There’s little question that the past few years of rapid technological development have shifted the online landscape. There have never been so many websites or platforms, and with the increasing demand for everyone and everything to have an online presence, the market has done everything in its power to offer web options at bare-bones pricing. For people considering whether to pay a web developer to design a site or simply buy a cheap, pre-made site, the right choice might seem like a no brainer. It can be a lot to take in, and you might be wondering: “Will web development die? Can’t we just buy a template?”

If you’re managing a brand and a budget, it’s a very reasonable question, and it’s one that people have been asking for years. In fact, you may be wondering if it’s best to take the DIY approach and just pay for a cheap template. After all, you have to be financially responsible, and it’s tempting to look for shortcuts wherever possible. We argue, however, that a website is not the place to do so, and we’ll explain why.

The Untamed Wilds of the Internet Landscape

If you’ve been on the internet any time in the past five years, odds are high that you’ve seen ads for website-building packages. You’ll recognize the format: 

Someone had a great small business idea. They paid a few bucks for a pre-made website, typed in their details, and suddenly they were seeing unchecked success in their business, simply because they were online. This marketing push became even more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even more recently, there has been a push to produce AI-generated design and content. There are platforms that will automatically write blog content for you if you provide the topic, and while it certainly puts words on a page, the quality is questionable at best. 

Unfortunately, the internet landscape for budget-friendly websites encapsulates the adage, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Will web development die? No, but there are certainly new rules at play.

Don’t worry, though—We have some tips for what to look for.

will web development die

Victim to Our Own (Pre-Purchased) Designs

If you’ve been around the Anna Montgomery & Co website before, you know that we believe in the importance of specific, unique design that reflects your brand. We’ve written about this elsewhere, but for web design, simply reflect on your own experience online.

will web development die

Whenever you encounter a pre-populated or pre-made website, it’s always a little off. It’s the Twilight Zone version of a normal website. You might notice that it’s missing information, or there are stock photos that don’t fit the content, or the text won’t align with the images. As a business owner, it’s tempting to shrug and decide it’s “good enough,” but as a visitor, it doesn’t feel that way. 

Imagine if you walked into an Italian restaurant and they handed you a menu that had pictures of tacos. It doesn’t matter if the food is incredible—You probably would be too skeptical to enjoy it. 

If your goal is to cultivate trust with your audience, you have to represent yourself accurately, and it takes a web developer to listen to you, understand your needs, and figure out how to show that to the world. A pre-made website can’t do that.

Writing Our Wrongs (AI Could Never)

Similarly, the move away from original content and towards AI-generated material also invites the question of whether web development is dying. Writing takes a lot of time, and the possibility of speeding up that process is appealing (Believe me, it takes us a long time to write these posts!).

However, words only mean something if they are filled with meaning. 

That sounds a little abstract, but bear with me—We all know people who seem to speak before they think. They plow through conversations, and after a while, their words start to feel like noise. AI can only speak before it thinks because it can’t think.

One could argue that there’s some superficial merit to AI-generated content. It may draw on SEO to get your website more hits, but the number of website visitors doesn’t matter if those visitors don’t experience the integrity of your brand.

Survival of the Fittest: Will Web Development Die or Adapt?

We ask a final time: Will web development die? At this point, our answer should be obvious. It’s a resounding no. 

We’re not internet curmudgeons, though. Some of these technological developments have made web development more accessible. For example, we offer the budget-friendly opportunity to build your website using templated tools that can be customized to create a website that’s unique to you. This is different than using a pre-made website, though. Think of it like the difference between using a toolbox to build a dresser or using an Ikea chair to build a dresser. One of those is going to result in a better dresser, and it’s not the Ikea chair.

will web development die

Likewise, improved technology makes it easier than ever to have a deeper understanding of the analytics behind web content which can help you write more strategically to attract an audience. There are ways to court the algorithms that elevate or hide your website, and you can do it in a way that will actually appeal to people. It takes honesty, though. 

Ultimately, whether it’s with us or another partner, we encourage you to take your web development seriously because your website represents more than what you do—it shows your audience who you are. We can offer support on both the design and content fronts, so if you’d like to talk, don’t hesitate to reach out.