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Which Website Builder Should I Use

The question of website building comes down to your skills and your ability to apply them to completing the site.  All websites require development, design, integration, and content.  Development is the coding of your site functionality.  Design is the user experience and look and feel of your site. Integration is how the site is wired into your marketing and social media.  Content consists of photos and text that make your site unique.  Picking the right website builder is a matter of matching your skills to your tools.

There are four main website building approaches you can use to build your site.  A custom build, a platform like WordPress, a drag and drop solution, or AwareLabs.  The key differentiator between these types of website builders are the skills required to use each one.  Custom development requires all four disciplines.  Platforms like WordPress have minimized but not eliminated design and development.  Drag and drop solutions usually don't require any development but still rely heavily on design.  AwareLabs aims to remove all obstacles and focus primarily on content creation.  The graph below illustrates the average mix of skills you will need to complete a website using each website builder approach.
This analysis is part of our week long epic website cost blog series.  The data above was collected from website projects at AwareLabs over a 2 year period.  More details can be found in our earlier How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website analysis.

A Custom Website Is For You If...If you're a developer then you already have the skills to complete 25% of any custom website.  You'd be starting ahead and could leverage the extra resources to improve details on the site that may not be possible with any other approach.  If you're also a designer then you can complete 57% of a custom website with no outside help.  There are very few people that are both which is why most startups that build custom sites raise money to pay one or the other, sometimes both.  If you're considering funding a custom website, keep in mind 25% - 57% of your costs will be just development and design.

A WordPress Like Website Builder Is For You If...
If you're in information technology with some minor development and design skills then a website builder like WordPress is ideal for you.  You can complete 58% of the site with the skills you have.  Leaving only the relatively less expensive content creation as potentially outside your scope.  This is why website builders like WordPress are so popular with agencies and consultants, they have the right skills.

A Drag And Drop Website Builder Is For You If...
If you're a designer you the right skills to complete the hardest 24% of a website using drag and drop builders.  Most designers run boutique shops that include integration and content services which extend their ability to complete the whole website.  When you think of building a website, a designer is probably the first person you think of on the process, which is why drag and drop website builders have seen such rapid growth.

The AwareLabs Website Builder Is For You If...
If you're a marketer you have 100% of the skills needed to complete a website with AwareLabs.  The platform removes your dependency on development, design, and to a large extent integration, freeing your resources to focus on content and marketing. As more people compete on the internet, content and marketing are becoming more important, the future of website building is to allocate more of your resources to those two arenas.  For consultants AwareLabs means less overhead, for you that translates into paying much less to have someone build a better site for you.

If You Compare All Four Website Building Approaches...Choosing a website builder based on the skills you have is only part of the story.  Consider the total hours required to complete a website using each builder.  When compared against each other in average hours required to complete a site, the trend is clear.
Every generation of website builders is striving towards the same goal, to make website building accessible to more people like you.  In the process website builders are changing not just what we need to know, but what we should know to put great businesses and ideas on the web.  

Written By: Paul Kenjora

Paul Kenjora is the Product Manager and founder at AwareLabs, a company that provides the next generation website builder for small businesses. He has 10+ years product development experience, has launched sites netting millions of visits a day, and has consulted for fortune 500 companies.