A website is your virtual face to world of customers who will be searching for what you offer. Having a well-built company website is important! But, should you build your website on your own or should you hire a web designer to do it for you?
There are many arguments for both paths and it will likely depend on a few factors. There are some great platforms out there these days to build websites. A seasoned designer, however, can offer a perspective and insight into the design, calls to action, SEO, and other areas that can greatly enhance your site’s value.
In this article, we’ll explore when you should look to build your site yourself and when you should hire a professional.
Build Your Own Website
The internet of today looks very different from the one that existed even a few years ago. Companies like SquareSpace and Wix have rapidly increased their customer base by offering simple-to-build websites developed from a suite of templates. And, indeed, there are a number of positives for these ready-to-go solutions. Some of these are:
You control all aspects of the site.
As a small business owner, you are likely used to directly making many of the decisions that keep your business running smoothly each and every day. Many business owners want to maintain control over their business. Building your site yourself lets you do exactly that.
Initial build costs will likely be lower
One of the main advantages of hiring any professional is also one of the things that drives up price – that is, someone who can listen to what you’re looking for, build designs, and tailor your website to fit your business and your brand. While those all highly valuable (see the reasons to Hire a Professional Web Designer), the time and expertise a web designer brings to the project will have a heavier up-front cost.
However, a word of advice – longer-term pricing, as well as other intangible costs, may end up being very similar or greater in the DIY solution. It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons when making the decision.
You will receive a bundled and all-in-one platform
Many DIY website options are a platform in which they provide everything you need to get started – whether you are building a single-person business, running a web store, or are seeing growth of your small business.
Design templates, ecommerce, and analytics are built directly into the platform. The one-stop-shop approach can make it easier for you to manage your website as a busy small business owner.
High availability of customer support
This particular point may or may not matter to you. But, if it does, a platform will generally have better customer support availability. You will likely be able to get on the phone or in chat in a moment’s notice. Platforms – especially larger ones – generally have a more consistent customer support line and contact point.
Again, keep in mind that the bigger the platform, the more likely it is that you are first sent through a the Tier 1 support which may not get you satisfactory results.
Hire a Professional Web Designer
While we have extolled the praises of the DIY option, hiring a professional web designer brings its own strengths. Done right, working with a professional designer can be an enormously satisfying experience and can provide a launch pad for your business. Here are some advantages.
Your design will be tailored specifically to your business
One way that the previously mentioned companies keep things simple is by providing templates that you can use to build your site. However, by their nature, templates can only be so custom. As you grow an expand your business, you may find that the templates available to you are no longer serving your needs. You may, perhaps, want to stand out with something more custom.
Any good web designer should take time to interview you and understand your business and your businesses’ objectives and goals. The design that they build for you should put a focus on those objectives. A site meant to be a storefront will not have the same type of design as one that is meant to build an online community as one that is meant to highlight media and content generation.
A designer comes with their own network
Experience will allow a web designer to know what best practices to follow. Experience will give that same web designer a network of individuals who can help support your business: writers, digital marketing experts, and developers.
When you hire a web designer, you are not just hiring that person (or their company) – you’re also hiring the strength of their network.
You get flexibility
The Build Your Own Website platforms offer an all-in-one solution. But, by the nature that they have to support many customers. A natural response to this is that they will gear themselves to developing their platform for the widest swath of customers.
For example, if you choose to build your storefront on one platform, you must use their credit card processing service which doesn’t let you shop for your own processor and possibly reducing your fees. You pay for the convenience.
When working with a web designer, you have a much wider option set to work with. Returning to the credit card scenario – you can discuss with your designer about processing through Square or PayPal or Quicken or…take your pick! This same premise is true across the board. The options for customizations are a very wide net. Your web designer can work with you to understand options and make recommendations regarding the appropriate solutions for you.
We know – this was also the same advantage found in the DIY option.
The fact of the matter is, the costs of websites can get complicated. The up-front price is almost always cheaper using the DIY option. But, a website also has other costs. Some to include are:
- Hosting Fees – The monthly or yearly cost to keep your site running.
- Maintenance – You may not think your site needs this, but just this year Google launched two major changes to how their search engine sees websites. Without regular maintenance, you may find your visits dropping if you don’t stay up-to-date.
- Updates – Websites are software too. Is your site being patched and tested to make sure that it runs fast, runs well on all devices, and is secure?
As a small business owner, your time is important. Some owners may find that they prefer to let someone handle the details so they can focus on what it is that they do best. Finding a trusted firm who can do this allows you to grow your business without paying for the costs of a full-time web designer or team.
Deciding whether to build your website yourself or to hire a web designer is one that has to be weighed carefully. Building the site yourself can give you an all-in-one solution that runs as a software platform. Hiring the right team to do the work for you can pay huge dividends in expertise and a tailored solution that is unique to your business.
We have presented four reasons to consider each option. Consider carefully, and start building!