This may not be the sexiest topic, but it's just as important as any other when it comes to understanding what goes into building a website. It's also essential when deciding what your needs are when you are just getting started in creating your first portal.
First of all, let's define the two:
The process of building a website, no matter how simple or complex, in order to publish it on the internet. It includes everything that has to do with the creation of the site itself, from coding, design, optimization, and much more. There is no website without web development.
More so a branch of web development than anything else, it involves the front-end of the website that is being created. This means that everything that has to do with the aesthetic, format, and content is an element of web design. As a good rule of thumb, anything you can see is likely associated with web design.
Now that we have this clear, we should understand why paying attention to these two aspects of website creation are essential to your platform's success.
If you are just starting off and have no idea what web development even means, don't fret.
As intimidating as it may seem, there are a plethora of tools out there that can help you create your dream site in a 'relatively' easy way.
If you're new to web design and are intimidated by code, low-code and drag-and-drop builders have become increasingly popular tools to use when building your first site, allowing you to create an effective and attractive platform with minimal upfront costs and effort.
If you're looking for a more complete builder, however, you can always use industry giants like WordPress and Shopify to make a true powerhouse of a site. These include all types of plug-ins and extensions that can create a truly unique experience for visitors. It all comes down to your needs.
What you should consider is how much time you are looking to put into the creation of your website and how extensive it should be.
If what you need is a landing page or minimal website, by all means, go ahead and do it yourself with a drag-and-drop. Does it take some time? Yes, but it can be done with a virtually inexistent learning curve. This allows you to focus on the web design part of things without having to hire someone and go back and forth on tedious elements that only you know how the end result should look like.
If you need a multi-product store filled with special offers, upsells and cross-sells, member account creation, and more, consider hiring a web developer. Some of the elements that go into these types of sites are complicated and may require a bit of coding to incorporate correctly into your webpage.
Whatever your needs are, make sure you know the difference between simply designing a page and its whole development.