Should you hire a developer or use a website builder tool?

Building a website or app is easier and cheaper than ever, but there’s a hidden cost to that convenience.

DIY building tools have been cropping up more frequently. Their easy-to-use interfaces and professional looking output make them an obvious choice for amateur site designers.

These tools are great for helping people take their first steps towards building an online presence. But there’s a certain human touch that can get lost in the process.

Be Your Best Self

Most people want to stand out from the crowd, but being different isn’t necessarily what’s important. There are no prizes for building an amazing, unique website. (Well, technically there are, but that fact shouldn’t concern most people.)

While there is plenty of criticism hefted at website building tools like SquareSpace or Wix, they do fill an important niche. Most people can’t program HTML or CSS from scratch but still need a web presence. Places like SquareSpace, Wix, and Weebly make functional, nice looking sites that will cover your basic needs.

Benefits Of Doing It Yourself

Predictable Cost

At the high-end, the monthly price of running a site through a DIY hosting service is around $30 a month and can be significantly cheaper than that.

If you just need a website to sell your homemade jam or silkscreened cat shirts, you likely don’t need a custom design. And you don’t need to hire someone to build it for you.

The Do-It-Yourself tools allow you to work the website cost into your budget and it won’t really fluctuate.

Easier To Maintain

Imagine you decide on Thursday that you want to have a sale on blueberry jam Friday. Instead of emailing your developer, hoping they’re in front of their computer and able to make the necessary changes, you can just do it yourself.

Build Your Brand

Once you’ve got something you think people will want to buy, it’s important to have a professional looking presence to go with it.

It’s difficult for many people to know exactly what they want from their site, which can seem be daunting. Builder tools make the barrier to entry much lower.

Some Drawbacks

Sameness

These tools rely on templates to make your page look professional. The cookie-cutter layouts can give your site a generic feel, especially if you choose a popular template.

Learning Curve

These tools are designed so that anyone can build a website or platform, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn. Making something that looks professional is one thing, but learning the minutiae of the tool will be time-consuming. That’s a lot of man hours that could be spent on other aspects of your business.

Benefits Of Hiring A Pro

Expert Insight

A top developer or product manager will add a tremendous amount of value to any project.

Not only do designers have the technical knowhow, they can also educate you on the choices you’ll need to make. And product managers, by definition, bring a skillset that’s focused on making sure their clients get to product-market fit.

That’s important because great products are never finished–they’re continuously evolving. It’s extremely unlikely your idea will be in it’s best form on your first attempt. Time is everything for startups, and a great PM will help you iterate more quickly and find product-market fit.

Create Something Unique

When you’ve got the best damned homemade strawberry jam on the planet, you deserve a website that reflects that. A professional developer can make your website look unique and give you added functionality.

Specific Components

Maybe you need to maintain a database of all your customers from around the world, maybe you need a way to source local produce so folks can make their own jam, or maybe you want retina scanning security protection for your repeat customers. You need to hire a professional for anything that goes above and beyond.

Dealing With A Person

Maintaining momentum and morale is a lot easier when you’re not going it alone. Working with others creates checks and balances and accountability. Plus, human contact is nice.

It’s easy to screw up when you’re building something by yourself, the trouble is, when you’re doing it alone you don’t have anyone to call to help you trouble shoot problems. With a developer on your team you can just pick up the phone or shoot them an email.

Dealing with real people also means that everyone needs to be able to justify their decisions. This creates accountability, which has a link to higher job performance, increased morale and commitment to work. Plus, human contact is nice.

A Look At Freelancers

Finding a talented freelance programmer can help you save on your bottom line.

Not everyone can afford professional programmers. Top development firms employ top developers who demand high salaries. Those companies also need to pay for office space, marketing, support and other expenses.

Those costs get passed on to you, the customer. Freelancers, on the other hand, are able to undercut those costs because they have a much lower overhead.

Hybrid Approach

Generally, a simple site builder is fine for getting you to V1 of your product. But moving to the next level means bringing in a professional.

Often, companies think they can start out using a site building tool and hire a developer when the time comes to step things up. That might sound good in theory–after all, you get the best of both worlds–but in practice it never really works out that way and can actually be the more expensive option.

Most developers don’t like working on top of something built by an automatic app or website builder. It takes too much time to look through all the code and isn’t very fun.

Devs often charge more to build on top of other apps because the work is less enjoyable. And then by the time they’re done, it would’ve been cheaper and faster if you’d hired them at the beginning.

At The End Of The Day

Ultimately, if you only need something that serves a simple purpose and isn’t innovative, a builder tool will probably suit your needs just fine. If you want something that stands out from the crowd and caters to your needs precisely, a professional developer likely makes more sense.

Gigster’s goal is to become the most automatic app builder in the world using AI. We want you to be able to say what you want and just get your code. Contact Gigster for more information.