. If the client has no more than 10 categories of goods and no more than 100 products in total, then you can safely use the designer. If the scale of sales is much larger, then I would not recommend creating a store using construction platforms.
The advantages of designers justify the growth of their popularity. More and more advanced designers will appear, and the current ones will acquire new functions. However, there are many scenarios where their use would be inappropriate. The site owner should consult with a specialist, weigh the pros and cons and independently decide how to create a site. However, I repeat that you can not create a good site without having skills, even on the designer. It is always better to use the services of specialists in this field.