AI vs Humans: When to Use Which

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Madison Zoey Vettorino
Madison Zoey Vettorino

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If you’re scratching your head wondering when you should use AI vs humans to build your website, I totally get it, and I’ve been there, too. With so many generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools available, it makes sense to harness their power to create your site as efficiently as possible. But when does it make sense to use AI — and when is human expertise simply irreplaceable?

person researching ai vs humans to determine what humans should be responsible for when building site and what ai can do.

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That’s a tricky question — and one our industry as a whole is grappling with. However, I’m here to help provide some guidance regarding the best use case for AI. 

How to Determine Whether to Use AI vs Humans 

The truth is that it's up to you to decide whether you want to use AI vs humans. You have to use your discretion to determine whether you want to invest in a person to complete a task or if you’re going to lean on the assistance of artificial intelligence. I can’t tell you where to allocate your budget — but don’t worry, I can definitely give some recommendations. But first, let’s walk through how to determine whether to use AI vs humans. 

It comes down to what your company prioritizes. Is search engine optimization (SEO) a key pillar for your company’s success? If so, I wouldn’t leave my SEO strategy only in the hands of artificial intelligence — not in 2024, anyway, when AI is still in growth mode. What about imagery? If you don't own an ecommerce business and imagery isn't essential, maybe using an AI platform to generate pictures will get the job done. 

Of course, that’s not to say that using AI is cutting corners — because it’s not. You can find success with an AI-based SEO strategy, or create an engaging website that makes use of AI-generated imagery. However, it’s important to note that AI is constantly evolving, and chances are that you'll need to double-check its work before you push it live to your audience. Think of yourself as AI’s editor. 

In my experience, I’ve noticed that AI works best in conjunction with the human mind. For example, at HubSpot, we use AI to generate ideas for headlines or outlines and as an excellent first step when completing research — but we don’t use it to write our blog posts. By using AI to automate laborious yet straightforward tasks, you can allocate that energy elsewhere to produce more creative, engaging content.

The same goes for building your website with AI. Even if you’re using artificial intelligence to generate an ecommerce website for you, I wouldn’t recommend you publish it exactly as is. Instead, consider using the AI-generated site design as a base and then add personal touches such as creative copy, fonts specific to your branding, and pictures your brand photographer captured. 

Before we dive into when you should consider using AI vs humans, I’ll leave you with this closing note: In 2024, I don’t think it makes sense to use humans to do every single task because we have the technology to automate arduous processes, and why not use it? I also don’t think it makes sense to use AI to complete all of your tasks because the technology isn’t robust enough to do so at this point. I’d recommend you avoid looking at it as AI vs humans and, instead, as humans and AI. 

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    AI vs Humans: When to Use AI

    There are several functions in website building where I would recommend you make use of artificial intelligence. Here are some of those best use cases.

    For basic website layout.

    If you want to build a website quickly and don’t need anything niche created, then using artificial intelligence (or a CMS with AI baked in) is an excellent idea. Of course, you’ll be able to customize your website later — but not nearly as much as you’d be able to if you were working with a developer. 

    That being said, if you’re creating a website on a budget or running a small business just starting out, you may find that an AI-generated website gets the job done and allows you to get more bang for your buck. 

    For non-product imagery.

    In my experience, the best way to use AI image generation is for featured images for blog posts, or other pictures you want to feature throughout your site that don't depict products. When selling products, it’s crucial that your consumers get to see exactly what they’re going to get, which is why AI wouldn’t be the best fit. But as for blog post feature images or other less crucial graphics, I’d say save yourself the time and use generative AI. (Bonus points that the AI will create a non-stock image.) 

    For chatbots. 

    If you have a business, you know how important providing excellent customer service is. That’s where chatbots come into the equation. Instead of having your customer service team yield tons of repetitive questions, add a chatbot to your website to get users the answers they need quickly, and free up your team members’ schedules. (Psst: Getting started with a chatbot doesn't have to be costly — you can do so for free.) 

    For personalization.

    It’s no secret that today’s users expect a highly personalized experience. AI can help you to analyze your users’ behaviors and data. Then, you can use that information to create more customized experiences for your users. For instance, with the help of AI, you can offer up personalized content recommendations or offers that better suit each user. There’s no need to guess and check what appeals to your website users — AI can do it better. 

    The State of Artificial Intelligence Report

    New research into how marketers are using AI and key insights into the future of marketing.

    • Marketing AI Tools
    • Practical Tips
    • Trends and Statistics
    • And More!
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      AI vs Humans: When to Use Humans

      And, of course, there are also scenarios when it makes more sense to use humans to build your website. I’ll walk through those now.

      For building a highly complex or niche website.

      In 2024, AI isn’t currently able to replace the expertise you’d gain by working with a developer who specializes in building highly customized websites. If you don’t want your website to look like anyone else’s, or need it to have a specific functionality that an AI-generated site can’t, I recommend you work with a developer. 

      Another situation where working with a developer makes a lot of sense is if you’re looking to build a plugin for your website powered by WordPress. While there are literally thousands of plugins on the market, there’s a (slim) chance you won’t find one with the functionality you need. In this case, it makes sense to hire a developer to create the plugin for you. 

      For SEO.

      Yes, you can use AI to optimize your website for SEO. But nevertheless, I’d still recommend you work with an SEO expert when creating your site. AI is great for keyword research, but there’s no substitute for the expertise an SEO expert brings to the table.

      Your SEO expert can make make tailored recommendations regarding your website structure and navigation, on-page optimization, and technical SEO issues that may arise. In a lot of ways, your SEO efforts dictate whether your website will be successful or not — so working with a professional is worthwhile if you can find money in your budget to do so. 

      For product imagery.

      If you run an ecommerce business and are sourcing imagery for your products to showcase on your website, there really is no substitute for hiring a photographer. A photographer will know how to best position your products for the best success, as well as assist in creating compelling imagery that will get people actually to add to cart. In other words, this isn’t somewhere you’d want to take a shortcut. 

      For security purposes. 

      Similar to SEO, you can’t afford to take a gamble with your site security. Of course, there are plenty of incredible AI-powered tools that can help determine if your site has experienced a security breach, but I’d leave the rectification of these issues to a human being. In my experience, it’s important for your company to have a point person to reach out to in case any security issues arise. 

      Use a Combination of AI and Humans 

      Instead of looking at it as AI vs humans, I encourage you to keep in mind that AI is an effectively tool humans can use to optimize workflows and get more done in an efficient manner. By using a combination of AI and humans, you'll make the most of your energy and reap the benefits of both. 

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