Website Builder vs. Web Developer vs. Designer vs. Consultant

Greg Munker
Sep 24, 2017 · 8 min read
The Truman Show (1998)

In this article I am going to attempt to break down the differences between using an online website builder like Wix, GoDaddy, and the like vs. hiring a Web Developer, Web Designer, or Consultant.

Website Builders

Website builders are tools that typically allow the construction of websites without manual code editing. They fall into two categories: online proprietary tools provided by web hosting companies. These are typically intended for users to build their private site.

For most people looking to get a website going, they will either find themselves at a GoDaddy or Wix from all the ads you find on the internet, radio, or TV. Lots of people from your everyday neighbor, to famous celebrities, telling you how easy and quick it is to get up and going, and they are right.

These tools are used to get a basic website up and going quick. You can sign up for a service with one of these companies, drag and drop content on top of pre-made themes and your good to go. The ease of these tools makes it so just about anyone can get up and go in minutes.

Web Developer

A web developer is a programmer who specializes in, or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications, or distributed network applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser.

A Web Developer in a more general description is someone who will take just about any idea you have for your online presence and make it a reality. If you know you want buttons in the center of the screen with text only over one of them and each letter a different color, font, size, AND then you want the letter to jumble up everytime the mouse hovers over and creates a new random word with new colors, fonts, and sizes, and then… and then…

This is all possible with a developer. You tell them what you want and like magic (not really) you have it on a screen. A developer removes you from the preset themes, and drag and drop the boxes, and gives you customization.

Web Designer

A web designer is someone who is both creative and technically inclined, and uses both these attributes to build or redesign websites. The web designer has the ability to understand what is needed to make a website functional and easy to use, but at the same time make it aesthetically appealing to the user.

This is a more common search then web developer, a designer has most of the capabilities of a developer, but with the added bonus of creativity. Designers have the eye for UX (User Experience) on your website/app.

If you come to a designer with some drawings and say this is what I want, most designers will give you some great feedback to what you should keep and what you should add. They will allow for the full customization and add to it, making it easier for your audience to navigate and want to stay on your site. They will use colors, fonts, animations, anything to attract the eye and keep your users engaged.

Web Consultant

A consultant is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as security …. who are specialists in business use of the internet and keep themselves up-to-date with new and changed capabilities offered by the web.

Most companies / small businesses utilize consultants for many areas of the business. Financial Consultants, Customer Service Consultants, and even Web Consultants.

A Web Consultant will be a vital role in your business if you’re looking for a good online presence. A “good” web consultant will have the power of both the developer, designer, and understand what it takes to drive business on the web for your company. They will take the time to learn about your business model, what you’re all about, and how to make the most of it all.

When you hire a consultant most of the time it’s not a one-time thing. That is the job of the developers or designers (which some consultants do outsource for). You hire them to maintain your internet presence, which is centered around your website/app but not limited to it. Most will branch out to your social media, ad campaigns, newsletters, and much more. They will make sure you are always being seen by someone, and up to date with a technology, they see the benefits to help drive more business.

The Awkward Question (That should NOT be awkward)

With website builders there is a fixed rate, $4.99, $9.99, $19.99 + / mo. charge .

I combine the two here because the pricing is very similar for both. You will find that they charge one of two ways. Either by the hour or by value.
With an hourly rate, you can get a quick idea of how much your site/app will cost, although the price varies greatly depending on the developer. Their skills and knowledge of different technologies, for designers their creativity all play major factors into their rate. Prices for most developers from my research on the googles ranges from $40–$120+ / hour.

A value-based price (fixed price) for a complete site/app / or feature, will be something the developer/designer will work up depending on what you need and/or want. I cannot give any numbers here because again this all depends on what you’re looking for.

The price on a consultant will vary so much I will not attempt to put a number on this. Because of the wide range a consultant can handle, so many factors will be in place. Are you looking for just a site/app for your business and have them maintain it, and keep you up to date on standards? Are you looking for the site/app + social media maintenance? Newsletters? Branding? A whole package?

So much will be involved with your consultant that you should always schedule an appointment, sit down and talk. Allow for a lot of back and forth and make sure you listen to what they offer. They have dedicated themselves to this, just as you have to your business. Their job is to make you more money, don’t waste that resource!

Meeting your Developer / Designer / Consultant

If you meet a developer, designer or consultant for the first time, and you say something like:

“I’m thinking about having a website made for {insert purpose here}, how much does something like go for?” Then stare blankly at him/her waiting for an answer.

The question of, “How much?”, should NEVER be an awkward one, but expecting a number within minutes of the meeting and not going over anything will almost never end well. You will put the developer, designer or consultant in an “awkward” position of trying to keep you interested in hiring him/her, but at the same time not wanting to price too high or low based off of almost no information.

If you have not done so yet, make an appointment, sit down with him/her, most will not charge for this initial meeting. Go over what you’re looking for, then ask the question. A good web specialist will do some quick calculations in their head to get a very “ballpark” range. They may have template sites up and say, “is this what you’re looking for?”. If the latter, then they may have a “starting” price for you right there.

The most important thing.

Website Builder, Scour all of the templates, play with EVERY feature. Learn what ALL the limitations are, with the builder there are always limitations. If you have trouble, use the contact support feature, there is always someone there to help explain what you’re capable of and not capable of doing.
If you have taken the step towards a custom site, and you made your appointment to meet with your web specialist. Listen to what they have to say.

The Developer, explain everything to them, then listen to what they are able to actually accomplish for you.

The Designer, you have an idea of what you want, you bring them some drawing on a napkin, explain your vision, then sit back and listen to what they can do for you and your vision.

The Consultant, present your business model. Explain what you’re looking for, new customers, more online views, bigger fan base, expand your business to new horizons online… No matter what your idea is, tell them, all of this information will help shape what they can do for you. Then, listen.

With all of these meetings if your developer is good there will be a lot of back and forth. This is what you want. If the conversation is one way, either way, your most likely not going to get what you are looking for. If you’re doing all the talking and telling, the developer is going to give you EXACTLY what you’re asking for with none of his/her insights which may lead to a bad online presence. If the specialist is doing all the talking after looking at the napkin sketch, you most likely won’t get what you’re looking for (this may work out for you if they are really good and deliver something you like, but it’s too big of a gamble).

I hope you enjoyed this article, and it helps you in your decision of this great adventure of your online presence.

If you’re looking to break free of constranits feel free to contact me. You can find my website at:

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