Website Builder vs. Website Developer: What’s the Difference?

Posted on April 29, 2022 | Updated on July 25, 2022

Should you hire a web developer to create a website for you? Or would it make sense to build one on your own? Nowadays, many people are skipping the middle man since they don’t need special coding skills to create a website. However, developers can offer their expertise in what looks like a professional design.

Yet, you might be asking yourself how a website builder is different from a web developer. It’d be easy to confuse the two terms, especially if you’re new to this area. However, there is a major difference between the two — and it’s crucial to understand as they vary greatly in approaches when building a website.

Website Builder vs. Website Developer

What Is a Website Builder?

A website builder is a tool allowing users to build a website without coding experience.

There are two types of website builders — offline and online. An offline version is a software you use to create your website on your computer. 

In comparison, an online web builder is a web-based platform you can create a website on the company’s server.

Either website builder tool features drag-and-drop commands converting into code. Once you finish creating your design, an online web builder will host it through the company’s server. On the other hand, you can connect it to your hosting provider. 

Website Builder Features

Most website builders will have a dashboard interface you use to customize your website pages. When using these platforms, you typically have a selection of templates to start building your website. Each template might have a theme that is sufficient for different websites. For example, a personal blog uses a different template than an online store. 

Once you choose a theme, you can start customizing it with different features that a website builder has to offer, including:

  • Drag-and-Drop Interface: Many website builders have a drag-and-drop functionality enabling you to drag elements into various areas of your website. The live panel will contain a preview of your website to see the effects once you make changes. 
  • Style Options: Another panel will feature a display of settings you can select to change your website’s style. Styling options typically include typeface and image or text sizing. You may also have opportunities to add contact forms or embed videos.
  • Admin Dashboard: Most website builders allow you to switch between the customizer and the behind-the-scenes options. If applicable, this functionality lets you create or delete webpages, manage a store and use third-party integrations.

What Is a Website Developer?

A website developer is a skilled professional that creates a website from scratch. Developers understand how to use coding languages involving Javascript, HTML, CSS, etc. In some cases, website developers will have a degree in web development or some formal training under their belt. 

Developers either work for a company as an employee or offer contractual services as a freelancer.

In a traditional aspect, website developers will create and edit websites using coding languages. Nowadays, you can find developers with limited coding experience who specialize in using website builders. Since these developers are skilled in using a specific builder, they can create websites faster. However, a website developer skilled in coding and customizing with a website builder can integrate the two if the platform allows coding.

So, it’s clear that the difference between a website builder and a web developer is that one is a software. In contrast, the other is a human who creates websites. 

Which Should You Choose?

Whether you choose a website builder vs. hiring a website developer, they will vary greatly in costs and results. A website builder is the simplest way to make a website, especially if you don’t have coding experience.

Yet, working with a website builder, you might encounter design challenges that it does not support. And if people don’t like your site’s design, 80% of those users are likely to bounce off the website.

This part is where you get the benefit from hiring a website developer. You get complete control over how you want your website to look. 

Another factor you have to acknowledge is the costs. A website developer can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands upfront. In contrast, a website builder typically starts around $25 per month. Plus, you have to recognize the costs of hosting plans. 

You also need to consider time and maintenance. Developers building a website from scratch can take anywhere from four to six weeks on average. If they use a website builder, this could take as little as 30 minutes. 

However, if you plan to customize your website, you may need to devote more time.

Create a Website Unique to Your Business

Neither is a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your website needs and your budget, this will help you determine whether you should choose a website builder vs. a website developer. A website builder is ideal for small businesses that want to set up a website quickly without a large upfront investment. But if you want a completely customized, unique website — a professional can help capture the product you envision.

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