Builder, WordPress or Custom Coded Website – How to Choose?

When it’s time for a new or re-designed website, there are (3) ways it can be designed that you should consider. One, is to have your website designed on a Website Builder, two, have it designed with WordPress, and three, is a Custom Coded website. You should be aware of the pros and cons and cost of each when making this decision. Let’s take a look at each of them:

Website Builder

Online website builders are template based so the foundation of the site is already built allowing the website designer to focus their efforts on customizing it to your brand. Most websites are conventional, meaning they only require the basic features found on any standard website such as the ability to add content, images, videos and a contact form. If you need a standard website with conventional features and your budget is under $5,000, a Website Builder is a good choice for you. Conventional websites are perfect for small businesses, restaurants, start-ups and personal websites. After the website is completed, the design is yours – assuming the builder account is in your name and on your credit card. If your website designer becomes unavailable, you can make changes yourself or hire a new, experienced designer to make updates or changes to the template for you. Your website is tied to the hosting company as they own the Intellectual Property of the web platform used to build it, and your website can not be downloaded.

Pros:

  • ease of use, editing content is fairly easy by owner
  • website can be built quickly
  • reliable, the template hosting company addresses any bugs
  • not tied to the website designer
  • reduction in development cost and time over WordPress and custom coded websites
  • no software updates to worry about

Cons:

  • offers conventional features only, not very flexible
  • some limitations with SEO optimization
  • you are tied to the hosting company owning the template

WordPress Site

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) and much more flexible than a Website Builder. WordPress is theme based so again, the foundation of the site is already built allowing the designer to focus on customization. The WordPress architecture also allows users to extend the features and functionality of a theme with the use of plugins. The plugins allow the users to tailor the theme to their specific needs offering all sorts of bells and whistles. WordPress can power anything from a small blog to a major corporate website. Due to the complexity and time it takes to build a website using WordPress, your budget should be at least $5,000 and even higher depending on how many pages/special features you require.

Most small, mid-sized and even large companies will be completely satisfied with a website built on WordPress. If the hosting account and theme are in your name and credit card, you typically own the website after it is completed. You can download the website and move it to a different hosting company or hire a new designer to make any updates. Confirm with your designer that you own your design. You want to be able to choose the person who performs future updates or changes.

Pros:

  • very flexible
  • relatively easy to create and modify content by owner
  • can be built relatively quickly
  • scalable – Plugins (module or plug-in software) are available as new features are desired
  • reliable, good themes have years of development and bugs are continuously worked out
  • full SEO optimization available
  • not tied to the host, you can download the website and move it
  • not tied to the website designer
  • reduction in development cost and time compared to a custom coded website

Cons:

  • WordPress software needs to be updated regularly
  • need security, prone to hackers

Custom Coded Websites

Sometimes a website does not fit into an existing package. If this is your situation, then you need to hire a good developer to build a custom CMS site. Be prepared to pay in excess of $10,000 for this type of website development depending on the complexity and number of pages required. Since the coding is created from the ground up, a custom-coded site can take longer to complete and there may be delays if the developer runs into bugs/problems that need to be fixed. Bugs are avoided with template and themed websites as they have been tested to ensure they run smoothly.

Unless you have signed a “Work for Hire” agreement stating you own the website source code upon completion and final payment of the project, you don’t own your website design. Should you decide to part ways for any reason, you will have to start over with a new website design.

Pros:

  • dynamic, 100% customized to your preferences, no limitations
  • provide long term scalability
  • can incorporate original design components unique to your brand
  • provides full SEO optimization functionality

Cons:

  • with so many more factors to consider, it can take much longer to build
  • can be expensive due to development cost and time
  • tedious to manage and maintain, will probably need a developer to update
  • higher potential for software bugs and other functionality issues
  • you don’t own your website, the source code is typically owned by the developer and licensed to you

Conclusion

Your decision on which route to go when designing your new website will depend on your current and future needs and your budget.

The vast majority of websites are basically conventional and don’t need features outside what is offered through a Website Builder or WordPress. With these two options, you can reasonably get what you need cheaper, faster and with more reliability than having your website custom built from scratch.

Even though companies that offer Website Builder templates tout you can do it yourself, we don’t recommend this route. We strongly recommend you hire a reputable web designer to design your website. A good designer is like a professional photographer; they have an “eye” for it.

An experienced website designer can customize your website on a Website Builder or WordPress and provide you with a custom-looking website. It will be unique, well designed, appealing and incorporate all the “website design best practices”. Best of all, you will own it and be able to make future updates yourself, if desired.

Below, is a video on some of the top features to consider when building a new website, enjoy!

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