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Website Design: a DIY or a Job for the Professionals?

Anyone who is hoping to build a new website or update their existing website must first ask themselves one question, “Will I do it myself or hire a professional to do it for me?” In the past, the answer to that question was easy. Web design was a bit more complicated and less accessible. People who hoped to create a quality site would certainly hire a professional to do it for them. However, there have been many new tools such as site builders that have allowed even people with no technical experience or know-how to build a nice-looking, well-performing site. However, just because the tools exist doesn’t mean that you should jump right in and build your site yourself. There are many things to consider and also many types of projects that would benefit from the work of a professional.

What Kind of Site are you Building?

The first question that you should ask yourself before determining whether you can DIY your website is what kind of site you need. One type of site, often called a brochure site is a very simple website that simply gives a business a web presence and provides visitors with a bit of information about what the company does or what products the company offers as well as basic contact information. E-commerce sites are sites that are set-up to handle financial transactions. These sites are a bit more complex than a simple brochure site. An even more complex type of website is known as a web application. Web applications are web-based businesses that provide a service or tool to its users. Examples of web-applications are travel search engines, project management tools and the like. It is possible for most users even with little or no technical background to build basic brochure sites or personal blogs. E-commerce sites, while a bit more complex, can be built with a website builder or a content management system like WordPress. However, if you need to build a web application, you should definitely hire a professional web developer to design a custom application and make sure that it runs smoothly.

What Role Does Your Site Play in Your Business?

A slightly different question that what type of site you need is the role that the site will play in your business. If your site is just in existence to make your business credible on the internet, you can most likely get away with doing your own web design. Also, if very little of your revenue comes from online sales or customers that you connect with through your site, you can likely avoid paying a professional. However, if more than half your business comes from online, or if your business is completely online, it would be beneficial to you to pay for a professional. Generally, the higher your percentage of online business, the greater the return on investment will be if you hire a professional developer.

What’s Your Skill Level and Experience?

As we’ve said above, you certainly don’t have to be a professional designer to use readily available tools to create an attractive and functional website. However, it certainly helps to have some tech and even coding experience. Website builders like Wix and Weebly are popular because they are very easy to use. They require little more than the skills it takes to make a PowerPoint presentation. However, they are not very powerful. On the other hand, WordPress, a popular content management system, is extremely powerful, but not as beginner-friendly. It is possible to create a website in WordPress without knowing any code however, it is very helpful to know at least a little bit of backend web design. Additionally, it is helpful to know at least the basics about web-hosting. As you can see, your skill level can play a huge factor in whether you are prepared to design your own website, even a simple one.

What’s Your Budget

No matter how grandiose your plans may be for your website, or how important your site is to the success of your business, we are all bound by budgets. Website development can be expensive. Most professional web developers will charge in the neighborhood of $5,000 (or more) to build a simple brochure site. A DIY job will cost much less, around $50 a year. Of course, the budget only goes up from there depending on the type of site you are building and the complex features you would like to add. The cost can be substantially higher if you need a custom built web application built for your company. For many, the budget is the deciding factor with whether they choose to design their own site using a site-builder or content management system or whether they choose to hire a pro. However, before taking the cheapest route, you must keep in mind the amount of time it will take to achieve your site design if you do it yourself and also the quality of work that your projects require.

Putting it All Together

So, when is it safe to venture out on your own in the world of website design and when is it ultimately better to hire a professional? Anytime most of your revenue comes from your website, or your site is exceptionally complicated, it is an easy call to hire a professional to do your entire site, especially if it falls well within your budget. If you are somewhat tech-minded and need a simple website, or only expect a small percentage of your business to come from online sales, then you can probably get by with doing it yourself. If you fall somewhere in the middle, it may be best to set up a WordPress site but hire a professional developer to help you fine-tune it to your needs. Therefore, there are many things to consider when deciding if you will design your own website or hire a professional to do so.

Lastly, let me know your thoughts and tips for website design that has helped you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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