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Why using a website builder is 'shooting yourself in the foot'

mosesmbadi profile image mosesmbadi ・2 min read

I started learning web development late last year.Becoming a self-taught developer is quite easy contrary to popular opinion,(if you know where to start😉,and what to understand ).In my case I started with reading alot of 'how to get started in web dev' articles from this I slowly noticed a trend,then I made my own syllabus and got started.So,6 months after that started spreading the word among my friends that I develop websites.That's how I got my first 4 gigs.
I built the first 3 website with html and CSS,they were simple blog websites,and JavaScript was a huge pain in the ass to understand 🤦.The forth one I just downloaded a template and customized it.So,my fifth website as a freelancer ,I was dead broke and a client approached me with a small offer.I told myself I will just take the money and build the website on wordpress and it will take me less than an hour (and lesser cups of coffee😂) .Long story short,a week later the website got hacked by some Turkey guy,after restoring,I again ran into another bug,it took ages to load.After that it went down,took me hours googling to find out the issue.All this while the websites I developed from scratch using html,css and js and in some case Django had no issue and were loading at light speed.
Another bad experience with website builders is when I tried wix.You see,for less than Ksh 4,000 ($40) I can host my website with Truehost compared to Wix which will charge you Ksh 2,400 ($24) a month!Woaa!Maybe that's pocket change in your country,but in kenya that's alot of money.
Flexibility is very important when building a website.You need to have total control over your website.It's a huge bummar when you get complaints from website visitors that your website has a bug yet you don't know where to start to fix it.In addition,you competency will be doubted when you tell your client or manager that you can't reduce the image size because the website builder has a min of 500*500pxs.
I learned my lesson.

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mosesmbadi profile

mosesmbadi

@mosesmbadi

Freelance Web and Mobile app developer.

Discussion

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You are seeing things from a developer's eyes. Most website builders are not meant for developers.

Site builders have their use. Dev and design time are costly in many ways. Many businesses do not need the level of customization you may think they need. Businesses need the ability to create prototypes to test out business ideas quick and cheap. That's how you should use website builders. There is also a very important benefits for marketing people: free from reliance on developers. The relationship between marketing people and IT guys in many companies is complicated love/hate relationship. Website builders allow marketing people to do things themselves.

 

Yes,I totally agree with you.But how about in the context of a developer making their own portfolio for example,or a client contracting you for the same?

 

It depends. Let's say you call yourself a wix, webflow expert, then it makes sense to use the builder for your own website. There are clients who use builders that look for help from developers who know such builders as well.

If you create a site for your client, there are certain advantage of using a builder as well:

  1. It's generally less expensive for them.
  2. It's easier for them to make small changes themselves.
  3. Documents are already available.

Of course, if the site is complex and need features that go beyond what a builder can do then for sure you need to custom code it. However, even in those cases, sometimes it makes sense to use the site builder to create quick prototypes first. If you are familiar with the concept of MVP, then you can see how quick prototypes can help to validate and tweak business concept before real launch.

Even if the site you want to build is complex, you can still use part of the code generated from Webflow. Many big companies are using it for designing/building user interfaces as it saves valuable time to the whole team (both development & marketing).

 

squoosh.app is really good for reducing image size without reducing the number of pixels. Sorry if you already know that :)