When it comes time to build a website, you may consider doing it on your own with the website builder that is integrated within the web host, or you may be thinking about hiring a web designer to tackle the job. While there is no right or wrong answer to this predicament, each choice has its own set of pros and cons. Websites have become the face for many businesses, so now websites are considered an investment for most brands. These are just some things to consider when trying to decide which will be the best route to take for your project. Budget If you are building a website and don’t have at least a decent sized budget, you probably should not be considering hiring a web designer. At a minimum, your budget should be somewhere near $5,000 before you even think about hiring a web designer. If your budget is small but you seek out a web designer anyway, it is likely that the pool you are picking from is made up of individuals that do not design websites for a living, which is a red flag. You are better off postponing launching the site so that you can save up more to invest in a real website designer. This investment will give you someone that you can depend on for the process, which is actually quite complicated. If there is no way that you have the budget to hire a web designer, that is totally okay! A website builder is a tool that has been made to build conventional, yet functional, websites. They are made up of simple forms that allow amateurs to easily edit and manage content, update photo galleries, and even embed maps. Website builders don’t come without a cost; premium services will cost about $100 a year with the hosting and domain name included. You will also likely be given the option for add ons which will be in the range of $10 to $50. One un-anticipated cost that may come up when using a web builder is the need to change hosting services. This can be confusing and costly. Convention vs. Customization A website builder will build a conventional website, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can get the most out of a website builder if you don’t try to build it from scratch when the bare bones have been provided for you. All that you have to do is insert your own photos into the gallery, type out your own text, insert your forms, and even use basic e-commerce. It is normally not 100% customizable, but it sure gets close. If you feel like you need a totally 100% customized website to get the completely unique website that you’ve been dreaming of, you will absolutely need to hire a web designer. But is total customization necessary? Benefits of a Web Builder When you decide to tackle the project yourself, it is so easy to get started. You will be able to choose from a selection of premade templates, allowing you to think less about the design of the website as a whole. In general, you will also be provided with a step by step building wizard, making the process simple and painless. You also won’t have to publish your web page and images, as the files you use will be directly within the hosting account. Any person with some level of computer knowledge is able to use a website builder thanks to the many great features provided. Drag and drop allows elements to literally be placed onto the website in the desired location, fonts can be changed without a struggle, and color schemes can be altered in just one or two clicks. Many web builders are also backed by a support team, as they know many of their users may not be so tech savvy. When a Web Designer Would Be Best It may seem pretty simple to design a website, but what happens when it needs maintenance, or worse yet, you need to transfer hosts? For instance say that you have created a website using a host’s designer, but must transfer the website to a different host. It is near impossible to transfer the host, and you will likely end up building the site from scratch. When you use a web designer, you will automatically have your own hosting account, and will not have to worry about changing hosts or servers. As your business grows, a web builder likely won’t be able to keep up as your needs change. A good web designer will be able to provide you with features that are not usually found on a hosted website builder like polls, image sliders, and intricate navigation. What to Consider Weigh out the best and the worst of both options. If you do not anticipate having complex needs, it is possible that you will see success when you dedicate the time to build your own website by hand with a website builder. There are not a ton of fancy features. On the other hand, if your business requires a membership, a forum, an online store, and other complex features, it is highly recommended to seek out the services of a paid professional. Thought it is a heavy investment up front, in the long run it will save so much time, energy, and money. The main thing to remember is that unlike a lot of things, price should not be the deciding factor on deciding if you will be using a website builder or hiring a website designer. Just because someone has the ability to design a website does not mean that they can incorporate all features competently. It is simply a case of “you get what you pay for”, so your money will be better off hanging out just a little bit longer until you can fully invest in a professional web designer. Also, if you don’t need a website with a lot of bells and whistles, you will probably be able to build it on your own with success.