Building your own website vs hiring a web designer

If you’re a small business owner wanting to keep your costs down, there are undoubtedly clear benefits to creating your own site. However, there are some disadvantages of doing it yourself vs hiring a digital whizz kid. We’ll look at the positives and negatives of each approach below.

Advantages of creating your

own site

  • It’s usually cheaper to do it yourself through a website builder such as Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace or GoDaddy. There are oodles of providers competing for your attention, with basic packages from only a few pounds per month.
  • These platforms generally have templates to choose from and use a drag and drop format, so no or little coding knowledge is needed. This means they’re a good option for everyone, regardless of technical know-how.
  • If you’re in a hurry, you can create a simple site in an hour or two, saving you from staring frustratingly at a computer screen.

At first glance, going down the DIY route ticks all the right boxes. But, as with a lot of things in life, there are drawbacks that should also be considered.

Disadvantages of creating your own site

  • Even though a basic build can often be produced pretty quickly, it will only have limited functionality, and you may be unable to choose where a particular colour or font is applied. Consequently, your branding might not appear as you would like.
  • Using the standard templates on a website builder doesn’t allow much scope for customisation, where you run the risk of your site looking like someone else’s.
  • It may seem like you are getting a really cheap deal, but there are often hidden costs that are not always clear from the outset. For example, if you want certain features such as a booking system or an online shop, you will need to pay extra. Also, if you opt for the basic package, you may well find that your website comes full of ads. Pages clogged with marketing material for other companies can be really off-putting for visitors, especially as it makes it more challenging for them to zone-in on your business’ services or products and reduces your website’s speed. Unwelcome interruptions, along with slower page loading times, could easily cause people to make a hasty exit.
  • If something goes wrong with your site and your pages become inaccessible, you could find yourself in a long queue waiting to speak to a customer service representative.

So, let’s now consider the advantages of hiring a web designer

  • As a professional with technical knowledge and coding expertise, a web designer can build a website to your exact specifications, creating something truly bespoke. The benefit is a unique advertising platform for your business to help you stand out from your competitors. Furthermore, any web designer worth his or her salt will have at least a reasonable grasp of search engine optimisation to help your content rank highly on Google and Bing.

  • If you’re looking for a more complicated site with a booking system or an online shop, hiring a web designer can take the stress out of grappling with all the steps involved.

  • Web designers build ad-free sites as standard and carry out tests to check that a site works well on a variety of devices and that it loads at a decent speed to keep even the most impatient of visitors happy. Furthermore, smaller web design companies tend to offer packages that can be tweaked to suit a range of budgets.

  • Along with taking care of the hosting, a web designer will often oversee the maintenance of your site. This generally involves carrying out security updates, fixing any glitches, editing content (if requested) and performing regular backups, to keep your site safe and running smoothly. Importantly, if something were to go wrong, you have a professional on hand to resolve the issue.

  • If the written word isn’t your thing, some web design companies offer a copywriting service, producing well-crafted text for your website to help your business get noticed by the right audience.

  • Finally, if you’re short on time or aren’t computer-minded, adding another task to your to-do list can be overwhelming. It also takes you away from the day-to-day delivery of your business. Delegating tasks to a specialist gives you peace of mind and extra hours to do what you do best.

But what about the disadvantages?

  • It’s often more expensive to go with a web designer. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of small agencies that charge a competitive rate as they tend to have fewer overheads.

  • Web designers may be busy with other clients so might not be in a position to begin straight away, plus they need to understand what your requirements are first. However, you can start building your own basic site immediately after signing up with a website builder.

Crunch time

Now we’ve explored both avenues, hopefully you feel able to make a more informed decision based on your priorities and what would ultimately work best for your business.

Whichever route you take, having your own website is a great way to promote your company, connect with more customers and generate increased sales.