Have Website Builders Killed Web Design Careers?

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Have Website Builders Killed Web Design Careers?

Chris Misterek

I hear it almost once a week now.

Someone looked at getting into web design but decided there wasn’t much of a future in it.

Why?

Because of all the dang drag & drop website builders.

Pretty soon all you’ll have to do is fill out a little survey and out pops an award-winning website that everyone flocks to and hands over money.

I Work for the Enemy

Want to know something ironic?

I work for one of those website builders 😂

It’s called Showit and it’s by far one of the best website builders I’ve used as a professional web designer.

Want to know something else even more ironic?

We have a group of designers that we send people to. Some easily make 6 figures a year designing websites on OUR drag and drop platform.

So, are website builders killing web design careers? No.

If anything they’re opening up more opportunity for people to break into the industry.

The Microwave

Think about it like this. The microwave came out in 1964.

It would have been reasonable to assume that fast-food restaurants would have had a run for their money.

I mean didn’t the service provided by a fast-food restaurant get pretty much swallowed up by the very purpose of the microwave?

You didn’t even have to leave your house and you could have a meal in minutes.

But, do we still have fast-food restaurants? Yes.

In fact, the industry exploded.

The Truth About Web Design Careers

The truth is there will always be a need for good web designers.

Just like there will always be a demand for a good cheeseburger you can get through a drive-through.

Don’t get fooled by the sensational blog titles out there trying to reel you in with some crazy headline.

Here are a few reasons why I believe web design is a solid and stable career choice.

1. Time vs. Money

What makes more sense?

For a business owner to spend a ton of time learning a platform only to find out at the end that the site they built didn’t turn out nearly as good as they had hoped it would.

OR

For them to spend time doing what they know how to do best to make money and grow their business.

I had a similar scenario recently.

We decided to redo our bathrooms.

It’s something I’ve done before personally and I was confident I could do it again.

But, something happened when I started working on the upstairs bathroom.

I had an epiphany.

I could be using my time to remodel this bathroom and it would save me some money OR I could build a website for someone, take the money from that and pay someone ELSE to remodel this bathroom for me.

AND, I’d have some money left over.

So, you want to know who did the downstairs bathroom? NOT ME!

I was building a website for someone.

And, guess what, the downstairs bathroom looks better than the upstairs because it was done by a pro.

The same is true for a lot of businesses. Sure, they probably could take the time to build out their website and it’d probably be fine.

But, at the end of the day, they can make more money focusing on the things they are good at.

2. Added value

There’s a lot more that goes into a successful website than pretty pictures and some aligned text.

There are so many things to think about.

There’s messaging, brand alignment, conversion, bounce rate, accessibility. The list goes on and on.

A good web designer will know how to help with more than just the look of a site. And, those things are something that can take a lot of time and a lot of trial and error to know how to do well.

At the end of the day, no one wants a website.

They want what the website has to offer them and their business.

They want to grow and make more money and a website is one avenue of many to make that happen.

There’s an old adage that says, “No one wants a drill. They want a hole in the wall.”

So, yes, if you’re just trying to sell pretty websites then you will have a tough time competing with a simple drag and drop builder.

But, if you as a web designer can add value and further the hopes and dreams of your clients you will never have a lack of work.

3. Creativity is Tough to Emulate

Technology has come a long way. It’s pretty incredible actually.

It’s estimated that truck drivers will be almost completely replaced by self-driving vehicles by as early as 2027.

No more huge gas station stops complete with showers, chair massagers and a full-service Taco Bell along the highways, ya’ll 😱

But, compare something like driving a package from one point to another to making something beautiful.

How do you know if something is beautiful?

Just because it’s beautiful to you does that make it beautiful to everyone else?

These are questions that philosophers have debated and scientists have tried come to conclusions on for centuries without success.

Creativity in the same sense is just not something that’s easy quantify.

I could be wrong but I can’t imagine that there will be a technology that can replace the creativity of a single human being any time in the near future IF EVER.

Not only that but when computers were first invented it was estimated that they would reduce the hours of a workweek for employees by HALF.

Have they done that? No…

If anything they’ve made more and more work for us to do.

4. An Easy Pivot

As a web designer, I find you’re always challenged by some unfamiliar requirements for a project.

In fact, in the early days, there was rarely any job I did that I didn’t have to do a crazy amount of googling to figure out.

It’s the nature of freelance clients to ask for more out of you than you are confident of, AND It’s in our nature to grow and explore. TO LEARN NEW STUFF!

So, even if your title is “web designer” you will likely have skills in digital marketing OR conversion rate optimization OR something similar.

And, eventually, you’ll be able to use those skills and pivot in a direction that might be better suited for you OR more in demand where you are.

When I started, I hadn’t even heard of a UX designer before.

But, I got introduced to it through clients that needed some UX work done. They could have found someone else BUT they just liked me and wanted to give me a shot.

That’s how I learned the skills that landed me in the position I have today.

A web designer is not a far cry from a UX designer. They share a lot of the same skills.

And, sometimes people say web designer and they mean UX designer or frontend developer.

So, you’re not pigeonholed to one discipline just because that’s what you spent time learning.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I can’t predict the future.

No one knows for sure what lies ahead for web designers.

But, I think we have good enough reason to believe that drag and drop website builders aren’t killing web design careers.

People will always need good web designers. Business owners will always want to focus on their strengths more AND you will always be able to learn more and more along the way that makes you more valuable.

So, keep learning web design OR get started.

There’s never been a better time.

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