Difference Between A Web Designer And Web Developer


There are key differences between website designers and website developers. They sound almost identical, but they are key differences. Do you need a web designer or a web developer for your business? Discover the differences and find out which one to choose.

Both roles sound identical and the outcome is basically the same. If you employ a web designer or a web developer to create a website for you, you’ll get a website. The main difference is how they get there.

What Is The Difference?

Let’s think of the designer as an artist and the developer as a builder. When putting a house together, they’ll prioritise different things.

The designer will make your house look beautiful. The designer even knows a house needs foundations and the structure needs support, so they’ll put those things in place. However, they won’t know the technical requirements in detail.

The builder knows how the foundations are laid and how to build the structure in the most cost-effective and efficient way. A builder will also know all of the technical considerations that need to be taken; including building regulations.

For the purpose of building a website, the designer knows all about user experience and building the best looking website left to their own devices.

A developer will be more in tune with how everything works and should be able to deliver more of the technical aspects valued by search engines. Without design guidance, the developer is most likely to come back with a very practical website, but without the creature comforts.

Designers create beautiful websites, developers create practical websites.

Website Designer

  • The way things look
  • Designers are great at choosing colours
  • Great understanding of user behaviour
  • More likely to fill your website with plugins which will ultimately slow your website down

Website Developer

  • The way things work
  • Knowledgeable about the code used in the background
  • Can create a more efficient website
  • Can create a better architecture for search because of their knowledge
  • Include required functionality as standard

What’s The Solution?

To find the solution, Steve Jobs provides us with a useful quote. Design “is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Unfortunately in digital marketing, you’ll find many great designers who don’t understand the technical implications of what they’ve designed. Most of them use page builders exclusively and until recently, page builders were created with only beauty in mind.

A web designer is almost guaranteed to create the most impressive looking website by most people’s standards. Like cars and mechanics, most people who own a car aren’t going to look under the bonnet to see how everything works.

A designer won’t understand that the page builder they used to put it all together includes a lot of unnecessary code or that the 127 plugins they used slow the website down.

To speed things up, a great web developer will hard code the functionality of the plugins, use a lighter theme, or even just write all of the code themselves to make sure it’s optimised for search engines.

The ultimate solution is that you need to have both developer types involved with an SEO sprinkled in here and there to keep everyone on track so your website will be ready to take on your competitors from its launch date.


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