Do I need a web designer or web developer – and what’s the difference?

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A web designer can build websites and eCommerce using a CMS and usually optimize the site for search for search. A web developer can usually do all this and much more.*

Consequently hiring a web developer is more expensive than a web designer.

Does your project require a web designer or web developer?

If your project is standard, get a good web designer will get the job done. For advanced projects with programming and customizations, hire a developer.

When you need a web designer

  • For standard website design using a CMS such as WordPress.
  • To build a basic eCommerce using a program such as Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce or Prestashop.
  • For simple website customizations such as graphics, structure, layout and content.

When you need a web developer

  • For websites that require advanced customizations with ad-hoc programming.
  • When there are no plugins available to do what you require.
  • For projects involving programming.
  • Advanced integrations such as APIs.
  • Web applications and single page web apps

Skill set – designer Vs developer

Web designer Web developer
Websites built CMS CMS, hand-coded, web applications, advanced customizations, plugins
Programming languages HTML, CSS, Javascript HTML, CSS, Javascript as well as PHP, Javascript libraries (jQuery, Angular, React, Vue), Ajax, MySQLi
Other skills Graphic design, SEO, web marketing Graphic design, SEO, web marketing

Hiring the right team

Your site’s success hinges on the ability of the development team you hire. Make sure they have advanced knowledge and a track record of delivering great looking websites with a proven results.

If you are looking for independent advice and a quote, contact us here:


* This post is aimed at website owners and aims to give a simple understanding of the similarities and differences be designers and developers so site stakeholders can make informed decisions. For the purpose of this post I am referring to front-end developers.

About Mike Fitzpatrick

Mike is web developer and consultant at Jeyjoo, with a track record of transforming businesses into online market leaders.

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