As a small business owner, and even consumer, we are all aware that in the digital era, an online presence is no longer optional, but a necessity for any business. Your website serves as your digital storefront, a virtual sales representative, and your most potent marketing tool. When deciding to get a business website, the question that comes up is whether to DIY (Do it Yourself) websites, or hire a professional. I have discussed this topic before. So, in this post I will look at the topic briefly, and also focusing more on website builders.
When I first learned about web design, there was not really any sort of robust online courses or even YouTube where you could learn about web design. A lot of those who are now pioneers in that field, had to learn by doing, experimenting and then start to make guidelines and protocols about what would be web design. This is where HTML and the other foundational languages of the web came about. But enough about all that technical stuff, why do I even bother mentioning that? Because fast forward to today and there are a PLETHORA of places you can learn about web design. Despite that, there is still a HUGE component of web design that is all about experimentation and learning as you go.
Some business owners really like that, and others not so much. What is great about today is that if you WANT to learn how to build a website there are some amazing tools out there that allow you to do that. On the other hand, those tools despite their maturity still take a little time to learn and there are other factors in web design that these builders may not address. So let’s briefly check them out
Understanding DIY Websites
So what exactly do I mean by DiY website? A DIY website is one that you, yourself, create using a platform such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly to name a few. These platforms offer a plethora of user-friendly pre-designed templates that you can customize for your business. They also giving you pretty good control over your site’s design and content. Some website builders target those who want to attempt to build their website with little or no experience (such as the ones I mentioned above) and others are more for those who have some experience with website design (Webflow, Framer, Editor X). For our purpose we will focus on the former rather than the latter.
Pros & Cons of DIY Websites
DIY websites offer significant benefits, including cost-effectiveness and quick launch times. They are typically less expensive than hiring a professional web designer and can be set up quickly without waiting for a web designer to complete the project. On top of this, they offer scalability, meaning you can easily make updates and changes.
Both types of builders are great choices for building a website but as mentioned, they are good choices for those looking to get set up and running rather quickly. While not getting into the nitty gritty details, most of these sites offer monthly or yearly plans, allow you to purchase your domain with them and also use templates for free or buy premium versions. DiY can be a great idea if you have some time to dedicate to building a website and maybe need to start small.
However, there are also downsides to DIY websites. The risk of amateur design and coding mistakes is high, which can result in a subpar website experience for users. In fact, even as a designer it is easy to go look for inspiration for a site, and find something that LOOKS cool, but in reality is not user-friendly or effective. Also, while customizable, templates can sometimes limit design options, especially if you do not know how to code or edit certain things on the site. In turn, this may make your website look dull or at worst ineffective. A less-than-professional looking website might end up costing your business more in the long run as people usually make a judgement about your business within the first 3 seconds of seeing your site.
Benefits of Hiring a Web Designer
Now obviously you are about to read this section and roll your eyes as you are reading this blog on a Web Design business website, written by a Web Designer. So your inclination is to think I am going to immediately try to sell you on hiring a web designer for your business. Namely Me. I promise you I will not immediately start out like that.
I will wait until the end😉
So when looking for a web designer to build out your site the first thing you care about is where they went to school and how good their designs are right?
No of course not. You want to know how much they cost and why they are so much more than just doing it yourself.
While I can’t necessarily comment on price for others something that a professional web designer brings to the table is a wealth of expertise. This expertise can include design, coding, and SEO optimization skills, among others. Some have even trained and understand UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) better. This helps you the business in that tjey can craft a custom design tailored specifically to your business needs. EVEN if they use a template! A web designer can build you a great-looking website that can help attract new customers, improve your brand recognition. Moreover, because they probably have a deeper understanding of how websites work and the issues that one may face, they can ensure your website functions correctly as well as also optimize it for search engines.
The Initial Investment
Now, let’s circle back around. So what is a downside to using a web designer? You guessed it: The cost.
It can be expensive, Im mean come on, you are having to put a lot of money up front typically. However, a caveat when you compare the long-term cost of a DiY website vs hiring a web designer, is sometimes it is about the same cost. However, when you build a website yourself this can be more expensive in the long run if the site gets hacked or is ineffective.
As a business owner you are not paying for a website. You are investing in the growth of your business as people want to see and will be attracted to your business largely through your website. The investment for a website is the expertise and the potential value it brings to your business. Plus, a professional can sometimes complete the project faster than someone inexperienced in web design. On top of that, as a small business owner you will have to take time out of focusing on your business to learn how to create a website and make it effective.
So, what is the best choice for you? While there is no universal answer to whether a DIY website or a professional web designer is the right choice, it comes down to what works best for you and your business. The decision can depend on factors such as your budget, skill level, time constraints, willingness to learn a new skill, and overall business goals. In fact, both choices have their unique advantages.
For instance, if you enjoy learning new skills, and have the time to dedicate to website building, as well as experimentation, then DIY website builders might be a fantastic choice for you and your business. And while they may be more cost-effective, it may require more effort and time, which could be better spent focusing on your business.
On the other hand, while typically a higher initial investment cost, a professional web designer provides the expertise your business may need to deliver a custom-tailored website for your business. It’s an investment, but one that pays off through through experience that helps you effectively communicates your brand’s message and value.
To sum it up, the choice between DIY and professional web design depends on your specific needs, resources, and business objectives. Regardless of the path you choose, remember that your website is an essential tool for your business success and deserves your attention and investment.
If you’re leaning more towards hiring a professional, Schedule a Call with me today! We can discuss your business goals, potential website design, and how I can help you create an effective website for your business.
Interested in exploring the DIY route further, I recommend checking out my guide to DiY websites blog.
Remember make sure your website tells your potential client what you do and how you help them do that. If you need more help or unsure if your website is effective click the banner below to see the 5 Essentials you need on your site!