Buy a Website Design or Do It Your Self Development - What's It To Be?

Business owners up and down the country - especially start-up businesses ask this question every day. Should I pay a web designer to create a website for me, or should I sit down and learn it all myself?

The honest answer is - it depends. If you are a new business and can afford it - it is probably better to let someone else do your web development - pay for the expertise and knowledge of what works and why. It's also important to understand what doesn't and why. Why? Because you need to be spending your time getting the customers you need to support your business. Most people don't put a value on their own time in a new business. Fact is it's that time which is so precious and a resource that will run out - if you don't attract buyers to your door. If you simply don't have the money, don't dream that a web designer is going to do you a favour and create the site of your dreams for peanuts. It's just not going to happen. Or rather if it does it would likely happen for one of these reasons:

1) They're doing it as a sideline

2) They're new too and are learning on the job

3) They're your friend and want to support you

4) They're leaning on the job

Can I Develop A Successful DIY Website In Moonfruit, GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly Etc?

Yes, you sure can. If you can dedicate the time, learning and energy into doing so - you could end up with something really quite presentable. Let's face it WIX host of 135 million websites - so they must be doing something right - and kudos to them. You can end up with some excellent results - IF you can source decent images, do a little design work yourself or have access to stock images and learn the platform. It is also important to note that there are some quite large menu limitations on some platforms like Wix that make it more difficult to develop once you've exceeded around 30 pages. So if you're looking to keep growing your website - keep that in mind.

If I'm Not Happy Can't I Just Move The DIY Website I Made Elsewhere

A little-known fact about these do it yourself site offers is that you have to pay every month - forever. Not just hosting, but to have the software updates that the company makes on that platform. Unlike a site that is developed in something like Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal etc, where, if you wanted, you could back up that website and take it elsewhere - you are stuck with who you've chosen - paying what you're paying - also the more functionality you want from these providers - the more they charge. Things like: e-stores, contact forms etc can be extra. Best to check with the platform your choose. This could be just fine - for some time and if you really have a drive or passion to understand how a website goes together - jump right in and have a go. If nothing else, you will be learning another skill. It is important to note however that web design is probably not why you've set your business up - it's a bit like accountancy, you probably have the capability to do it - but just don't have the time. Design, web design and marketing plans all fall into a similar category. They're important to the business, but should you learn the skills or buy them in? That's why many people hire an accountant to look after their interests.

WIX is Free - So That's Good Right?

Free things are great, aren't they? There is, however, no such thing as a free lunch. Free lunches come with conditions. For example, the free offer that Wix gives is that you can build a website - with a reasonable amount of options and facilities and choose the template you'd like to use. The only issue is that you can't use a domain of your choice - you have to use a sub-domain of Wix; which, let's face it, doesn't look very professional. Think about what level of service you will need from your provider and how much it may cost you moving forwards.

How Flexible Are Do It Yourself Web Sites?

Those sites are quite flexible - and they offer quite a few options. Quite a few are paid for extra, but they are offered nonetheless. You normally have to choose a template quite early on in the design process and so making changes to that decision afterwards can be challenging (although not impossible). Because you are the judge and jury - you may change your mind several times as to what looks good and what doesn't. Keep in mind that the further through you go - normally the more time consuming it is to change a design.

Do I Need Anything Else?

You'll need a domain name like flok.marketing or mycompany.com. Make sure that you can use the domain with your chosen DIY website partner and if so, how much it will cost to do so. Some DIY providers offer an SSL certificate to prove that the site is who it claims to be - whcih is important for end-users - make sure your site is SSL compliant. It can also have a (small) positive impact on search engine rankings.

What About Search Engine Optimisation For A DIY Site Like WIX?

Sites like Weebly and WIX have made good progress in getting their sites well optimised on Google. In fact, WIX has gone as far as to seek endorsements from Google directly to prove how well their sites get optimised. SEO is not often, however, about how well or badly a site is built (although of course, it can be a factor). It is more about how the site is laid out and how well a client can navigate it.

What If I Want A Website That Is A Bit Different?

The issue with a DIY framework is that it can be quite constraining. Not just on your time, but also on future development. Because the code is not open source - i.e you can't have access to it, there are some parts of that site you will never be able to see or change. Therefore, if you need something to show in a particular place and it doesn't appear to offer that facility - you are probably stuck for a while. Before committing to a particular platform, check out some sites already developed in the system to ensure that you stand a chance of being able to get what you are seeking. Always check more than one option to see if one can do what you want better than the other. It sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised as to how many people jump right in without considering the alternatives.

What Would I Get If I Engage With A Web Designer?

You're going to get web design experience - probably in bucket loads. Depending on the company you contact you may get contact from someone who has a marketing background who can advise you on the type of content you need to concentrate on. Also, what not to worry about. Depending on your industry there are some things that simply need to be included. The other thing is the layout. you'd be surprised how many own-developed websites miss out simple things like the phone number or email address. That's like making a cake and then putting it straight outside for the birds to eat. Although - if you've tried my cooking - you may say that is the place for it. The other thing you get when you pay for a website is straight down the line advice on what is and isn't possible and also what is possible and how much it would cost. The reality is that most things can be done - but they come at a price. It is for you to decide how important they are and whether it is worth spending that money so early on to achieve it. That is something only you can decide after listening to what the benefits would be.

Who Designs My Website To Look How I Want It To

One of the most important things you get with a designer is - the design. Sounds crazy to state it - but many people don't understand. Unlike off the shelf solutions and templates, many designers like to present something that is created especially for you - from their understanding of your business. It should make your business stand out a mile from the competition. people should be able to take one look at your website and know whose it is. A designer can advise on colour palettes and typefaces to ensure that your message is clear, engaging and makes sense in the way people visit sites. They should also make sure that your site looks different. After talking with you, they should have an understanding as to how "hands-on" you would want to be with the website, therefore adding in or adjusting the levels of design on a page. Normally the more deisgn-y a page is the harder it is to change from a layman's perspective.

What is A CMS or Content Management System?

You've probably heard of people talking about Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal? These are all CMS's or content management systems. Which one is best? It depends on you, what you're seeking to achieve and also to some degree your budget, as some take longer to develop than others. The CMS is what allows you and your team to access the text and images inside your website to add and change the content. A website developer will design, create and place the template (the look and feel) into a CMS and then add the content. Systems like WordPress are quite user-friendly and have many different plug-ins (or widgets) that help you to get more functionality. Some are free some you pay for.


what next?

If you have a brand that needs a refresh, or would simply like to start something new then, please get in touch.

brought to you by flok

a team of designers and developers who deliver brands with purpose and websites in style.