Why You Should NOT Hire A Website Designer

Last updated on February 5, 2019

Why Not Hire Website DesignerWhat I’m about to say is going to annoy some people – but I feel strongly that it has to be said as I’ve made this costly mistake before.

You don’t have to hire a website designer – at all.

“How DARE you say website designers are pointless… how DARE you!!”

Take a number sir (or ma’am) – my wife is a website designer so she gets first dibs to whack me over the head with her Chanel bag (a rusty screwdriver isn’t her style… she’s a designer, after all.)

I really don’t have a death wish – so just hear me out.

I want to tell you a quick (and tragic) story about Steve:

Steve hates his 9 to 5 job.

“Life HAS to be better than THIS.” He keeps telling himself.

On an average day, he needs an IV to constantly drip caffeine into his veins just so he can make it through the day.

He read about how a lot of people got OUT of the rat race by starting an online business.  Out of sheer desperation, he decided to give this website thing a go.

The first thing Steve sets out to do is to hire a web designer to build the most awesome website he could afford, which was $3,000.

After a month and a half of back-and-forths with his designer, he finally unveils his spanking new, custom designed website. He has NO DOUBT that his one-of-a-kind website will get the traffic and sales he paid for!

Months past, no sales — People could barely find his website in Google!

Steve is so confused — “My website design is more expensive and better looking than any of my competitors! Their websites look like something from the 90’s and don’t have any of the cool features my website has! Why am I not getting any sales or traffic?”

This is a very common story that many failed online entrepreneurs share.

Now, the sad thing is, that was us!

That was us back in 2010 when we failed at our very first online business venture.

Here’s the stone cold truth — it was not our website design’s fault. It’s was OUR fault.  It still pains me to tell you our story…

So, why did we fail?

There is SO MUCH to building a successful online business.  Things like understanding what potential customers really want, content marketing, paid advertisements, sales funnels, conversion optimization, search engine optimization, and so much more.

All of these take time and dedication to learn and to experiment with.

Out of all the confusion, website design seemed to be the one thing we can control and accomplish now. We can throw money at a website designer and get it done with minimal work on our end.

So, like scared little kids, we hid behind our custom designed website and prayed to the internet gods that our website will auto-magically start getting traffic and generate a million bucks — HUGE mistake.

Go ahead and laugh at us… we sure deserve it!

This is why I don’t want YOU to make the same mistakes as we did.

We discovered website builders when it was too late, but we’re here to help you not make the same mistakes. Check out our favorites in the table below, they can all help you create a stylish website in a matter of hours without the price tag of a professional designer!

Best All-Around Website Builder
Top Choice

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design-Oriented Website Builder

4.1 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Easiest To Use Website Builder

4.3 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

I’m not saying that website designers have no place in the world of website building – they certainly do and they can play a big part.

I’m saying that there is a right TIME to hire website designers – and it’s not when you are just starting out with your business.

Choose a website builder and make money online today

What type of site do you want to build?

build a website
build an online store

What’s The Point of Good Design If Your Business Idea Suck?

A good looking website can help you promote your brand and increase the confidence of your website visitors in your business.

Not to mention a well-designed layout can improve your visitors’ experience.

A beautiful website makes your business look more legitimate.

If you visited a store in the mall that looked messy and painful to the eye, your first (and lasting) impression is that the store is probably no good.

Quick to judge? That’s just human nature and I’m just being honest about it (and so should you!)

So good design works… but ONLY if your BUSINESS works.


The Tail Wagging The Dog

Have you heard of these phrases?

“The tail wagging the dog.”


“Putting the cart before the horse.”

They sound a bit comedic and will make the worst movies EVER.

But there are refreshing truths in these funny sounding sayings.

They basically mean placing important things in the wrong order.

website Design software - cart horse

The dog should be wagging its tail, and the horse should be in front of the cart.

Why on earth would you consider spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a custom website design, BEFORE knowing for SURE that your business can make money?

Doesn’t that sound equally as silly as the tail wagging the dog?

Listen, there is a right time to splurge money and energy into design. But it must be AFTER you know people will pay you for your products or services – regardless of whether your website looks just okay, or if it’s award winning.

You can’t build a long-term, viable business purely relying on the sexiness of your website.

If that’s your only competitive edge, someone else will throw even more money at their website and “out-sexy” yours (terrible choice of words, I know).

If that’s your strategy, I’m sorry to say, your business will suffer a very tragic death.

This is such an important message we’ve suffered through ourselves, so I’m going to say it again….

Your business foundation is not built on its website design. So don’t deploy your savings on something that is not “mission-critical”.

Your website design only has to be good enough – for now. I’ll expand on this below.

Instead, focus your time, energy and money on mission-critical tasks, such as:

  • Talking to your potential customers to understand what problems the really need solving – not what YOU think they need solving. Really listen to what they have to say and try not to be biased to your own views.
  • Developing your products / services to solve their problems.
  • Promoting your products / services.
  • Learning how to communicate better to resonate with your target customers (if you can’t convince them you can solve their problems, you’ll have a hard time succeeding).

These tasks, in my view, are WAY more important than how your website looks.

Listen – I’m not giving you permission to have a nasty looking website. That’s not my point.

What I’m saying is that your website just has to look good enough, so you can allocate more resources to building your business (instead of your website).

There are actually ways to have a good (but not the best) looking website that works – WITHOUT spending more than $30 – $50….


How To Start With A Good Looking Website
Without Dipping into Your Retirement Funds

I want you to understand that a website is just a tool. That’s it.

Your website is NOT your business. Your business is what you can offer to your target customers to actually solve their problems.

Your website is just a communication tool – period.

If you can’t offer a good product / service that can actually solve problems, it doesn’t matter what your website looks like at the end of the day.

Now that I’ve beaten this horse to a miserable death, let’s talk about how to move forward.

So how do you build a website quickly, easily and cheaply, and have a design that’s good enough to get the job done?

Not too long ago, you’d have to hire a designer or a coder to help you build a website (unless you don’t mind spending the time to learn how to code and all the technical items that come with website building).

Nowadays, you actually don’t have to know how to code, nor worry about all the technical back-end headaches to have a good looking and functional website.

(Results taken from 1881 survey respondents)

There are website builders out there that empower you to “drag and drop” your way to your first website, and give you a broad range of free design templates to help your website look presentable, or “good enough”.

Why Not Hire Website Designer - drag & drop

These website builders are very affordable, and most of them are even free for you to use (with options to upgrade to access more features).

For their paid plans, they roughly range from $5 per month to $20 per month (for non-ecommerce plans), and from $25 up to $299 for ecommerce focused plans (though you should be starting at the $25 per month plan, and only migrate up if you get a lot of sales).

They provide you with 24/7 dedicated support, and they’re quite easy to use you can even publish the first version of your website in less than a day.

Doesn’t this sound much more appetizing than hiring a designer for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and wait at least a month before you have something published?

Not to mention the stressful hiring process, and wondering if you’ve made the right choice.

Why not Hire Website Designer - templates

Website builders offer you free, professional looking design templates. Click to see these from Wix

Okay, I know I’m making these drag & drop website builders sound like they have halos on top of their heads and they can do no wrong.

To be fair, they do have limitations and they can’t do everything.

The point here is, while there is a chance you may eventually grow out of these drag & drop website builders, they are good enough to build most if not all startup websites.

Some drag & drop builders even have the capability to handle growing websites, and it is absolutely possible to run a successful and mature business with them.

With these drag & drop website builders, if you change your mind, you can easily “cut your losses” so to speak, be “out” maybe $50 (and a bit of your time of course).

It’s all about risk management – especially when you are first starting out with a limited budget.


Drag & Drop Website Builders – Helping You Build A Website Without Breaking The Bank

Let’s quickly summarize why using a drag & drop website builder/strong> makes sense for you if you are in the beginning phase of your business.

  • You can launch a “good enough” website in less than a day – so you won’t get bogged down by technology and wait weeks of months to have something up and running.
  • You can allocate more of your budget, time and energy to other more “mission-critical” tasks such as product development, researching your target market, marketing your products / services, etc.
  • You can make changes to your website on the fly, instead of waiting for or relying on someone else to make those changes.
  • You can manage your financial risks as these website builders are not expensive at all.
  • They’re also incredibly easy to use

My own general rule of thumb is that if you are not yet generating positive NET cash flows of around $1,000 and higher per month, you fall within this beginning phase.

If you are making some level of cash flow below $1,000 per month, my own view is that you should reinvest the cash into your business that’s NOT design related.

For instance, consider hiring a part-time helper to take some mundane, non-productive tasks away from your hands.

Even something as simple as a helper to clean your house can save you hours per week. It’s not just time that you are saving, it’s mental and physical energy that you can re-channel towards your business.

That’s just a random example and I’m sure you can think of many other less productive tasks you’d prefer to outsource.

Back to website builders.

Without further ado, here are the best website builders in the market today.


#1 Shopify – Best eCommerce Website Builder

Shopify makes setting an online store super simple.

Typically, most ecommerce websites have to be self-hosted, meaning you will have to manage all of the technical tasks of building a storefront. You’d have to know how to code and play the role of your own “IT manager” just to piece together different selling functions.

Not with Shopify – they’ve simplified the entire process for you.

Why not Hire Website Designer - Shopify

Click to see Shopify

Here’s what I like about Shopify:

  • They are a “hosted solution” – all you need to do is sign in with your email address and they take care of the rest for you (such as keeping your site secure, configuring and optimizing your servers, integrating all the selling tools and shopping cart for you so you don’t have to piece them together).
  • They offer you attractive storefront designs – so you don’t need to hire anyone to customize anything for you.
  • 24/7 phone, email and live chat support!  That’s like having a full-time technical team working for you!

It’s no surprise that Shopify is the best ecommerce builder in the market today.

More than 500,000 merchants are paying Shopify to power their storefronts (here are some examples), and Shopify has helped process over $40 billion dollars worth of sales – that’s about $80,000 per merchant.

I really like Shopify as you can launch a basic version of your store in less than a day.

Now, it won’t be the best version of your store, but it will be functional.

You can continue to improve it – but the key point is that you don’t have to wait weeks or months, and pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for someone to put it together for you!

You are in control, and Shopify’s support team is there to back you up.

As it is a dedicated, pure ecommerce builder, the monthly cost for building an online store starts at $29 per month. As your business grows larger (generates more cash), you can upgrade to higher plans.

If your business doesn’t work out, or if you change your mind for whatever reason, you can always stop using Shopify. It’s a lot less costly than hiring a web designer right off the bat.

Don’t you think this is a much safer way to build your business?

Shopify Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Shopify

Hosted vs Self-Hosted eCommerce Builders – find out more about the differences between them

Best Ecommerce Platforms – not sure that Shopify is for you? Check out our article on the best ecommerce platforms on the market today

Try Shopify Free For 14 Days


#2 Wix – Best Overall Website Builder

In my view, Wix is the best overall drag & drop website builder that enables you to build a fully functional website without you having to write a line of code. Just watch this video to see for yourself how easy it is to build a site using Wix:

More than 109 million websites have been built with Wix thus far, and they have over 2.87 million paid users to date.

Having a lot of paying customers is the ultimate testimonial to how good a product is – and Wix is definitely the industry leader here.

Why not hire Website Designer - Wix

Click to see Wix

Wix offers you more than 500 beautifully designed templates that cater to a wide range of industries such as business, ecommerce, photography, music, design, hospitality, restaurants, etc. So they have designs for almost everyone.

Here are some examples of websites built with Wix.

Here’s what we like about them:

  • By far the most innovative website builder among its competitors – always adding new tools and features (click here to see their latest additions).
  • Their designs are also very up-to-date with the latest design trends – you can build 1-pager parallax designs, insert background videos, create different background sections, all without knowing how to code. Click here to see them in action.
  • Wix’s pro-activeness to innovate is a huge plus if you want a website builder that has a proven history of investing in continuous improvements.

You can use Wix for free for an unlimited time. However, to unlock more features and tools, their pricing starts from $5.00 per month up to $25.00 per month.

The financial investment is very manageable and reasonable.

Wix Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Wix

Try Wix For Free


#3 Squarespace – Best Designs

Squarespace is a very design-oriented website builder and can make your website look as if you spent thousands of dollars in customizing it (but only costs you a fraction of that).

If your business require a website that is more imagery-oriented, and you want something minimalistic, clean and chic, definitely consider Squarespace.

Why not Hire Website designer - Squarespace

Click to see Squarespace

They work particularly well for industries such as design / portfolio, photography, boutique businesses, restaurants and weddings / occasions.

Here are some examples of websites built with Squarespace.

Here’s what I like about Squarespace:

  • Very design orientedtheir design templates gives people the impression that you hired a professional website designer, but you actually didn’t have to!
  • Gives you an active role in crafting the look & feel of your website – Squarespace gives you the ability to make a lot of design modifications without touching codes.

Although you can’t use Squarespace indefinitely for free (like Wix above), you get a 14-day free trial period before you need to make a decision to subscribe to their services.

Generally speaking, you only need a few hours to get a good feel of whether you like them or not. The rest of the time is for you to explore their tools in detail.

So if you don’t get a good vibe from them right off the bat, you can easily move on to trying another website builder without making any further commitments.

Squarespace’s monthly plans range from $5 to $18. If you want ecommerce tools, their plans range from $26 to $40 per month.

So again, they’re not asking you for a massive financial commitment at all.

This gives you more budget (and time and energy) to work on other parts of your business.

Squarespace Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Squarespace

Try Squarespace Free For 14 Days


#4 Weebly – Easiest to Use

Weebly is the most user-friendly drag & drop website builder in the market today.

They’re what I would call “stupid simple to use.” The user interface so intuitive, you can literally learn almost everything about how to use Weebly in less than an hour.

However, this also means they don’t have as many advanced features and tools (like Wix above).

For some people (especially those who are deathly afraid of technology), it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

Why Not Hire Website Designer - Weebly

Click to see Weebly

Weebly also offers you some decent looking templates to get you started. They don’t look as good as those from Wix and Squarespace, they’ve come a long way in terms of improvement and we expect them to get even better in the near future.

Remember, you can always improve on your web design later – after you’ve established that people are more than happy to pay for your products or services.

Here are a few things we like about Weebly:

  • Drop dead easy to use – I’ve seen older folks build decent websites with Weebly. It’s almost like learning how to use iPhones – it almost feels natural and effortless.
  • Access to design codes – If you know a bit of code, you can actually access your design to make customizations. Of course, this is not necessary, but it’s an added flexibility down the road when you want to take your design to the next level.

Just like Wix, you can use Weebly for free without any time limitations. If you want to access more tools, you can upgrade to one of their premium plans.

Their monthly plans start at $8 and goes up to $49 per month (for more ecommerce & marketing focused tools).

Again, Weebly is very affordable when compared to committing to hundreds or thousands of dollars to hire a website designer.

Similar to Wix or Squarespace, Weebly enables you to build a good looking website all by yourself, quickly and easily. There really isn’t any downside in giving these drag and drop website builders a try.

Weebly Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Weebly

Try Weebly For Free


When is the Right Time to Hire A Website Designer or Developer?

As I mentioned above, I’m not against hiring a professional designer or developer to help you build an awesome website.

Not at all.

The key message I hope you understand, is that there is a right time for this, and a wrong time for this.

What’s the wrong time?

  • That’s when you are still trying to get the business off the ground. When you are still trying to validate / prove to yourself that a lot of people are happy to pay you for your products / services.
  • If you can’t even establish that there is a healthy market for your product or services, then you don’t have a business yet.

Sounds sensible and simple, right?

You have no idea how many people get it all backward and put the “cart in front of the horse.”

I don’t blame them one bit, though, as we’ve committed the same mistake before, so I don’t want to be a hypocrite here.

In retrospect, when we first started, we were so unsure of whether our business will succeed or not, that we actively looked for things that can give us an easier win – something that we can fully control.

Building what we thought was the best-looking website was a much easier win and something fully within our control, than asking people to pay us for our products.

We had egos, and we didn’t want people to say “no” to us and feel rejected.

Rejection is a scary thing to face. Wouldn’t you agree?

I used to hate doing squats at the gym. I know I should do it, but I found myself loitering around the gym, working on exercises that I know I’m already good at.


It’s a way to convince myself that I’ve done something so I feel marginally good about it.

Same thing with designing a website. The likelihood of feeling rejected really isn’t there.

You also feel fully in control as you’re paying a designer to create things for you.

If you had a great looking website design, people won’t criticize you for that.

But if you had a poor product offering, people won’t pay for it and that feels like a major rejection.

So I understand why people are more enthusiastic about building a nice looking website, BEFORE focusing on building a real business.

The right time to focus on your website design is after you achieve net positive cash flow above and beyond $1,000 per month. Of course, you can set your goal a bit higher at $2,000 or more, but I’m just suggesting $1,000 as a starting point.

By hitting the $1,000 net positive cash flow per month mark, it will give you more confidence (and momentum) that you have a real business at hand.

Making $1,000 (after paying for expenses) is no easy task. It requires you to be laser focused on understanding what your target customers want, and delivering a solid product / service to meet their needs.

Getting to that level is what you ought to be focused on – not how your website looks.

Once you become net cash flow positive, this opens up more options and flexibility for you and your business. You can then consider what can grow your business even more.

Hire help? Spend more on marketing? Invest in courses / knowledge? Improve your website design?

With positive cash flows – you have options.

If you blow all your savings on a website design without making a dime in return, you’ll be left with no options.

Once you’re cash flow positive, and you decide to hire a professional designer or developer to improve your website, here is our comprehensive guide on how to hire a designer or developer – the right way.


Helpful Resources / Guides So You Can Do Some Design Work Yourself

I know. After all this discussion, sometimes it’s still really hard to resist hiring designers as there are a lot more to constructing a website than using website builders.

What about things like designing logos, editing images, finding the right images, how to pick fonts, etc?

Fear not, we’ve put together some guides on how you can do all this – even if you don’t have a head for design.

These guides will break things down into actionable steps (with recommended, easy-to-use tools), so anyone can get decent results:

Helpful Guides:

Building a good looking website doesn’t have to be so daunting. You now have most of the tools / guides to building something amazing yourself!


Conclusion & Take Away

To build a viable business, you need to focus on the right things.

There are many temptations to focus on things that you can control, such as how your website looks.

It’s far easier to throw money at a website designer to build an awesome looking website.

But does that actually help prove out or validate your business concept? Does it demonstrate to you that you can earn profits by selling products or services to complete random strangers?

Sadly no.

To build a successful business, you will HAVE to ask people to open their wallets and buy your product / service offerings. There is absolutely no way around this.

Whether they will pay for your products / services, is not directly determined by how your website looks. It’s determined by whether what you offer can solve a real problem.

If what you offer does not solve a real, painful problem, then it will be extremely challenging for you to build a vibrant business – regardless if you have an award winning website design or not.

If anything, I want you to take away this key message:

Your website is just a tool for your business. Your website is NOT your business.

Focus on building your business (understanding your target customers’ problems, developing your product to solve those problems), start earning net profits, then focus on improving your web design later.

Once you start earning profits, a whole new world of possibilities and flexibility open up to you.

Found This Guide Helpful?

Question – Did this guide benefit you? Leave a comment below. 

Do you know anyone who can benefit from this guide? Send them this page or click on the share buttons on the left.

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 Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight.

The purpose of this study was to identify what the preventative barriers are to getting online. We surveyed a total of 1,881 individuals – the majority of which resided within the US, while additional results were captured from a global audience.

Please note: the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. For further information regarding the study, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at info@websitebuilderexpert.com 


About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.



About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Leave a Reply

129 Responses to Why You Should NOT Hire A Website Designer

  1. #

    This is truly awesome post to discover about latest website builder and most important it does not require any technical knowledge about coding. Thanks for sharing

    • Charlie Carmichael

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment – we’re glad to hear you found our article so informative!


    • Dan Barraclough


      Thanks for the positive feedback. Please feel free to share our articles on social media!


  2. #

    I am an artist and designer. The business I would like to have a website for is painting pet portraits.
    I also paint them with their owners, kids, etc. The reservations I have about the (template choice)
    website plans is that none of the templates I have seen show what I do well enough.
    Is there a site where I can setup or design my own homepage image without using a prescribed template?

  3. #

    Really an interesting blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to create such useful information. keep blogging.

    • Dan Barraclough

      Hi Zain,

      Thank you for your positive feedback. We hope you continue to enjoy our articles! Please feel free to share on social media.


  4. #

    Really an interesting blog I have gone through. There are excellent details you posted here. Sometime it is not so easy to design and develop a website in the free platform without custom knowledge; here you need proper development skill and experience. However the details you mention here would be very much helpful for the beginner.

  5. #

    Found this article very useful. I needed to read this to bring me back down to reality. Thank you.

  6. #

    Thank you so much Jeremy for this article. it’s a life saver. I was so lost on this issue.

    What I get from this article is clear.
    When you’re small, focus on building your brand first then invest in a ‘expert’ website after you have proven you have a viable profitable business.

    I even had a look at some of the ‘top’ competitors in my field and boy Wix will just do guys. Your business is NOT your website. Business creates websites. Websites DON’T create business!

  7. #

    I came to your site and have analyzed your post. There are excellent details you posted here. I enjoyed reading your blog, and it is both instructional and enjoyable.

  8. #

    This guy is right on! You should learn new skills that are critical to your success instead of focusing on your business. Just making a website is easy, making one that is easy for your users to navigate, captures your users’ interactions, feed that back to a CRM so you can act on it and setting up automation to handle each one properly so you don’t lose the customer is not. (And do not forget, the design of your site is critical to the effectiveness of Google and Microsoft Ads. Without them, no one will ever see your new, beautiful site.)

  9. #

    Like saying you can represent yourself in court rather than higher a solicitor..good luck with that. Solicitors have spent years of study to charger a high price for their skill and knowledge. Likewise for a good web designer.

    • Lucy Carney

      Hi David,
      Thanks for your comment and the analogy! As we say in the article, there are times when we definitely recommend a website designer. But for entrepreneurs, sometimes this isn’t a realistic option. We truly do believe you can help your business grow and succeed by using a website builder – we’ve been there and seen it happen! While there’s certainly a time to hire a web designer to make the most of their expertise, website builders are great for opening up the possibility of success to everyone. We believe nobody should be stopped from creating a website because of technical ability, and the same goes for financial situations. Website builders create more options for more people to promote their business online, and we think that’s great!
      Thanks for reading and for joining the discussion, I hope you’ve found it interesting
      – Lucy

    • #

      You really should check your post before you hit send especially when your being negative about something or someone…….Should have read charge not charger.

  10. #

    Quite an interesting blog I have gone through this day. Good grip on the topic you have, nicely explained. No doubt in future one can hardly resist from using internet, specifically websites. Some companies are now offering some best obtainable website designing packages for people who wish to have great website design.

    • Lucy Carney

      Thanks for your comment, I’m so glad you found it useful. You’re absolutely right about the importance and popularity of websites! There are lots of options when it comes to web design, so there really is something for everyone.
      Thanks for reading,

  11. #

    That’s 100% accurate. Your goal isn’t to look pretty, it’s about being effective. What you need is an online consumer behaviour influencer. I’m not talking about some social media guru, but rather someone that understands how to make consumers act the way they want.

    Human psychology is not that difficult to influence. In fact there’s a formula I talk about in my digital marketing book (i’ll plug that another time). The point is, if you understand how to influence consumers online, then your site will convert at wicked high rates. If you go for pretty… well that’s a whole different thing.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Josh Strawczynski
    MD @ JMarketing Agency

    • Lucy Carney

      Hi Josh,
      Thanks for joining the discussion, that’s a really interesting insight into web design! You’re right, there are lots of factors that can influence your site visitors, from the font you use to the color and layout of the page! I’m sure there are experts out there who could advise deeply on these matters and make a real difference, like you say.
      One of the strengths of website builders is the designer templates and editing tools make it easy for anyone and everyone to create a professional looking and consumer friendly site, without hiring outside help or knowing lots about web design or marketing strategies. You’re definitely right about not just making it pretty – it needs to be designed with the user in mind to have the best effect!
      So glad you found this piece interesting and thanks for reading,

  12. #

    Wow, wow, wow, I had just decided to spend $2000 on a web designer, I’ve changed my mind because you are right! I have someone who will do the drag & drop for me, I will now wait and see how I go sales wise.
    Thank you very, very much, I really needed your take on this.
    Jill Willis

    • #

      Hi Jill,

      Glad we could be of help! There are times when a web designer is the right choice, but when so much money is involved it’s sound practice to try the drag and drop approach first. You’ll be surprised by how much you can get done that way for a fraction of the cost.

      Best of luck with your site. Let us know how you get on!

      All best,


    • #

      Please DO NOT assume that you’re new website will receive business and/or traffic. This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions in our industry – that if you build a website, they will come. This is so untrue.

      Me personally and this is my opinion. Drag and drop builders are great for startups that are looking to “get the product / brand” out there as cheap as possible, which works well but that’s about it (besides the easy editing abilities).

      In the grand scheme of things… A custom built website will always outrank and outperform 3rd party, block built platforms.

  13. #

    Very much Informative. I love your blogs and already a follower of it. I think that when it comes to a website its very necessary for new business to have a custom website that perfectly show their business digitally and a complete designing solution to connect with its consumers digitally.

    • Natasha Willett

      Thank you for the comment, really pleased you enjoyed the article. I couldn’t agree more, having a custom website which represents your business and brand is so important.

  14. #

    Well guys I am not sure if I am too late to comment or just some thing of a similar sort. I made my first website using a website builder. And believe me it did wonders for me plane, simple and godd for nothing. Then I moved to WP, Joomla, Moodle all were good for nothing till I got a bispoke web app developed. I have use a couple of thing mentioned on this article, its good for basic but if you need some thing dynamic. You will need more than a website builder

    • Charlie Carmichael

      Hi Dan,

      You’re not too late at all, it’s great to add to the conversation! Website builders have all the functionalities and capabilities to build great websites across numerous different industries. They’re a fantastic choice for those who don’t have lots of time and/or money to invest in getting a bespoke design. As you said, though, if you have very specific requirements, and the resources behind you, then a web developer is a smart choice given you can get the exact site you want. The only issue you may encounter is maintaining it yourself thereafter!



  15. #

    Thank you so much for sharing an informative post I usually work on the CMS and I am making these drag & drop website builders sound like they have halos on top of their heads and they can do no wrong.

    • Natasha Willett

      Hey Bellclaire,
      Thank you for your comment, pleased to hear you enjoyed our article. I couldn’t agree more, website builders are so incredibly simple to use, quick to build while also providing so much customization. They are not for everyone especially if you require some really specific features, this is where web designers could really help you out.

  16. #

    Such a great article about vehicle, this is very informative and helpful

    • Charlie Carmichael

      Hi Jay,

      We’re glad to hear you found it so helpful!



  17. #

    Wow! What a headline. LOL. I have to add to this… Have you seen some of these template web designs that business owners try to create on their own? Most look horrible, some are OK at best, but lack in style and branding that is needed to really create a web design that is memorable, mobile friendly and SEO optimized.

    The problem with template designs from sites like Wix, Squarespace and others, is that the person who created the site, LOVEs their own design, because they “designed” it, not because their clients will appreciate the site.

    It’s hard to admit that you created an ugly web design for sure.

    • Lucy Carney

      Hi Sandy,
      Thanks so much for joining the discussion! Yes the headline is quite sensational isn’t it! But that’s only because we really do believe in using website builders for those who don’t have pro technical skills or the money to outsource. Website builders are making it easier than ever to manage SEO and create mobile responsive sites, and it’s a lot cheaper when you’re just starting out too! It’s true you should always think about your user first and foremost, and you’re right in saying this is where a lot of people fall down. We really appreciate the value web designers bring to web design and would always suggest going to a designer to develop well established sites.
      Thank you for reading, I hope you found the article interesting!

  18. #

    I have a small website that I’ve been working on off and on for a few years. It’s mainly a blog but eventually I’d like to sell merchandise. I agree with all you’ve said and no that I need to work on my small site before investing in a larger scale site. My question is if my site gets bigger, how easy is it to transfer my site from a small one to the developer?

    • Fred Isaac

      Hi Marli, how did you build your site? Did you use a website builder?

  19. #

    You will realize the actual web designer requirement when you create your own business website. In 2018 web design create the brand message Creaadesignas believe that the web design is the barometer for your business market.

  20. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to create such useful information.

    What’s your take on WordPress?

    Thanks again.

  21. #

    The website is the digital face of your business and this is one reason which requires it to be professional as well as
    appealing. By hiring a professional web design company,
    you get a completely unique website that caters to the requirement of your business.
    Amazewebtech is leading best website design company is providing
    all web solutions Very informative and nice article
    thank you so much. you give us a lot

  22. #

    I am a website designer, but I am a marketer as well. That actually went to business school and actually worked for digital marketing agencies. One of the biggest website builders in the US being one of them.

    A beautiful website only serves purpose if it has beautiful amounts of traffic to go with it. That is the point that so many business owners take years to understand. Usually they are not willing to learn how to do it themselves or invest in paying an expert to help them. So they suffer.

    Design and SEO/Paid marketing are 2 different things. Even at the $3,000 price point those services won’t be bundled together and I’m sick and tired of novice “creative directors” and “account managers” trying to make people believe that it is just to make a sale.

    I agree with you about the viable business point. The entrepreneur has to offer people something they actually want and not be afraid to promote it.

    • #

      Interesting response. In the end, web designer/premade or not, a business’ success or failure won’t ever come down to it’s web presence regardless configuration. It’s a tool, and only a tool in the end, and its level of sophistication is really only bound by the business idea and who’s customer it’s there to serve. Who cares if a taxi is yellow or not, does it provide you with a safe ride to the right place for a reasonable amount of money? If so, the car can be of any make, and colour it doesn’t make a difference.

      On the most simplistic levels a website design is the same; there’s no need to spend money on sophistication that is not requested by its customer. As mentioned, focus on the business, THEN focus on the tools to sell it, not the other way around. On the other hand, if your business idea involves a sophisticated UI et cetera, this article is useless. Maybe you should reconsider what ‘customer’ you’re tryung to sell the idea to, ironically.

      But thank you, great read (ignoring the sponsored links).

  23. #

    Awesome stuff! Thank you!

  24. #

    Web Design is an important task for development in the growth of a company, there are thousands of developers vying for business in a competitive market. It is tough to choose one. Thanks for sharing!

  25. #

    I love this articles.
    I am a web developer and own a web development agency. The truth here is that most people think they can make a website until they need to add functions, change the CSS, or PHP, make back end changes or even photoshop a web pictures to it’s right size depending on device… blah blah. Some people make websites that load in ages and others that look super pixelated. They can’t setup contact forms neither their own email… I make lots of money from online stores and my biz and most people who skimp or “don’t think they need to pay a professional” i see them fail miserably.

    Oh we also offer consulting services for those who “can do it themselves” because we got tired of these type of people asking us how to do it and expecting a free response. We also got tired of fixing wix websites lol


    greetings from miami

    • Fred Isaac

      Thanks for the comment Mauricio!

  26. #

    Hi, i understand what you are saying but in all fairness it also depends on the type of business you are in. If you are just selling products then yes your article makes sense. But if you are a company that specialises in film, design and modelling then you will need to fork out for a designer and work on building your company after because NO ONE WOULD hire your models or hire you as a designer if your site looks “good enough” it must look awesome so that people will know you offer an awesome service.

    If you have great service and a terrbile website, people will think you dont care about your company image, if you have a great website and terrible service people will think you dont care about service, if you have the best of both people will see you have what it takes to make it and will use you and then will use word of mouth to market you.

    It all comes down to what your company is about

    • Fred Isaac

      Hi Tim, true – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Certainly for fledgling ecommerce sellers, though, hiring a designer can be an unnecessary expense.

  27. #

    Choosing the best web design company is the quite difficult task. So you should consider the essential characteristics and capabilities of a web design company to your business. Below are the simple steps to choose the best web design company.

    • Fred Isaac

      Thanks Sourav, you’re right choosing a top design company is tricky.

  28. #

    Good article – and mostly accurate. I think what most people need is actually an internet business consultant who would have advised you in the first place to focus on your business model first – rather than spending on a custom the website. Also the website builders are just a framework that you have to fill yourself – meaning there are many skills you still have to learn – and if you add the time to learn and build and convert that into dollars – you probably end up with a sub standard site – something that is limited and costing just as much as your custom. Website designers (real ones who can make websites do stuff – not just look good) are so important now days. Unfortunately the website builders cannot do all that is required in most cases – and if they can its usually a rough compromise or starts to get very expensive with up selling. One example would be your company – and the use of word press to host this site. You would find it very hard to find a website builder to suit your needs – and many businesses are in exactly the same position. So from a startup – a builder might be good enough to get a business going (did you ever use a website builder for your business?) – but once it matures (depending on the business of course) its very hard to go past descent hosting, a descent framework that is fast and flexible and programmable. There is no easy path but the right advise can save you many thousands of dollars.

  29. #

    Great article. I really appreciate what you say about the web designing.

  30. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you for your post. I like what have you written. Even as a Web design company, we have always recommended users to choose Shopify, Wix, Webflow etc when they first start out (if possible).

    One should note that, using these tools are not always cheaper than hiring a professional team to perform the job. You need to take into account all the time you need to learn how to use these tools and master them for your purpose.

    On the other hand, there are many things that are already made for you using these website builders to allow you to start quick and efficiently. At certain point of your business, these tools will no longer fit your requirements and that’s when you may consider switching to a custom solution or adapt your businesses to be able to keep using the tools.

    • charlie Carmichael

      Hi Vu,

      Thanks for your comment.

      We certainly see your point, and whilst there will be situations where hiring a designer makes sense, most builders are quick, intuitive and simple to learn. For small business and individuals, they represent an easy and effective way of getting online whilst simultaneously putting you in complete control of what can be a very short process from start to finish. The cost can be as much or little as you’re willing to invest, however, you can create a fully functioning site that caters to a variety of needs for a fraction of the price some web designers will charge. It’s always important to consider your own personal requirements before making the final decision, though, so great point.


  31. #

    Small businesses and true startups (not venture backed) shouldn’t hire a “web designer”, I agree with this completely. However, I think what you’re really saying is that you shouldn’t spend your money on a specific type of designer. I consider myself a designer, but I don’t make pretty things that look nice. I design conversion funnels for enterprises, the kind of design that can be measured and quantified by revenue gains. I spend a lot of time identifying and understanding a client’s audience, then I focus on fixing their conversion funnels. Sometimes this involves tools like KISSmetrics, Segment or Optimizely. Armed with real data, I “redesign” aspects of their website to increase inbound leads, often substantially. I think once you start generating a certain amount of profit there can be a major advantage to hiring someone who will do this for you. “Web design” in this regard has matured and designers are now forced into being accountable, which I think is absolutely wonderful. If you hire a “web designer” in 2018, make sure you can measure the results and with quantifiable numbers and do hold them accountable with conversion rates. Pretty doesn’t always generate the most profit, and design is simplicity not

    • Fred Isaac

      Hi Kevin,

      Sounds like interesting work!

      We were coming at this from the perspective of an online store just starting out, in which case we recommend not hiring designers or developers as they can eat into profit margins. As a store grows, though, there’s more scope to hire people with expertise such as yourself.

      Thanks for the great inside advice on hiring web designers!


  32. #

    While not outsourcing your internet presence is definitely doable, there are many folks who simply do not have the time to do every single aspect of their business. Yes, there is a plethora of free “How To” information. But that takes hours and hours to do a quick study. I think it comes down to how much is your time worth. It is absolutely possible to hire someone to set up a respectable small business website for under $1000. Having an online presence is just one teeny tiny part. SEO/SEM as well as proper Social integration and a plan is in my opinion super important. There are so many “designers” that have no clue how to do this important part. I see it ALL. THE. TIME. A fair to OK website with social buttons not set up, zero SEO/SEM implemented, horrific copy. “Build it and they will come” just doesn’t cut it.

    I do agree that small businesses do not need a custom coded platform. Most mid-sized businesses do not need custom coded platforms. Not with all of the amazing portable platforms ready to go out of the box.

    • Natasha Willett

      Hi Zaiyin,
      Thank you for joining the discussion.
      Time is definitely an important consideration. You’re not wrong. Thankfully most website builders are not only affordable (much less than $1000), but offer great support guides or in-editor tooltips that educate users and help you get more from the platform. They’re very convenient and save a lot of how to googling, which can be a little hit and miss.
      It’s also easy to add social integrations with a few clicks and most builders now offer at least basic SEO support. There’s definitely a time and a place for hiring a pro designer, but as you point out – for most small and medium sized businesses, there are plenty of great out-of-the-box solution ready to use already.
      Thanks for your thoughts,

  33. #

    Hi, I’m a web designer from Brisbane, Australia.

    I agree that for small businesses that can’t outlay large money amounts initially can invest in these web builders. They are quick, easy to learn, and initially, they can get a great looking website up for you.

    You also have to consider other essential aspects of website design such as:
    1. Content marketing
    2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    3. Website Loading Speed
    and many more factors.

    Without these fundamental inclusions on your website, it doesn’t matter how well designed, or how good looking it is, or what web builder you use, your website will never be found on Google and your website will become a liability.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Timothy,

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

      I think you raise some really important considerations to bear in mind when building a website.

      Website builders have definitely made huge improvements on the SEO front in recent years (I know this was a big drawback for a while, but thankfully things have moved on now). Many builders offer in-editor tools to help you optimize your pages + site, like Wix’s SEO Wiz. Others, like Squarespace, provide in-depth guides to in their support pages that should help boost your appearance in search results.

      You’re right too about site speed as this can lead to significant Google penalties if the page is over-weighted with too much media content – and it’s certainly something that more users should be aware of. A neat feature that some of the more popular website builders now offer is the option to auto-optimize images when you upload them. This compresses them a bit to minimize size, helping to reduce page load speed.

      As for content marketing, I wouldn’t necessarily class it under website design as it’s a much more active process that can involve blogging, email marketing and lots of processes. Most website builders provide a blogging functionality that can be easy to integrate in-site, while many others have ‘app stores’ that help users run their own email marketing or other content campaigns.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and joining the conversation,
      – Tom

  34. #

    Hello. This is an interesting article…but admittedly, I did not read until the end. I would like to point out that websites are very time consuming and most businesses, even start-ups do not have that kind of extra time to invest. Now, if you are talking about templates, and think that you can just throw a couple stock photos at it and walla, you are done! I think this is a terrible strategy as all business should have a unique identity. This is what will make you stand apart from the competition. Templates are categorized, therefore the chances of you using the same template as your competitor can be a risk as well, and how embarrassing is that? Furthermore, hiring a designer these days, does not have to be expensive and they will walk you through the process, especially if you don’t know your SEO from your SSL. Most everybody is online now and WILL be looking for your website. It is not the place where you want to skimp-and you don’t have to hire a professional designer. All things considered it is a small investment with a large footprint.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Aleese,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think you’re really under-estimating what you can achieve with a website builder these days though!

      Sites like Wix and Squarespace are super easy to pick up and use, their templates look great and act as a great jumping off point. You can tweak and edit them as much or as little as you like (or as time allows), so it’s not a case of just replacing images and ‘voila!’ as you say.

      Wix alone has over 500 templates and so even by changing the colors and moving a few elements around, you’ve created something new and unique! How likely is it that someone else has made the exact changes you’ve just made..? I’d be very surprised if anyone else has.

      It also comes down to budget more than time. I’m sure most small businesses would prefer to spare a few hours on a web builder over a few hundred or even thousand dollars needed to hire a designer (let alone the designing time!) – so it’s more about weighing up the most affordable investment.

      There’s definitely a time and place for hiring a designer, but when starting out I believe small businesses would rather be empowered to work smartly and economically. Then – if the opportunity arises and budgets allow – maybe look at hiring a designer down the line.

      Why not try out Wix or Weebly and see what you can make? I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂

      Thanks for joining the conversation
      – Tom

  35. #

    And… when your website fails because it’s built on personal taste instead of buyer personas and data, as well with no knowledge of UX or flow, effective content writing, lead generation and marketing automation, or fundamental SEO, you’ll end up spending more to have it redesigned later by a professional. That is if you are not already out of business.

    The old adage you get what you pay for is still true.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Randy,

      I’m afraid I disagree – the internet is full of guides to all of the concepts and marketing ideas you mentioned. It’s a great leveler, so whereas once concepts such as ‘User Experience’ (UX) led design was the preserve of designers, now anyone can read up on it, understand it and try to implement its concepts.

      I honestly believe that if people are serious about their website then they will do the research they think is required to achieve success.

      If fact, many entrepreneurs are self taught successes, so I think you’re being a little unfair by grouping everyone who uses a website builder into the same category.

      Sure, there’s a time and place for using a designer or developer if you can afford to and want to push your website outside the box, but I’ve seen plenty of ‘professionally’ designed websites that fall a long way short of websites made on Wix or Squarespace – so it’s swings and roundabouts!

      For every poor website made on Wix, there’s a dozen more poor websites made by professionals, or on WordPress, or any other platform.

      Thanks for joining the conversation,
      – Tom

  36. #

    Knowledge is power ! Especially having the right information at the right time . Thanks for the write up, its very helpful

  37. #

    Great, clear and informative. Its nice to read about someone who has had the expereine and willing to own up to initial mistakes. Great Advice.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi R.N.

      I know this can be a contentious topic, so it’s great to hear you found the discussion useful.

      Thanks for reading,
      – Tom

  38. #

    Thank you for this information! It really makes me “at ease” since Ive been building a site from scratch using WordPress & I have 0 experience doing this before; Great challenge but definitely a brain puzzle & time consuming.

    Tom mentioned below that “I definitely wouldn’t recommend building a site on a website builder if you intend to move it to another platform down the line because you will not be able to do this. ”

    ….. What does that mean exactly?
    Thank you for your words of advice again!

    • Tom Watts

      Hiya Celine!

      Just to clarify my comment below:

      Most website builders limit the amount of content that can be exported or imported from your website.

      So, if you are using Wix and then a few years down the line you wanted to expand your operations by moving to WordPress…then you would find it very difficult to take your website as-is and move it to WordPress.

      You’d have to copy and paste text + images, recreate the layout and navigation structure, as well as all sorts of other things.

      This is because website builders are individually designed programs that generate a similar result but work in massively different ways.

      It’s like taking an engine from a Lamborghini and trying to put it into a Ford. They’re both engines but they are made for totally different vehicles and so aren’t compatible.

      Hope that clarifies things!
      – Tom

  39. #

    Well hi there. I’ve been grappling with this idea for the last 48 hours. Ever since a friend said “look you’re just starting out, just use GoDaddy and then when things start to happen you can built a better site…later, much later.” Thank you for backing this idea.

    Except I noticed you didn’t mention GoDaddy as a good site builder. Is there a reason for that?

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Niki,

      GoDaddy is an ok platform for newcomers, but it’s definitely worth considering a website builder like Wix or Weebly, who are just as easy to use as GoDaddy but offer WAY more templates, tools, design capabilities and apps.

      I definitely wouldn’t recommend building a site on a website builder if you intend to move it to another platform down the line because you will not be able to do this. Each platform lets you export and import different amounts of content, so you would have to essentially re-build your site from scratch when moving to a new builder. This will undermine any links, authority or traffic you have built up for your existing site – I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Wix will give you plenty of space to grow your website without the need to move elsewhere.

      I’ve linked to our review of Wix and Weebly for you to have a read of. I think it will give you some excellent food for thought.

      Thanks for reading
      – Tom

  40. #


    i like your this line interested people can definitely contact you through your website to get more details.

  41. #

    I agree with you

  42. #

    Completely agree. But the website title is websitebuilderexpert.com and the purpose of the article is I believe to only attract people who want the DIY which kind of defeats the purpose of hiring someone to use a builder which they are going to be locked into and not own which is the whole point of building your own.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Judd,

      You’re right, we’ve written this piece to break down some of the misconceptions that surround website design – one of which is ‘I need to have a web designer’ or ‘ only a web designer can create a website’.

      Hopefully this discussion will help people to understand that they are a lot more empowered than they might realize and that with a website builder they have the freedom – and more importantly, the ability – to create something professional-looking by themselves.

      Thanks for reading,
      – Tom

  43. #

    I totally appreciate both viewpoints above. I’m using one of the Website Builders mentioned above, but am finding there’s a big, slow learning curve. Now I’m considering hiring a Website designer.
    My content-based website has is no product. But, I want advertisers to place ads, links, etc. in an effort to make money from the website. Thoughts on my design effort or monetizing idea?

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Naomi,

      You might want to consider the learning curve involved with a custom-made website design too – let alone the investment of time and money you will need to make.

      Afilliate marketing and advertising revenue depends on more than just a good looking site. You need excellent content that attracts your target demographic and wins them over. Keep your site simple and professional, while ensuring your content is high quality and keyword focussed.

      This is more easily achieved with a website buidler where you can quickly add elements and content that you can use to build traffic and increase your affiliate potential.

      – Tom

  44. #

    As a consultant I can see and understand your point of view.

    Yes, these do-it-yourself website builders have their place. I too send those with smaller budgets or are starting out to Wix or SquareSpace. But, eventually, they come back when they find that having a website, in today’s noisy, TMI world, is like having a tiny, little listing on the old yellow book pages or having a house in middle of desert with no roads.

    Yes, I own a web agency. Yes, I build website for our customers. But, I do it as a consultant. I guide, research, recommend, fix the tech issues, answer questions and you get to talk to me or my staff. We don’t have a Dial 1 option. We take it seriously and will do our best to fix your problem.

    Again, it’s all in your goals and your budget.


    • Tom Watts

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts – it’s always interesting to hear the views of someone working in the industry.

      There’s definitely a time and place for both website builders and website designers. However I’d disagree with you that you necessarily need a professionally designed website to stand out and get noticed as I’ve seen any number of incredible sites built on Wix, Weebly and the like by users who have invested the time and made the most of premium plugins and themes – all of which will have cost less than hiring someone else to do it for them.

      I’d also add that as long as the content is great and answers the intents and expectations of the user, then it’s more likely to be found regardless of how ‘stand out’ the actual website design is. That’s my two cents at least.

      Still you’re 100% right that it comes down to the individuals situation, goals and budget.

      – Tom

  45. #

    This is an amazing post I honestly feel so much better as I was getting so much anxiety thinking about my initial startup costs.

    Thank you
    thank you
    Thank you

    Love your sensible and strategic approach. I can now focus on optimizing digital advertising, seeding to influencers, SEM and SEO!


    • Tom Watts

      Hi Sara,

      Great to hear you found the discussion so useful and that it’s helped to calm those anxieties down.

      It sounds like you’ve got a solid plan in mind for how you want to grow too – that’s great.

      Feel free to share this discussion if you think others will find it useful too!

      Best of luck,

  46. #

    Great f*N post man!

    I’m in a hurry and just read the Conclusion & Take Away.

    But awsome post man. Will read the whole thing later.


    • Tom Watts

      Hey G,

      Thanks for the great feedback! Glad you found it useful – we look forward to seeing you back here soon.

      Feel free to give the post a share using the social buttons above, it really helps spread the word of the site + you never know who else might benefit from reading it.


  47. #

    Great article, sad but true! To some extent developers (& many web professionals) have been hurt by this evolution. But it’s likely a great thing for the general public. Just like AirBnB with Hotels, Uber, with taxis, technology keeps evolving so fast that often what was a great gig just 10-20 years ago is now obsolete and counterproductive. We as tech pros in various respective fields (mine is web back-end development rather than front-end) need to figure out creative ways to evolve and continue to enjoy successful careers.

    I also came to the conclusion that I should probably just use one of the online building tools and focus on the products I want to sell, rather than the website. My core business is what products & services I sell on it, NOT the website itself… This’ll help to focus on the content, rather than the container 😉

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Bruno,

      Thanks for joining the discussion and I totally agree with your point. There is a big more towards empowering the individual within the digital world with advances like website builders and the other sites you mentioned like AirBnb. Being able to do things yourself that weren’t previously possible really does impact the traditional ‘outsourcing’ model, so it will be interesting to see where this economic evolution eventually leads!

      Ah, sounds like you’ve stumbled onto one of the hidden secrets of eCommerce! You make money from the products you sell, not the site you make – good work, ha. Best of luck with the site, keep the community posted on how you progress.


  48. #

    Good article Jeremy. I agree that it is now great and easy to create a website with the various website builders and that Wix is one of them (indeed I have created a number of websites with Wix). You are also right that this is an excellent option if you have a limited budget as you can do it for less than $100.

    However, there are many limitations to some or all of these website builders (e.g. with Wix you cannot submit a schema at the moment, which is a disadvantage for conversions to your site) and you also have to take the time to build the site and time is money. If you have a lot of time on your hands, it may make sense to use a website builder, but ultimately, getting a website design company is outsourcing which should generally be the goal for anything you are not specialist in (it may be a waste of time for you to learn code and you may be better off focusing on your business).

    Most websites do not cost $3000. A basic site can be built by a professional for as little as $350 dollars. This is not a disproportionate amount of money. You can also hire freelancers using Fiverr.com, Freelancer.com etc which may be able to do it more cheaply than this.

    Even for reputable website design companies, the price can be as low as $350 for a basic site. There are also various price comparison websites out there like Websitepricequotes, bark.com and expert web design which have been increasing competition amongst web developers and driving down prices.

    So I think the answer is that it depends on the purpose of the site and the individual’s circumstances (advanced complex sites cannot be built on most web designers by a novice), and budget is simply one of them, but a web designer is likely to be the correct decision in a number of cases and the costs do not have to be outrageous if you shop around.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts with our readers – some really interesting points.

      I totally agree that you can find web design services that fall at the cheaper end of the scale, but time and again I have found that you really do get what you pay for – even with increased competition between design agencies and comparison sites.

      It’s true that building a website from scratch on a website builder can take some time, especially if people are new to the medium – I know I took forever when starting out! – But for most users at this level, a simple website or eCommerce store can be built easily enough without the need to run through the whole design process that working with an agency would bring to the table (e.g. wireframing, multiple design iterations, etc) – spending a few hours in the evening, one or two nights a week, will most likely work out cheaper and more efficient for the users this conversation is aimed at.

      I think there’s definitely a time and place for using professional web designers, but it is probably not very likely when starting a new business because, as mentioned in the article, if the idea isn’t good enough and things don’t work out then that will be an awful lot of money flushed away on a website. At least with Wix, Weebly, etc the relatively low monthly costs won’t be as big a financial impact if things go belly up – you just need to cancel the subscription to cut yourself free.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there – it all depends on the individual’s circumstances. Thanks for your insights.

      – Tom

  49. #

    As a web developer, I can’t appreciate your perspective. When do a webmaster or company hire a web designer? I think when they want to grow their business.

    • Jeremy

      Hi Raina,

      Thanks for reading.

      I understand your point and that is something I addressed in the article. I’m not saying businesses should NEVER hire a web designer, but that there is a right time to hire one – which, as you point out, is when a business is in a position to grow and has the budget to support the cost of hiring a web designer.

      Thanks for contributing to the discussion.


  50. #

    Even as one of those darn, swindling Web Designers, I appreciate your perspective. I can create something that looks great and even optimize it so folks will find it, but if the “it” they are coming to is not filling some customer need, no design budget could make that a success.

    It would be pretty unconscientious of a Web Designer to take someone’s money if they’re not confident they can create some kind of value for them, so I’m on board!

  51. #

    I find this information to be quite helpful. My husband and I are siting here having a heated debate about paying several thousand dollars to have someone develop a website when I am just starting out and trying to sell myself as an independent contractor to districts. I don’t understand how paying a “professional” web designer a lot of money I don’t have, to help me sell my business when all I need to do is submit RFP’s and my cover letter, with a business card. As I expand and do this on my own for a few years, and my need expands, then I can see investing in something like a “professional” web designer.

    • Jeremy

      Hello Jackie,

      I think that’s a sensible approach. It’s usually better to establish your business first (primary goal) before hiring help to build a custom website (secondary goal), especially if your business doesn’t necessarily need a custom website.

      If anything, drag and drop website builders enable you to build your own website without having to hire anyone. Once you get your business off the ground, then you have options to build a custom website, if that’s what you still want to do.


  52. #

    WIX or WordPress and why? I have always used WordPress but am new to all this really. Please advise and thanks.

    • Jeremy

      Hi Olga,

      We have a Wix vs WordPress comparison guide that you might find helpful here.

      Generally speaking, if you are very proficient with using WordPress and have some basic coding knowledge, WordPress is a very powerful and flexible platform to build your websites if you don’t mind the extra administrative work that comes with using WordPress (such as managing your hosting service, update your plugins and checking that the updates didn’t “break” your website, etc).

      But if you don’t want to manage all that admin work, and if you don’t want a website builder that is more technical to use, then drag and drop website builders such as Wix is an excellent choice.


  53. #

    Thank you! This article was just what I needed to read today. It was full of helpful information! Best, Lucy

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your comment, Lucy. I’m glad this discussion is helpful to you.

      Good luck with building your website!


  54. #

    This Guide was very helpful for me, even if i am not a native english speaking person.
    I did a lot of wordpress stuff before but now i am sure for my business i will give wix a try

    • Jeremy

      Thank you, Sebastian. I’m glad this guide was helpful to you.


  55. #


    Happy Holidays and coming from a revenue first website builder like me your absolutely correct. Personal Branding, Marketing and Online Advertising cost and until you know you have a positive cash flow you can’t do things like a/b testing to narrow down your target audience. You can engage sites like 99designs to design and help you with things like logos and images as my most recent client sent me all the content and all we had to do was build and place content to conform with a great UI/UX concept for each device.

    Running an IT Management Company allows me the opportunity to build and not be involved in the design phase. Like you say, there is more to building a site than anyone designer knows…..especially setting up things like Google Webmaster Tools, Adsense & AdManager accounts, Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, Office 365 etc;… When you build a site your goal is to increase conversions and generate leads, not just look good! Good article and I hope places like Mopro see this and understand your point of view like I do.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your comment, Patrick.

      Building a business is indeed challenging with a lot of moving parts.

      One thing I’ve learned is to do the research and layout out everything I need to do to build a business, then prioritize.

      It’s impractical to do everything all at once and often end up not accomplishing anything – based on my own experience anyway. So prioritizing and focusing on those top priorities is critical.

      Plans will always change and it’s perfectly okay to make course corrections along the way. When we first started out, we tried to create the “perfect” roadmap and it just prevented us from getting started.

      So my advice to people just getting started is to just get started and making updates along the way.

      Thanks for your comment!


  56. #

    Good article Jeremy. Building a website that works is no simple task regardless of the platform you use. When I hear marketing catch phrases “build a high quality website in minutes” I often shake my head and think “how?”. This is where I believe companies often make mistakes – assuming its simple and a developer will sort it out for them. LOTS of thought needs to go into a website before you even think about touching a line of code. These are some of the pre-requisites from personal experience that are required.

    1) Have a business plan – what are you selling, what are you doing better than everyone else

    2) What is your business brand – who are you selling to – what is your market demographic?

    2) What online functionality do you want now and 3 years from now

    3) Are backups important? Ability to migrate to faster platforms? Are page revisions important?

    4) Is your site competing against others in the field? Does your website have to dominate the other competitors in both looks, performance, SEO – and or functionality?

    5) Is security important? (ie are personal details stored on the site)

    6) is the site something you want to update yourself? Or partially update yourself?

    7) What happens if your site goes down. How critical is it to the day to day function of your business.

    And many more points need consideration. Many start-ups wont even think about these things when designing a site. But every element challenges what platform you should use in the short and long term. Many established businesses go through checklists like the above when selecting a platform. And in many instances WordPress ticks most of the boxes for an established working business – sometimes it doesn’t. BUT when you trust your business decisions to a 25 year old programmer/graphic artist who has had no business experience – they cannot comprehend or guide you through these things – and as you say – its not their fault, they will build as directed. I feel sorry for many web developers as often they are implied to know the above by the start-ups. Rarely is this the case. And picking the right platform can change based on business position. For example its fine to start on wix/weebly – then you might decide its time to dominate your market and add functionality with faster speed, more functionality and choose another platform. Its not uncommon for businesses to re-build their site every 2-3 years.

    • Jeremy

      Very thoughtful comment, Ray. Thank you for taking the time to share this with all of us!


  57. #

    This is good information – as an Online Marketing and Web Designer/Developer, this article scares me. However, the points are good – I don’t want start-up’s coming to my door and asking me how to be a start-up, or how to structure their business. Some of the most important questions I ask new clients revolve around their current sales process. However, my job is based on making money for companies and people by using their website – which is a primary marketing tool. As well as Google, Bing, Social Media etc.

    One of the biggest mistakes I see all the time is that they did in fact spend all this money on a website – but then have no idea how to make the website work for them, and neither do the designers. There’s much confusion on the term Web Designer, in my world a web designer is someone who beautifies a website. A developer is someone who makes it work right, and a marketer is someone who makes it produce results.

    For new businesses, I do agree with your assessment. However, for better established businesses, who have a defined product, a place in the industry, they should have their website made professionally, and then marketing professionally.


    • Jeremy

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for your input. Always good to hear professional input.

      I think the point of this discussion, as you pointed out, is to inform new business operators that there are other options out there. Building a business could be a confusing (yet exciting) journey, so this guide offers readers the option of reducing financial and time commitment upfront (at least temporarily until they prove out their business model and start generating positive cash flows)

      But I agree with you 100%, once the business is proven to “work”, then the business operator can look to redeploying the earned profits into something that can grow the business substantially (be it a on marketing, new website infrastructure, new design, hiring employees, etc).

      We have another discussion piece on how to hire a web designer or developer here. It’s dedicated to readers whose businesses are in the “growth” phase.

      Thanks for adding to this discussion!


  58. #

    Hello Jeremy,
    Fabio here from Brazil.

    Thanks for the article. Your point is very clear! I’ve made two websites with WIX and have considered it a very nice platform. I didn’t know Squarespace. I’m now using Adobe Muse. I was wondering if you could comment on it (muse) and compare it with the others. Also, what about wordpress?

    Thank you


    • Jeremy

      Hi Fabio,

      Thanks for your comment. To be honest, we haven’t used Adobe Muse extensively so we don’t have any concrete or meaningful comments about them.

      I can say is that their user interface is more like Photoshop, so it can be confusing for some people. But given that you’ve had experiences with Wix, I’m sure you know what I’m referring to.

      As for WordPress, it’s a very powerful and flexible platform, but it does have drawbacks. We have a guide comparing Wix and WordPress here.


  59. #

    Hello Jeremy,
    Interesting article and great points, however I must disagree with you on few matters.

    First a professional designer does not and should not just build websites. The designer should guide the client on discovering their audience/clients, the designer should build a website that has great semantic code (i.e. seo friendly), he or she should help the client with the marketing (point out few resources) and most of all the designer should be transparent and offer support. Also the designer should give the client options such as pricing levels.
    Telling clients to get WIX or another self service site might be good for the tech savy, however the question is how much would they get charged when something goes wrong and they can’t fix it.

    Furthermore one question: Do you take your car to the mechanic or you try to fix it your self?

    Some points from the clients perspective (I have build my own sites also for my eCommerce business)

    How much is the time worth to the client? Should the client focus on the business side or spend enormous amount of time learning to code?

    How about the client gets beat of the both worlds. Customized website and affordable.

    The designer is there to help the client get the best money can buy without bankrupting the client.

    Sorry to hear that your designer ripped you off.


    • Jeremy

      Hi Zengo,

      Good and very valid points.

      I think the point of this article is to start a discussion and to let people know that they don’t “have” to hire a designer. Hiring a designer is not the only option they have.

      There are, of course, good designers and bad designers. Good designers are well worth the investment, but based on my own experiences, I see far more bad designers out there as the barrier to entry is very low (anyone could call him/herself a “good” designer). You can’t just get a business license, lease a physical location, spend tens and thousands of dollars into tools and supplies and call yourself a mechanic. But you can spend a few hundred dollars and call yourself a designer on the internet – there is absolutely no regulations against or regulatory oversight on that.

      Further, a lot of people become paralyzed by the prospect of hiring someone to build a website for them. It’s scary, challenging and time consuming.

      This is further compounded if one was starting an unproven business. Dedicating thousands of dollars in hiring a web designer just isn’t realistic for a lot of folks. I’m not saying not to hire a designer at all, but there is a place and time for that piece of investment.

      In my view, the key to starting a business is to focus on product or service to customer match. Financial and mental resources should be dedicated to that aspect, so using a drag & drop website builder such as Wix or Weebly, or a hosted ecommerce builder such as Shopify enables an entrepreneur to get a website up and running in far less time and financial commitment than hiring a designer.

      Once the business concept is proven, it’s definitely worth considering the prospect of consulting a good web designer.

      Thanks for adding to this discussion!


      • #

        Haha…..Yeah but there are some people that don’t even know what upload, drag and drop, copy and paste, or are total computer non savvy and they need the help of a designer even on templates html5 or word press so I believe designers will still be in demand …even in editing a template to make it their own

  60. #

    This is epic. Thank you so much for posting all this information!!!! It’s been extremely helpful.

    • Jeremy

      Thanks for your thoughts, Krystina. Glad you found this discussion helpful!


  61. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thank you for a great article. What site builder would you recommend for a email capture feature and an autoreponder? Also, do sites like wix have a feature to link to another site? I have a replicated site that I sell products from and would like to build my own so I can offer other things, but still have a way for visitors to access the product purchase page from my replicated site.
    TIA for your reply!

    • Jeremy

      Hey Claudine,

      You can certainly use a few dedicated auto-responders to help you send out newsletters. Service such as Aweber or Mailchimp are pretty good.

      But these auto-responders are not part of website builders so you’d have to integrate them together. It’s not very difficult to do so, but just keep that in mind.

      There are a couple of website builders that have their own built-in newsletter distribution tools:

      Wix Shoutout

      Weebly Promote

      These newsletter tools are fully integrated with the website builders so it’s a bit easier for users.

      You can definitely link out to another website using Wix. Just use the standard hyperlink tool to link text, pictures or even a menu bar item to another website.


      • #

        Thank you Jeremy!

  62. #

    Hi Jeremy

    I had a read through the article. Some interesting points you have there. I think I am 50/50 on what you say though. I agree that you should have a really good understanding of your business before we do a website. Most of the companies we have worked with in the past did not even have a company profile, so when it came time for them to tell us more about what they do and who their ideal customer is, they had no idea!

    The most important part of a website designers job is the back end and SEO. This is where websites are set apart from a good design to a great website. There is absolutely no point in you designing the website yourself, putting all the time and effort into it when it will never be found online because you haven’t taken the time to do key wording, H1 headers, website titling etc.

    When you do speak to someone about doing your website, make sure they take the time to tell you how Google actually works. If they don’t know, you are wasting your time with them. Free website builders save the bank, but they waste your time if you will never appear on Google. The question is which is more valuable to you, time or money?

    • Jeremy

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts. You also have some very valid points!

      Considering most people have limited resources such as time, money, mental bandwidth, energy, etc, it’s important to explore what’s more valuable (as you pointed out).

      I think what we tried to do through this discussion article is to raise awareness and open up this discussion. Unfortunately, a lot of people bought into the “script” that certain things must be done in certain ways, such as “WordPress is the ONLY way to build a proper website!” or “Your business will not succeed if you don’t hire a designer or developer because you cannot do it yourself!”

      We once bought into that script, too!

      And an important point is that a business is not always defined by how its website looks (in most industries anyway).

      I also agree that it’s helpful to hire someone who understands SEO, but I personally feel that a lot of people also misunderstand SEO (we get a lot questions pertaining to why their websites are not showing up in search results after a few weeks of getting the website set up, even though they’ve done the basic setups that you mentioned in your comment). That also motivated us to write this discussion about SEO here.

      I think there are no right / wrong answers to this big topic. There are many different ways to approach this and our discussion above is largely driven by our own experiences and views.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and to add to this discussion!


  63. #

    Thank you for this well-written summary! I have been using Weebly with my classes–there is a education.weebly.com just for that–and the ease of use is a real bonus. I have to say that there is a lack of website buiding sites for education use; themes are mostly business orientated and I haven’t run across any education-specific set ups. It’s too bad: there is a large demand for making websites specific to edu needs such as staff development or resource sharing. For example, I can’t get a calendar with staff-selectable timeslots for booking a computer cart on any diy builder! A real field to develop!

    • Jeremy

      Hello Dan,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts! I’m aware that Weebly caters to education institutions, but unfortunately they don’t have any education specific tools. I suppose they’re catering to students who are learning how to build “general” websites, and so they don’t have education tools. Hopefully they will create a education-focused version of Weebly, that’s tailored specifically for education institutions!


  64. #

    This is so so helpful and very timely advice for me who was aboutbto make the biggest mistake you have raljed sbout here. Putting the horse before the cart!! Thank you, thank youbthank you. Sincerely. Great article! Must share. And i will

    • Jeremy

      Thanks, Padmaja. I’m glad this article is helpful to you!


  65. #

    Amazing article, thank you for the comprehensive insight. You may have saved me thousands 🙂 And from a business point of view I agree that ‘tomorrow never comes’ if you are banking on tomorrow being critical.

    • Jeremy

      Hey Ian,

      Glad our discussions are helpful to you!


  66. #

    i have use wix. i like it a lot. But the biggest problem is they are blocked by China firewall. You cant access it in China. I haven’t try other builder yet. So when you have time, can you do a topic on accessibility of these website in different part of the world?

    • Jeremy

      Hello Ryan,

      Yeah that’s a bummer and I’m not entirely sure why certain website builders are blocked by the Chinese firewall. But from what I’ve heard (I have some western friends working or have worked in China), it’s quite popular for people to use VPNs to access blocked websites (such as Facebook, etc).

      So I guess if you are targeting a lot of locals, they may or may not use VPNs. But my impression is that a lot of people are – though I don’t have any data to back that up.


  67. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I am truly a fan of yours and I have been reading so many of your articles. I am in dire need of a new web site and I have read this article SEVERAL times. I have had my small business since 1990 and the current web site we have is old and quite archaic. I want to start fresh with a new site and I do not have the time to build it and manage it myself. I need a much more robust site and I am willing to hire someone but I really don’t know where to begin. I have been researching and scouring the Internet for several weeks now as well as talking to a couple of companies that have quoted me in a couple of cases astronomical fees. I not only have a service business (We print and embroider garments in-house) and we have a brick and mortal storefront in addition to our e-commerce site and POS events. I need someone to work with us who is familiar with the T-shirt industry and T-shirt quote systems as well as on-line T-shirt designers integration. I designed a web page in Adobe Illustrator but I need someone to work with me and handle everything necessary to launch. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

    Oh,BTW, I did have a conversation with a rep from toptal.com and I quote from them, “I don’t think you need to build an entirely new site, but I think you’ll need a developer and possible a designer to get what you’re looking for depending on the different integrations UX. I don’t know what UX is without googling it LOL. At any rate, I was told that what I needed would be too expensive for me to consider them.

    Thanks for reading this long post.

    • Jeremy

      Hello Audrey,

      Thanks for your comment and yes – I read your entire comment!

      I think the point of this article is to take a step back, and consider what is more valuable to you. It basically comes down to money vs time.

      If you have time, but not much money, then using a DIY website builder is a productive way to go. The same goes for having some money, but not much time.

      If you already have a cash flowing business, and can re-invest with a designer / developer, then that’s an option to consider. But as you said, finding good help that understands your business can be quite a journey.

      Have you consider speaking with a Shopify expert? Shopify is in my view, the best hosted ecommerce builder in the market today. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the experts for hire have some experiences with your line of business.

      Just to be clear, when I say “Shopify Experts”, they don’t work for Shopify, Rather, they are a group of developers / designers who are very proficient with Shopify, and are pre-screened by Shopify prior to being listed on their website.

      They may not be cheap, but since they are very specialized with building Shopify powered stores, their insights and the value they bring to the table might be worth the investment.

      We have an article talking more about them here.

      Good luck!


    • #

      As well, i would just like to point out, there are many web designers starting out who would build a website for little to no cost. It could be a hit or miss with some so it’s best to get them to send a few examples of what they can accomplish. But a lot of them are just looking to build up their portfolio. If you check places like LinkedIn you should be able to find a few!

      • Jeremy

        A very good point, Daniel. Thanks for adding to this discussion.

        Sometimes it’s a trade off between paying up for a veteran who is skilled in building websites, versus paying someone on the lower side of the price range who is trying to build up his/her portfolio credentials.

        If you get a bit lucky, you can find an outstanding person who is just starting out, to help you build your website on the cheaper side! You just never know.


  68. #

    Hi Jeremy
    Francisco from Honduras, awesome article…
    Which website builder would you recommend to best use or to construct a webpage that rents space to professionals or self-employers to sell their services…
    I have been thinking on this idea for the past five years, and is about time that I go in… I have NO experience in websites… neither technical or practical I just have a pretty neat idea for which all your advice would be greatly appreciated…
    Best Regards,

    • Jeremy

      Hi Francisco,

      I think any you should test out Wix and Weebly. Both are easy to use and so they’re “friendly” to beginners like yourself.

      They don’t have specific tools to help you rent space, but interested people can definitely contact you through your website to get more details. I’d imagine that renters would want to speak with someone live, or visit the premise before renting.

      So Wix or Weebly can definitely help you build a website with ease so people can start getting in touch with you!


      • #

        Nice post keep sharing such a wonderful post like this i love this post