Should You Build a Website Yourself? Or Hire a Professional?
When it comes to website design and development, there are two main options: do it yourself (DIY) or hire a professional.
Both have their own set of pros and cons, depending on your budget, complexities involved, and time constraints.
So, should you build a website yourself? Or hire a professional? Let's discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both methods so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your type of business.
Pros of Building a Website Yourself (aka DIY)
1. You save money...at least for the short term.
Building a website yourself can help you save hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars.
With free website builders that require no coding, developing a website by yourself is easier than ever now.
Popular website builders like Wix and Squarespace start from as low as $15/month, making them an ideal choice if you are just starting and you're on a tight budget.
2. You have 100% control.
If you like to be involved in the process of web design as well as taking it at your own pace, building it yourself can give you enjoyment and less stress, which is great!
By working at your own pace, you have the power to decide what's a priority. You get to make the choices immediately with no task turnarounds.
3. You know it all.
As the saying goes, business owners know their business more than anyone.
You know your target audience, how you attract them, what they want/don't want, and what will compel them to take action.
When you make a website yourself, you eliminate the process of explaining your business to freelancers and agencies. This can take days and possibly weeks if you are working with bigger agencies.
The Cons of Building a Website Yourself
1. It may cost you more...in the long run.
While you may be able to save money in the short term by building it yourself, the long-term costs of having an unprofessional website could be much higher.
Your website is often the first impression potential customers have of your business. A study has shown that more than 75% of your online presence's credibility comes from the quality of your website's design (Stanford).
A website with the wrong message, poor design, or difficult navigation will not only drive potential customers away but also give your business a bad reputation. And once they click the backward button, you lose them to your competitors.
Hiring them to design a professional website may cost more upfront, but it will save you money in the long run by ensuring that you have a professional website that attracts the "right" prospects and converts them into customers.
2. It's time-consuming.
Building a website, no matter what builder you use, can be time-consuming.
This is because when you are first starting, there's a steep learning curve to get used to the interface of the builder. They often appear to be easy to use but when it comes to resizing images, responsiveness to mobile devices, and changing sections, they can become a painstaking process.
And if you want to add new features or functionality down the road, that can also take additional time...time that you may not have if you're running a business by yourself. And you know as a business owner that time = money.
3. Limitations on customization and scalability.
Website builders usually have limitations in terms of design customization and scalability. They come with "customizable themes" that thousands of other businesses like yours are using to quickly build their websites.
This can be a problem if you want your website to stand out from the competition or if you have specific design and technical requirements that need to be met.
And website builders do not fully integrate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or lead generation into the process. They don't tell you how to nurture your website to stay on top of Google's radar or create irresistible offers to capture their email addresses. These elements are critical to scaling your website.
Pros of Hiring a Professional
1. They are...pros.
When you hire a website design company or a freelancer, they bring their years of experience and expertise to the table. And the more they specialize in a particular niche, the better job they will do.
They know what works, what doesn't, the best practices, and what they need from you. They know how to take your vision and turn them into a website that looks amazing, is easy to navigate, and compels visitors to take action that you want them to take.
Handpicking professionals who specialize in specific CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Webflow, and Shopify is also an option. They can set up your site and ensure everything functions properly so that you can take over to add text, images, and contents as you please.
And if something goes wrong, they'll be there to help you.
2. They have the resources required.
A professional has already done the research and paid for all of the software required to create an outstanding website:
- They have the software set up and ready to go. Some of this software can easily cost $200+ per month.
- They have access to the talent required to develop the graphics, illustrations, and material required to make your website look professional.
- They have access to a wide range of experts with diverse skill sets to ensure that EVERYTHING on your site is optimized (Copywriting, content, SEO, development, analytics, and so on).
Should any problems arise, they will be able to deal with problems more quickly and complete your job more swiftly than you could on your own.
3. Get it right the first time.
As long as you pick the right professional to do the job, you can be confident in the final product and reap the benefits.
No one wants their website to look like it was built by themselves. But in reality, it's pretty obvious for potential customers to spot the difference.
By choosing the right team, you won't have to worry about the website not looking right, having to redo it yourself, or paying someone else to fix it. Ultimately saving you from wasted time, money, and lots of headaches in the long run.
See Also: 10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes to Avoid
Cons of Hiring a Professional
1. It won't be cheap.
Hiring a professional will be costly. What you have to evaluate is if the money you invest is worth the value of a beautiful, high-performance website that's customer-focused. Most importantly, if this website will generate profit for you in the long run.
Some professionals and agencies charge more than others, but in general, someone charging $500 for a completely constructed website is unlikely to provide you with the same quality, functionality, and ROI as an agency charging $5,000.
A great way to assess this is to seek out 3~5 bids to compare the prices among the different firms. Once you set the benchmark, make sure not to pick the cheapest one as most things in life, you get what you pay for.
2. Great things take time.
A true professional wishes to design a professional website for your company. And it's not going to happen overnight.
Before the final product, a project like this will require weeks of:
- Researching your target audience (the most important step)
- Crafting messages and content that resonates with them
- Creating UI (user interface), UX (user experience), designing, and developing
- Multiple revisions and input from you
As a result, don't anticipate your website to be completed in less than a month.
Another thing to keep in mind is that agencies have other clients as well. This causes them to strike a balance to meet the needs of every client. As an example, a request that takes 2 hours to complete could be completed over 2 days.
3. You'll have to consider your options carefully.
One significant disadvantage of hiring a professional is that many advantages could be disadvantages. Not everyone who claims to be a web designer actually knows what they're doing or has the necessary abilities and experience.
You should also be aware that some agencies will outsource the work to someone else. If this is the case, you need to be comfortable with that and have a clear understanding of who will do what.
Before you hire anyone, do your research, ask for references, and go over their portfolio. Have an in-depth discussion with them to ensure that their vision aligns with yours and that you will both form a long-lasting relationship.
Another good idea is to have a contract and an SOW (statement of work) signed before starting a project to make sure both parties have an aligned vision of the website's goals. This will also prevent the project from getting off track and delaying the deadline.
So, should you build a website yourself?
The answer is... it depends.
If you're on a tight budget, have the time, and are comfortable with learning new things, building the website yourself might be a better option (plus all the fun that comes with it).
But if you value time and getting it right the first time, hiring a professional will always be the best option. They will likely do a better job than you would anyhow, and you can rest assured that everything is taken care of – from design to hosting to marketing.
Makko Digital is a conversion-focused web design company from Yeosu, South Korea. Contact us today for a free consultation or a website analysis. Find us on Clutch!