Web Designer vs. Web Developer Which One Should You Hire for Your Business

Posted on
May 15, 2022
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You don't have to build your business's website by yourself. Instead, you can outsource it. Outsourcing your business's website will allow you to focus on other tasks, such as attracting and retaining customers.

You can outsource your business's website to a web designer or developer. While they offer similar website-related services, web designers and web developers aren't the same. To outsource your business's website, you'll need to understand how these professions differ.

What Is a Web Designer?

A web designer is someone who specializes in designing the visual elements of websites. All websites have graphic elements, which consist of images, styling, colors, and typography, all of which affect the appearance of websites. Web designers are responsible for designing these visual elements and integrating them into their clients' websites.

Typical services performed by web designers include:

• Header design

• Footer design

• Logo design

• Landing page design

• Responsive web design

• Call to action (CTA) design

• Split testing

• Product page design

• Content styling

Web designers use a variety of tools to perform these services. They may use Adobe Photoshop to design images and a text editor to create Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Using these tools, web designers will create attractive visual elements for their clients' websites.

What Is a Web Developer?

Web developers are responsible for building sites through coding. A web developer creates and optimizes websites, particularly the underlying code. Websites consist of source code that's interpreted by web browsers. Web browsers will render a website based on its source code.

Typical services performed by web developers include:

  • Content management system (CMS) installation
  • URL slug optimization
  • Page creation
  • Theme customization
  • Navigation optimization
  • Domain setup
  • Speed optimization
  • Database sanitation
  • Website Security
  • Plugin installation
  • Building internal and outbound links
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) setup
  • Troubleshooting errors
  • Server or web hosting migration

There are front-end web developers, and there are back-end web developers. Front-end web developers specialize in front-end development. They only work on the parts of their clients' websites that visitors can see. Creating pages and optimizing a website's navigation are forms of front-end development.

Back-end web developers specialize in back-end development. Back-end development takes place on the server, which visitors can't see. A back-end web developer may sanitize a client's database or set up Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for a client's website. These services are performed on servers, so they are considered forms of back-end development.

Of course, many web developers perform both front-end and back-end development services. Known as full-stack web developers, they are essentially a jack of all trades. Full-stack web developers can work on visitor-accessible parts of a website and the site's server.

Differences Between Web Designers and Web Developers

Web designers and web developers both offer website creation services. Web designers, however, focus on the aesthetic elements of websites, whereas web developers focus on the technical aspects of websites.

Web designers are adept at creating and optimizing images and know how to style content using CSS effectively. Web developers are experienced at building websites using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP), JavaScript, and to a lesser degree, CSS.

While their prices vary, web developers usually charge more for their services than web designers. It will probably take a web developer longer to build a website than for a web designer to design a visual element. A complete web development project may take a couple of weeks to several months. A web design project may only take a few days. Because their services take longer to perform, web developers charge more than web designers.

Should You Hire a Web Designer or Web Developer?

You may want to hire a web developer if you're trying to build your business's website from the ground up. Web developers have a broader skillset. You can tell them what type of website you want to be built, and they'll turn it into a reality.

You can hire a back-end or full-stack web developer to work on your website's server. If you're looking for someone who can connect your website's server and perform system administrative tasks, you should hire a web developer. With the exception of front-end web developers, they can all work on servers. Web designers, conversely, may lack the skills needed to work on servers.

For strictly design work, you may want to hire a web designer. Web designers know how to design beautiful and engaging visual elements. They are familiar with image formats like Joint Photographics Expert Group (JPG) and Personal Network Graphics (PNG). Web designers know which formats to use for different types of images.

Some web designers may still offer to build your business's website, but that's not their specialty. Their specialty lies in visual elements. For a small and simple website, a web designer may suffice. You should probably hire a web developer for a large and complex website.

A web designer can help with conversion rate optimization (CRO). If you want to create a sales or landing page for your business's website, perhaps you should hire a web designer. Sales pages and landing pages are visually oriented. They rely on visual elements to compel visitors to act. A web designer can design the perfect sales page or landing page that yields a high conversion rate.

You don't have to choose between a web designer and a web developer. You can hire a web developer to build your business's website, after which you can hire a web designer to improve its visual elements. Hiring a web designer and a web developer will result in a more professional, better-optimized website.

Even in today's digital era, over one in three small businesses operate without a website, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If your business falls under this category, you may want to hire a web designer or web developer. A web designer can create all of the necessary visual elements for your business's website. In comparison, a web developer can ultimately build your business's website from the ground up.

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