Hire A Website Designer VS DIY Website

Should you hire a website designer or build a website yourself? Blog post by Angela Meredith of Less stress Design.

Should you build your own website or hire a designer?

This is the question if you are just starting a business or expanding the business you already have from a Facebook page or Etsy shop to a full fledged website with a custom domain. If you throw this question out there to your colleagues, family or friends, you’ll probably end up more confused. So I’m here to help you sort it out.

Two of the biggest factors you will always need to consider in business involve time and money.  What is your budget, and how much time do you have to spend on it? Let’s explore the DIY path first.

Building a website yourself will cost you considerably less money--but make no mistake about this—it will cost you considerably more time. Even with drag and drop website builders with built in templates, there is more to building a website than plugging in your own images and changing the text.

However, website building platforms, like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have made building your own website possible without having to know any code. This makes it a lot less scary.

Squarepsace is the platform I recommend because their modern templates have beautiful esthetics and lots of functionality, and the learning curve is not too steep.

There is a learning curve though. Building a website can take time if this is your first rodeo. If you have a slim budget and plenty of free time to research “how to’s” on Pinterest, Youtube and Google, reading articles, watching videos and making notes, then this may be a good path for you.

You should know before you choose your template how you want your website to perform or you could end up stuck with a website that doesn’t do what you want it to, or that won’t grow with you as your business grows.

Build your website now for what you will need to do later, making sure you can add features without starting completely over. You will be surprised how much your new business morphs in the early years.

Researching what each template can and cannot do is super important. Will you need a sidebar? Then compare the templates that offer that option. Do you desire full width banners? More than one navigation menu on a page? Or like stacked index pages? Not all templates come equipped the same. So compare them and choose wisely right out of the gate.

Here is a link to the Squarespace Template Comparison Chart.

No doubt you’ll want your website to include images. If you build your own website, you’ll need to know the right format and sizing for images for your platform so that the images look sharp and crop correctly across all the devices that users will view your website on.

If images are too large then the website will load slowly and visitors will bounce off and go somewhere else. If the image pixels are too low, your images will look fuzzy and unappealing. Here’s a link to Formatting Images For Squarespace.

And mobile responsiveness is key! For you want all your text and images to resize automatically for all devices. You’ll want your website to be as easily readable on a visitor’s iphone as on their desktop, for more people will be looking on their mobile device than sitting at a desk.

Squarespace does this automatically, but you’ll want to double check and eliminate hyphens or spacing issues that may appear when viewed on different devices.

Consider SEO, search engine optimization, while building your own website. You want to ensure the best possible scenario for getting found online when people are searching for what you have to offer. Squarespace has lots of areas to add SEO, so check them out HERE.

Remember to connect all your social media icons, email and other links so there are no dead ends. It looks sloppy and unprofessional if they go nowhere or your links produce a sterile 404 error page, taking your visitor offsite.

By now you are either psyched for a project or a little intimidated about building your own website. So let’s talk money. How much will it cost to have a pro build a website for you? That depends on the size and functions of your website and the experience and demand for the pro. It’s a little like asking, “what does a house cost?”

There are agencies out there that advertise low cost but your website may end up looking very cookie cutter and not at all what you had in mind. There are also developers who can custom build your site from the ground up, creating whatever your mind can conceive—but it will cost ya’. This is where your budget needs to be considered, and how quickly you want your site to be completed.

The benefits of hiring a good website designer to build a website for you

  • it saves you time so you can concentrate on your business

  • they know what they’re doing and can do it faster

  • they know what looks attractive and how to accomplish it

  • they take care of the seo

  • they make sure your website functions correctly

  • your website has a cohesive design

  • they may help you with copy (though a copywriter is different from a designer!)

I know myself, and other designers too, who make great personalized and customized personal service our trademark. I always strive to make the website design process smooth and fun for my clients so that it’s a good experience they remember fondly, and that they love their website.

Just having the peace of mind that you have with a designer is often worth the cost. I know, if you’re running a business, you have a lot on your plate to do already!

You will live with your online presence, your website, for a long time. It will be an investment, of either money or time. So whether you choose to hire someone or DIY, I hope you achieve the website of your entrepreneurial dreams.

As always, thanks for reading! - Angela Meredith of Less Stress Design

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