Guest post by Tom Buckland
Every business needs a good website. A persuasive, professional website drives new traffic to your business through SEO, promotes your brand and ultimately increases your customer base and builds profits.
Perhaps you have a brand new business which doesn’t have a site. Or maybe your business has been around for a while, but your out-dated or ineffective website simply doesn’t cut it. Either way, you need a new website and this should be one of your top priorities. But do you need to hire an expensive web designer or can you do this yourself?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of building your own website versus hiring a web designer to do it for you.
Advantages of Building Your Own Website
It’s significantly cheaper
The price of a website greatly depends on the kind of site you want, but this cost can be very significant when hiring a web designer, particularly for new businesses. Professional web designers are in high demand and charge steeply for their services. You may be a new business looking to set up your site for the first time, or an established one who wants to overhaul and update their site because the current one is out-dated and not doing you any favors.
In either case, it is likely that controlling costs and expenditure is critically important to you. What business does not wish to reduce their spending and increase their profit margin? There are many necessary expenses which you cannot avoid, but the cost of building a website is one that you may be able to eliminate by doing this yourself, allowing you to put that vital cash into other parts of your business.
The process is more or less fool-proof these days
There was once a time where building a website meant digging into code and if you weren’t fluent in html you could forget about even attempting to do this. However, times have changed. There are now a number of website builders that have been specifically designed to allow the layperson to easily put together their own site. And for all the beginners, review sites like Website Advisor analyze mostly all the website builders of the market. Isn’t it great?
Many of these, such as Wix and Squarespace have templates which mean essentially all you need to do is drag and drop images and input some text, and you have a professional-looking site. WordPress, the world’s most popular platform for bloggers, can be a bit more complex unless you use a plugin to provide templates. There are even creative management platforms (CMPs) to help you build ads.
You have complete creative control
One of the key advantages of building your own website rather than hiring a web designer is that you will have complete creative control over how your site looks and feels. No matter how specific the instructors you give to your designer and how clearly you communicate them, it is pretty common for the result to turn out not exactly how you would like. Many businesses have had the experience of going back to their web designer (if that is even an option under the agreement) multiple times for revisions, and the end results still not exactly having they had in mind. By building your own site you can make sure it matches your vision.
You can make changes whenever you want
A common headache for businesses when it comes to websites is being able to update them, for example, if specific information changes such as contact numbers or personnel, or to post new events and updates on the site. Companies often to discover that their snazzy site is so complicated to update that it is impossible to do this themselves, meaning they are stuck with waiting for their designer to do this and paying a fee each time. If you create your own site this means you can make changes, whether big or small, whenever you want.
Disadvantages of Building Your Own Website
It can be a steep learning curve
Even though there are easy to use platforms and templates available these days, building your own website does require some level of skill. Depending on your base technical knowledge, you may need to learn and pick up new skills, which can be challenging and even frustrating when missing a small detail causes a major error on your site. As most people know, technical work is very specific and building a site is like speaking a foreign language, meaning that you need to invest time to learn how to speak it correctly and get the results you want. In today’s modern world, it is also important to consider cybersecurity so this is something you’ll need to be on top of as well.
However, learning new skills is usually a good thing, and you are unlikely to regret having taken the time to develop the ability to build a website. This skill will not only mean you will be able to update and maintain your own site, but it may very well come in handy in future endeavors.
You need to invest time and effort
As anyone has ever done anything on a computer will tell you, technical work always takes five times as long as you think it will. Dragging and dropping some info into a website builder may sound pretty simple, and in most cases it is. However, this process still takes time and you need to be able to set aside this time in the context of all your other responsibilities as an owner or manager. If you simply do not have enough hours in the day, you may find it easier to just outsource this task.
You will find that both hiring a web designer and building your own website has its pros and cons. However, whatever route you choose, ultimately having an up-to-date website which showcases your business, attracts more visitors and converts them into customers will have enormous value for your business.
Tom Buckland is an SEO consultant and the owner of Ghost Marketing, the #1 link building agency in the United Kingdom. He also owns the SEO blog, SEO Oasis and is an entrepreneur at heart. Connect with him on Twitter.