If your business needs a website, you will need to decide between paying a professional web designer or building one yourself. Both options could be viable, depending on your business and what you want your website to do. In this article, we explain the pros and cons of choosing between a DIY website vs a professional website.
DIY Website Builders
DIY website builders have become a popular alternative option in the last few years. Even if you have very limited technical knowledge you will be able to create your own website without the need to hire a web developer. Website builders are easy to use, come with a choice of customisable templates and provide an all in one solution for your domain name, website and web hosting.
For a monthly fee, you can build a website using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page builder and make it live yourself on the Internet. Some of the most popular options right now are Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress.com, GoDaddy and 1&1. We have included links to all of these if you wish to check them out further.
When to Use a DIY Website Builder
We are web designers, and of course, we believe a professional website is a great option! However, we also appreciate that there are times that a DIY website platform may be the right choice. If your website is for a personal hobby or a non-profit making group, then you have no income to invest in a website. It is also wise for a start-up business to keep a keen eye on costs, and therefore investing in a professional website may not be an initial priority. It may also be that you simply don’t want to outsource your website to a third party and want to keep complete control of web development within an easy to use platform. In any of these cases, a DIY website platform offers you the perfect solution.
The Limitations of Building a Website Yourself
Before you get signed up to a website builder platform, you need to consider the potential limitations. A website builder is designed to be simple and easy to use, however, this may also limit the functionality that you want or the level of customization that you can achieve. If you have a growing business, you may outgrow the website builder and find that you have to start again from scratch when the website can no longer scale in tune with your business. Whilst may website builders offer SEO bolts on for additional monthly fees, the reality is that they often cannot match up to the SEO expertise of a professional web developer which may leave you chasing behind your competitors. For all these reasons, you should weigh up whether a professionally built website may suit you better.
How Much Does a Professional Website Cost?
If you decide to look at a professionally designed website, the possibilities are almost endless – depending on how much you want to spend! A straight-forward, mobile-friendly brochure website built using a template on a platform such as WordPress will be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, a completely bespoke all singing all dancing website built from the ground up may set you back £5K – £10K if not more! For most small businesses the template option offers all of the options you need. At FreshOnline we build all of our websites using the WordPress CMS platform. We are able to build beautiful websites with the functionality you need. Our websites are priced between £299 and £899. Have a look at our portfolio page for examples of our work.
The Future of Your Website
An important question to ask yourself is – where do you see your website in 12-18 months time? If the plan is always to have a simple website for the lowest available cost then a DIY website will probably suffice. If however you have just started up or had plans to grow your business, you may be wiser to invest in a platform that offers you scalability. Professional websites designed on a CMS platform such as WordPress are easy to update and add to. Therefore you won’t need to build a new website when you want to add a new section, or an online shop or rebrand your business. The WordPress platform has thousands of free and paid for plugins available which allow you (or your web developer) to heavily customise your website far beyond the realms of a DIY website. If you think your website is set for big things, make sure you set it up on a platform that allows for future upgrades and upscaling.
Search Engine Optimisation
If you are serious about your website being found via search engines, you will likely need to adopt some SEO techniques. DIY websites usually offer an SEO option for an additional monthly fee. Whilst these tools have improved dramatically in recent years, they still only help with basic ranking factors. Websites built on a CMS such as WordPress – known for its SEO friendly properties, offer far more potential to rank highly. A professional website, in tandem with a skilled SEO consultant, will mean your content and technical performance is fully optimised. Website hosting also plays a big role in the speed and performance of your website which in turn affects your SEO. With a DIY website, you are usually using low quality shared hosting by default. With a professional website, you have the option to upgrade to higher quality web hosting more suited to a professional or e-commerce website. In summary, if acquiring customers via Google and other search engines is key to your business growth, then you should build your website on a platform designed for SEO.
So What Type of Website Will You Choose?
In our DIY website vs professional website guide, we have explored lots of factors worth considering. Your conclusion should be based on your current business needs, your budget and your plans for the coming months and years. You also need to decide if search engine rankings are important and whether you will be able to achieve success through a DIY website option. A professional website may cost more initially but offer better long term value as your business grows. If you are still undecided, we would welcome the opportunity for a no pressure chat to talk through your individual circumstances and the options available. Whether you decide to build a website yourself or have us build it for you, it’s good to talk and we love hearing about new website projects.