Article: Custom Coded Websites vs Page Builders. Which are Better?

Claire Kearney interior Design

George Barrett - Founder of DWD

Custom Coded Websites vs Page Builders. Which is the right choice for your website?

What are page builders and how do they differ from a custom-coded site?

There are many options out there now for hosting your website. Hand-coded websites made by a web developer or site builders like Wix, Squarespace and Shopify. The big question is which one is right for your business. Site builders have become a popular DIY solution for many businesses looking to set up a website. There are many advantages to this but also some drawbacks.

When it comes to building and maintaining a website, there are two primary options: hiring a professional web designer or using a website page builder. While website page builders have gained popularity with their monthly subscription model, web designers offer a host of unique benefits that can make a significant difference in the success of your online venture.

Don't get me wrong, I have used and still use page builders for some e-commerce sites and they can be a great option.

In this article, we will look at some of the differences between choosing a Web Designer over a Page Builder.

1. Tailored Design and Branding

What I've found from building with page builders is that even though they are marketed as an easy-to-use DIY solution for people to build their websites, many people can become frustrated working with their often complicated user interfaces. It might seem easy to import a template and alter it but they can often be irritating and clumsy to use. Unless you spend a lot of time using the system like I do I've found customers have a hard time remembering their way around the interface because they just don't use it all that often.

One of the standout advantages of opting for a web designer is the level of customization they bring to the table. Professional web designers have the expertise to custom code a site and can create a unique and visually appealing design that sets you apart from competitors. In contrast, website page builders often offer pre-made templates that may lack the distinctiveness and personal touch that a web designer can provide.

2. User Experience

Often with page builders, there are no checks and balances when it comes to the user experience. Text and links can often be the wrong colour and size for readability, images can be displayed in the incorrect ratio. This all reflects badly on your business. Imagine if your shop front lettering or the wiring on your van was the wrong colour or aspect ratio. The page builder might try to warn you but it's not going to stop you from publishing the wrong contrasting colours for people with sight problems or colour blindness. If the user has a bad experience using your site then they are far less likely to stay on it and will move on to a competitor. Web designers are well-versed in the principles of user experience (UX) design. They can structure your website to ensure that it is intuitive, easy to navigate, and user-friendly.

3. Optimized Performance and SEO

Website performance is a critical factor in both user satisfaction and search engine rankings. Web designers are experts at optimizing website performance, ensuring that your site loads quickly, is mobile-responsive, and adheres to SEO best practices. A web designer can optimize your photos ensuring that your load times don't suffer. Page builders can only go so far in terms of performance as they have to use a lot of code to get the same results as a web designer. All that drag-and-drop convenience comes at a price and the website performance will take a hit. Search engines often favour a custom well-optimized website, making it easier for potential customers to find your site through organic search results. Website page builders may have limitations when it comes to SEO and you are often limited in what you can do.

4. Adaptability and Scalability

One problem I've often had when using page builders for e-commerce is customization. While you will be allowed a certain level of customization, there are times when you need to do something and its just not allowed. Your website is a dynamic entity that should evolve with your business or personal needs. Web designers can build websites with scalability in mind, allowing for the addition of new features as your requirements change. They can also adapt your website to technological advancements and updates without major disruptions. With website page builders, scalability and adaptability may be more limited, potentially leading to the need for a complete overhaul as your needs expand.

5. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. There are times when site builders can be a great solution.

I often use Squarespace or Shopify for e-commerce customers. If you have a lot of products and customers it can often be an advantage to use their e-commerce solution than trying to run your own WordPress woo-commerce setup. I have done a couple of sites in the past where I have edited the default custom templates on Squarespace to help produce a more unique design that fits the particular business.

A Mix of the Two

It is also becoming more popular to build static coded sites and embed a Shopify store into it. This gives you the unique look and design of a hand-coded site with the e-commerce technology and payment software that Shopify provides. This means all the payments are handled off-site by Shopify which removes a big security headache for you.


In conclusion, while website page builders offer convenience and accessibility, choosing a web designer offers a range of significant advantages. Talk to us today and see what best fits your business needs.

Investing in a web designer can elevate your online presence, enhance your brand's credibility, and contribute to the long-term success of your website and online venture. When it comes to building a website that truly stands out, a professional web designer is often the best choice.

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