No-code websites, are they really the new craze? Is web development pivoting? I’ve been exploring the side project subreddit and Product Hunt for some side project inspiration and noticed that there has been an ever-growing amount of “website builders”. This got me thinking, surely web development is competitive, with user experience and simplicity becoming more and more important, but can we truly replace most web design with no-code website builders?
In essence, a website builder is a platform where users usually drag and drop components onto a grid to create a website. Of course, after dragging the components, users can customize the content, themes, and fonts, but the main reason to use these website builders is to build websites without a single line of code.
Website builders such as Weebly, Wix, WordPress.com, and so on are examples of such website builders. If you notice on these platforms, no code is written unless there is an embed or custom widget component that is dragged in for the user to insert custom HTML.
No-Code Websites are best for front-end-focused landing pages
There are a LOT of websites on the internet and many of them are landing pages for brick-and-mortar businesses, portfolios, and corporations. Since landing pages are used to showcase products or services, the design and front-end of the site is much more important, so a custom back-end is not necessary.
This blog itself is using WordPress, which includes a no-code website builder for customizing the layout and widgets on the website. Since this website is just a blog, I don’t exactly need a custom back-end as WordPress handles all and I only need to worry about pushing content. I wouldn’t exactly say this is a landing page, but for a blog, content and the user experience is super important. With WordPress, I can use a theme of my choosing, customize it easily with the WordPress Customize page, and that is already enough for many websites.
Unless you’re creating a custom website, such as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, where there are functions that must be custom built, a no-code solution could still work. I don’t think it would make sense to attempt at making a SaaS product like Digital Ocean on a no-code website builder, as there are many moving parts and back-end magic that happens for a custom SaaS business compared to a web store or portfolio, where the website builder already provides you with everything you need.
Is a no-code website cheaper than a custom coded website?
This question honestly depends on how much customization you want, how often you want to edit it, and so on. If you just want a website up and running with minor content changes occasionally, you could potentially try to go the route of hiring someone to build one for you, which means you can have complete customization of the website, instead of being stuck with the website builder that web hosts offer.
Another case is how often you want to edit the content on it. If you are fine with a standard layout and just want content up for viewing, a no-code solution could be a good choice, as you can focus on the content rather than the little bugs on website resizing or colour schemes.
Lastly, web hosting on a host like Namecheap will run you over $40 CAD a year, and if you’re hiring someone to build you a website for X, and to edit and maintain is another Y amount per month, it might just make sense to use a no-code website platform where hosting is included along with the website builder.
Do note, I am not a businessman, so please consult with someone who actually has experience with this or think about the pros and cons yourself before making your decision, as every business is different.