In the digital era, having an online presence is more important than ever. Whether you’re an individual looking to showcase your talent, a small business owner seeking to expand your customer base, or a large corporation needing to maintain a strong brand image, having a website is crucial.
While coding a website from scratch is an option, website builders have emerged as popular tools for quickly and easily designing and launching a website. But how do they work, and are they better than coding a site yourself? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the inner workings of website builders and discuss the details about them.
Overview of a Website Builder
A website builder is a user-friendly software that allows individuals with little or no programming knowledge to create, design, and launch websites. They offer a variety of pre-designed templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and customization options to help users create professional-looking websites without the need for coding expertise.
How Does It Work?
1. Registration and Hosting
The first step in using it is to register an account with the chosen service. This typically involves providing an email address, creating a password, and selecting a plan based on your website needs. Most builders offer a variety of hosting plans, including free and paid options, with varying levels of storage, bandwidth, and features.
2. Domain Selection
Next, you’ll need to choose a domain name for your website. Many builders offer a free subdomain (e.g., yourwebsite.theirplatform.com), but you can also opt for a custom domain (e.g., www.yourwebsite.com) for a more professional appearance. Custom domains usually come at an additional cost, but they help establish your brand and make your website more memorable.
You might be interested in exploring a unique niche of websites; check out our list of 30+ US domains to gain a better understanding of the online presence of various agencies.
3. Template Selection
One of the most significant advantages of using a website builder is the vast array of pre-designed templates available. These templates serve as the foundation for your website’s design, and you can choose from various categories such as business, portfolio, e-commerce, and more.
Most builders offer responsive templates, meaning your website will automatically adjust to fit different screen sizes, ensuring optimal user experience across devices.
4. Customization and Content
After selecting a template, you can begin customizing your website. Website builders offer drag-and-drop functionality, allowing you to move, resize, and edit various elements on the page. You can also add or remove sections, change colors, fonts, and images, and incorporate multimedia elements such as videos and slideshows.
As you customize your website, you’ll need to add content. This includes text, images, and multimedia that convey information about your brand, products, or services. The builders offer in-built tools for editing and formatting text, as well as image editing and optimization features.
5. Publishing Your Website
Once you’re satisfied with your site’s design and content, it’s time to publish it. Publishing a site with a website builder is usually as simple as clicking a button. The builder will take care of the technical aspects, such as uploading your files to the server and ensuring your domain name is properly configured. After publishing, your website will be live and accessible to users worldwide.
The Great Debate: Website Builder vs. Coding
Now that we understand how builders work let’s dive into the ongoing debate between using a website builder and coding a site from scratch.
1. Ease of Use
One of the most significant advantages of builders is their ease of use. With drag-and-drop functionality, pre-designed templates, and numerous customization options, users can create a professional-looking site without any coding knowledge.
2. Customization and Flexibility
When it comes to customization and flexibility, coding a website from scratch has the upper hand. With complete control over the code, you can create a unique design and implement advanced features that might not be available in builders. However, this level of customization comes with a steeper learning curve and potentially longer development time.
Website builders, while offering a wide array of templates and customization options, may have limitations when it comes to advanced features and design elements. For most users, however, the customization options provided by builders are sufficient for creating a professional and visually appealing site.
3. Time and Cost
Building a site with a builder is typically faster and more cost-effective than coding it from scratch. With a website builder, you can have a site up and running in a matter of hours or days, depending on the complexity of the design and content. Additionally, builders often offer affordable hosting plans, making them an attractive option for individuals and small businesses with limited budgets.
In contrast, coding a site from scratch can be a time-consuming process, especially for those with limited programming knowledge. Hiring a professional web developer or designer can also be costly, making this option less feasible for those on a tight budget.
4. Ongoing Maintenance
Maintaining a website is crucial for ensuring optimal performance, security, and user experience. Builders typically include automatic updates and maintenance as part of their hosting plans, meaning you don’t have to worry about technical aspects such as software updates, security patches, and server maintenance.
On the other hand, if you code your website, you’ll be responsible for keeping the site updated and secure, which can be a time-consuming and potentially costly process. However, this also means you have complete control over your site’s maintenance and can implement custom solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Website Builder Pros
1. User-Friendly Interface
These builders are designed for users with little to no programming knowledge, making it easy for anyone to create a site. The drag-and-drop interface and intuitive tools simplify the design process and allow users to focus on creating engaging content rather than wrestling with code.
2. Wide Variety of Templates
With an extensive library of templates, website builders cater to a diverse range of website types, from blogs and portfolios to e-commerce stores and corporate sites. This variety ensures that users can find a design that aligns with their vision and brand identity.
3. Built-in Features and Integrations
Website builders come with built-in features and integrations, such as contact forms, social media buttons, and e-commerce functionality, that streamline the website creation process. Additionally, many website builders offer app stores or plugin libraries, making it easy to add extra features or third-party integrations to your website.
Website Builder Cons
1. Limited Customization
While website builders offer a wide array of customization options, they can’t match the flexibility of coding a website from scratch. Some users may find the limitations of templates and built-in features restrictive, especially if they have a specific vision for their site or require advanced functionality.
2. Vendor Lock-In
When using a website builder, you’re tied to the platform’s hosting and infrastructure. If you decide to switch to another platform or host, you may encounter difficulties transferring your website or be required to rebuild it from scratch.
1. Unlimited Customization and Flexibility
Coding a website from scratch provides unparalleled customization and flexibility. With complete control over the code, you can create a unique design and incorporate advanced features that may not be available with website builders.
2. Ownership and Control
When you code your website, you maintain full ownership and control over your site and its files. This means you can choose your hosting provider, switch platforms as needed, and implement custom solutions tailored to your specific needs.
1. Steeper Learning Curve
2. Higher Costs
Whether you’re hiring a professional developer or investing time in learning to code, creating a website from scratch can be more expensive than using a website builder. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the ongoing costs of hosting, maintenance, and updates.
Watch this video to see the full live process of coding a website:
In the debate between website builders vs coding, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best choice depends on your unique needs, technical expertise, budget, and desired level of customization.
For those looking for a quick, user-friendly, and cost-effective solution, the builders are an excellent choice. However, if you have the skills and resources to code a site from scratch, this option offers greater flexibility and customization potential.