Having a killer website is the cornerstone of any modern communications strategy. If you don’t have a website or if your website is poorly constructed you’ll be shrugged off as less than professional and your audience will move on to someone with a better site. Your website is who you are in the digital world which is why it’s essential that you get it right. When it comes to building your website you have two options, do it yourself (DIY), or hire someone to do it for you. There are pros and cons to each approach that will determine which way is the best for you. Here’s what you need to know so that you can get that perfect website built in the way that works the best for you.
DIY Web Building
Building your own website from scratch can be fun and rewarding and there are more tools available now than ever before to help you bring your dream website into reality. There are also drawbacks to going down the DIY path. Here are the pros and cons to consider when thinking about creating your own website.
- Cost - You’ll save money ( unless your website isn’t keeping up or needs changes which may cost more down the road).
- Control - You know what you’re getting. Sometimes people who claim to be professional website designers can turn out to be amateurs.
- Time - You can start right away and work on your own schedule. Website designers can get busy and may need to finish other projects before they can get to yours.
- Feedback - You can solicit opinions as you work from people who matter such as your customers.
- Familiarity - No one knows your business as you do and that knowledge can be put to work in your website design.
- Education - You’ll learn something new. If you take the design process seriously, there’s a lot to learn.
- Accomplishment - You can take pride in your achievement (something you can’t do if someone else does it for you).
- Time - Your time could be better used elsewhere. Expect to put in several days of work before you’ll have a page that’s ready to go live.
- Quality- People know it when they see it and a unique website will stand out. If you use free templates your website is going to look similar or identical to a lot of others.
- SEO - You might understand the basics of search engine optimization but you probably don’t have the depth of knowledge that a professional does.
- Analytics - Homemade websites tend to have inaccurate site analytics which is a problem because they underlie your digital marketing strategy.
- Ads - If you go the free route, invasive ads can take over your site and degrade your customer’s experience.
- Support - If you make your own website there is no support, you’re on your own for fixes and updates, which can take up a lot of time and require effort.
- Updates - Security updates, new search engine guidelines, and design trends are all things you’ll need to stay up to date on in order to keep your website running properly.
- Backup - Most DIY platforms don’t offer backup service. If your website or server crashes, they’re gone for good.
Not sure if building your own website is a task you want to take on? Nothing to worry about. There are plenty of professional web designers and design agencies that can help you build the website you want. Just like doing it yourself, though, there are pros and cons. Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking of hiring a professional to create your site.
- Experience - Web designers are professionals, it’s their job to know how to fix glitches, improve SEO, maximize user experience, and lower bounce rates. If you don’t want to learn those things through hours of trial and error, you should probably hire a professional and get back to doing something you enjoy. Web designers have expertise and skills that come from experience while working on multiple projects allows them to see patterns and issues common to many projects. A professional will also have better tools such as high-quality software and resources to build you the best website possible.
- Design - A website says a lot about your company and potential customers will judge your business by what they see. If it’s outdated or badly designed, people will likely be turned off and move on to somebody whose website is easy to navigate and looks good. You probably only have about 10 to 15 seconds to make a good impression and a web design agency will make sure your company looks incredible by creating a beautiful, user-friendly website.
- Strategy - What’s the purpose of your website? Are you trying to drive customers to a brick and mortar store, make an online sale, book appointments, generate leads, increase brand awareness, or simply provide some information? It’s all part of a strategy that a web design agency can help define and achieve. A web design agency gives you the benefit of a team of professionals who do this every day and the final product will embody their unique perspectives and experience.
- Miscommunication - Working with a web design agency is an iterative process of communicating back and forth. In order to communicate what you want the process will require a lot of back and forth through email, telephone, and in-person or video meetings. With all that talking, it’s safe to assume that at some point there’ll be some miscommunication. Design can be hard to capture with words and an agency won’t always understand right away what you’re looking for but a good one will work to resolve the situation quickly and deliver the website you want.
- Cost - You get what you pay for and hiring a good web design agency will cost more. An agency employs skilled professionals who need to be compensated appropriately. Freelancers are an option but someone who costs less because they’re trying to build up a portfolio might not give you much for your money. An inexperienced designer might not be able to handle more complex projects and you could end up with a site that doesn’t always work the way it should. Also, if something does go wrong, an individual is more likely to disappear than an established agency.
- Time - Creating a custom website takes time. Building a website from scratch requires working through the design phase, copywriting, development, and testing before launch. The average web design project takes about 6–8 weeks.
No matter whether you go down the DIY path or you hire a professional, the end goal is the same. You want that perfect website that’s going to shine and resonate with people. Both routes have their pros and cons and neither solution is right or wrong for everyone. It all depends on your situation. Either way you go is 100% the right choice as long as you’re happy with your website when it’s done.
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