A couple of years ago, I attending a local networking event with a small group of professionals from various industries. We were at the very start of the event, where everyone takes turns to introduce themselves and give their elevator pitch, when one gentleman (let's call him "Bob") introduced himself as a web designer and proudly said the following:
"Get your website designed by a professional designer. DO NOT do it yourself, and DO NOT use a website builder. Every time someone uses a website builder, somewhere in the world a unicorn dies!"
Actually, he may have said "fairy", "kitten", or "puppy dog", I can't quite remember, but the point is that he was dead against the idea of using website builders. But why?
To me, the way "Bob" expressed himself indicated that his opinion was based emotion rather than experience. This reminded of the 1987 film, "Bluffing It" (I'm showing my age). The film stars Dennis Weaver who plays a factory foreman who, for many years, has successfully hidden the fact that he's illiterate. If memory serves, the only person who knows the truth is his wife. There's a scene in the film where the factory he works in has bought a new computer system, which aims to drastically improve factory efficiency. Poor old Dennis strongly opposes the new system because it threatens to expose his secret. His subordinate colleagues are against it because the efficiency savings will likely lead to job cuts and they hail him as a hero for selflessly defending their jobs (or so they think).
So what does any of this have to do with "Bob's" hatred of website builders? Because people often hate things that they see as a threat to their job security or career prospects. "Bob" likely reasoned to himself;
"If building a website is as easy as using a drag-and-drop interface with no coding required, then pretty soon I'll be out of a job!"
The sad thing is that this need not be the case. Even if website builders do become the de facto standard in web design, there will always be people who want someone else to build a website for them because they lack the time, patience, skill, or artistic flair to do it themselves.
So back to the titular question; Are website builders good or bad? In my opinion, yes. But just like any other product or service, some are way better than others. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with website builders to make them a bad idea in principle.
I've been a web designer for many years, since before website builders were a thing. I've coded websites from scratch in HTML and I've used website builders. Coding satisfies my "inner geek" and I love opportunity it gives me to exercise my brain and build mental muscle. Using website builders satisfies my desire to make everything as easy and efficient as possible.
In the end, a lot of this is down to personal choice. But if you're in need of a website and trying to decide between a professionally designed bespoke site and a DIY site with a website builder, please don't be put off the website builder route by people (Luddites) in the industry with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
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