Feels like AI is everywhere right now, right? It’s getting better at doing loads of those jobs that – just a couple of years ago – needed an experienced pro and a chunk of time. But now a computer program can create websites for free – in minutes.
So I guess you’re wondering, should you stick with the tried and trusted route and hire a web developer? Or give an AI website builder a try?
As web developers at Potion Web, you might think you know what we’d say about that. However, our recommendation might surprise you.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… firstly, what does a web developer or designer do?
In basic terms, web devs and designers build websites. They’ll talk to you, the client, to find out your vision for your website – what do you want it to achieve for your business? What functionality do you need? With this info, your web developer will use their knowledge and expertise to create a website that looks incredible and gives your users a slick, intuitive experience.
They’ll also provide support and maintenance, so you’re covered when updates come along or if something goes wrong.
So… what does an AI website builder do? An AI website builder uses artificial intelligence to create a website for you – fast. You’ll still have to tell it what you need, but – as it’s a computer, not a human – you’ll have to be very specific to help it get things just right.
Can AI really create websites?
The short answer is yes, it can!
AI website builders create websites using machine learning without the need for coding skills. That’s important to remember – AI doesn’t actually understand what it’s doing, it’s simply following patterns to automate the web-building process.
An AI web builder will look at websites belonging to other businesses in your sector to find features it can recreate. It’ll also add any design or layout preferences you’ve specified, and build a site that it thinks will meet your requirements.
How do AI website builders work?
We haven’t tested all the AI website builders out there, but they typically work in the same way. Here’s a flavor of the info an AI website builder will ask for:
- Your industry
- The services you offer
- The main goal of your website
- The colors and fonts you like
Once you’ve told it your answers, it uses the information you’ve given to generate website designs for you.
Want some examples of the best AI website builders?
Here’s an overview of some of the popular ones:
Wix has long been one of the bigger players in helping people to design their own websites, and the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) package was one of the earliest AI website builders to launch. The builder’s free to use, and even basic hosting is free. But if you want advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade – prices come in between $16 and $59 per month, depending on the services you need.
Wix says ADI creates designs exclusively for each user – that means there are no templates to choose from. Depending on your point of view and your experience with design and AI, this could be a benefit or a drawback to you.
Hostinger Website Builder
Hostinger is an AI website builder powered by ChatGPT. It has hundreds of templates to choose from so if design isn’t your thing, this can be a great place to begin – you can still customize the look once you’ve got the basics. Plus, it’ll even write your copy and create a logo.
Prices start at $11.99 a month, but look out for attractive introductory deals – you might be able to build your site for as little as $2.99 a month.
Durable claims to be the world’s fastest AI website builder. As well as AI assistance with your copy and images, it’ll even integrate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, generate invoices and accept payments.
Durable’s prices start at $12 a month, but a 30-day free trial is available so you can try it for size before you commit.
Advantages of AI website builders
Easy to use (just be realistic!)
AI website builders are great for generating a solid basis for your site. And if you stick to that basic design rigidly, you’ll be fine. It’ll take you no time to get a pretty good website.
BUT! Don’t expect to add anything fancy because the AI just can’t cope with it. You’ll have to make endless fixes, and that’ll stress you out.
AI doesn’t need a salary, and its pricing doesn’t reflect its experience. So it’s definitely cheaper than a web developer. At just a few dollars a month, an AI web builder is great when you’re just starting out, and your budget’s so tight it squeaks.
This depends on you! Sure, the AI will generate a decent ‘first draft’ website for your business.
But if little design flaws bother you, you’ll spend forever trying to iron them out. And haven’t you got a business to run?
Available right now
It’s 3 am, and you want a website NOW? That’s cool: AI website builders can create your site while web developers and designers are getting their shut-eye. If you need a straightforward site in the middle of the night, AI is your friend.
Consistent Updates and Maintenance
Many AI website builders are managed platforms. This means they handle all the updates and maintenance tasks for you. You don’t have to worry about security updates, compatibility issues, or fixing bugs.
AI website builders often include built-in analytics tools. This makes it easy to track and understand visitor behaviour, enabling you to refine your website for better engagement and conversions.
A controversial opinion: you SHOULD use AI website builders!
Bet you didn’t expect a web dev to tell you that, did you?
But I’m recommending you SHOULD use AI website builders – if you’re just starting out in business or have a new idea, AI website builders can help you to get up and running.
AI-built sites are a good, cheap way to test out your products and services. You can make sure your business is viable before you take the plunge with a professionally designed website.
Using AI to build your site gives you the opportunity to figure out your audience and where you sit in the market. You can refine your pricing strategy and your branding as you go, and tweak your website copy or add new imagery until you feel like it reflects your vision.
In other words, do what you can within the limitations of an AI website builder. And when you’re in a strong position both financially AND in your business, you’ll be ready to invest in a professional website.
When should you hire a website designer or developer?
A lot of clients come to Potion Web Studio after designing their own websites. These websites have served them well for a year or two, but eventually, the business outgrows them.
When it comes to your website, look out for these key signs that you need a pro web designer on the case:
You spend ages on tech headaches – you want to move that thing over to there, and you’re spending hours trying to figure out how to do it. Not a good use of your time.
You don’t like the way your website looks – and cringe at giving out your website address. That’s no good for any business.
You keep trying to add functionality, but it just isn’t working – maybe you need a calendar or an online shop, but you can’t get it to look right or work well.
You hired a VA to try to plaster over it – your tech VA may have tried to fix some problems, but others keep popping up. It’s like a never-ending game of Whac-A-Mole.
It’s slow – your site takes ages to load or doesn’t look good on search engines – and you don’t know how to fix it…
When you start experiencing any of these problems, it’s time to have your website professionally designed. Otherwise, your unreliable, unattractive site is driving your target audience straight to your competition.
Choosing between an AI website builder or a professional website designer?
Go ahead – give AI a whirl. It’s a great space to try out new ideas and get your website started. But when it starts to become a headache, come to a seasoned human web designer, like Potion Web Studio.
Having played with the AI, you’ll be confident in what you’re looking for. And we’ve got the expertise to deliver it.
Contact us to book a chat when you’re ready to switch things up from artificial intelligence to real intelligence.