Many business owners when setting out to build a new website ask “should I build my own website?”
As a business owner, I faced this issue, and decided that yes, I should create my own business website.
But, before I decided to build my own site, I committed to researching and learning various website building software and platforms. I also committed to learning and doing website promotion.
The answer to should I build my own website depends on the following:
1. Your budget
A DIY website will cost anywhere from $0 (free option) to $300 plus monthly hosting costs which vary tremendously depending on how much server capacity you need.
Please, do not forget that you’ll need to budget for website maintenance and website promotion. Adding content, ensuring your site remains up-to-date, and tracking results are very important. Don’t spend every dime you have on a website. If you have very limited resources, perhaps building your own website is your best option.
2. Your time availability and commitment
If you’ve never built a website, you’ll need to spend time researching available platforms and then learning how to use your chosen platforms. You may switch mid-way through (as I did). Expect to invest a week to several months, depending on your budgeted time for this activity to figure out how to do it right.
Don’t forget to research other websites in your industry to see examples of what to do and not to do.
Also, if you build your own website, depending on the platform you use, there’s a learning curve to implementing and integrating additional features such as social media integration, analytics, custom layouts, etc.
3. Your willingness to take the time to do it right
How perfect do you want your website? You can spend endless hours tweaking a website design, or go with a template as-is. Also, if you’re intent on learning how to code a website, expect to spend much more time on your website.
I started with templates, and in the process learned how to code sites. This way I managed to get my business site up quickly and then improved it over time.
4. Your commitment to maintaining and managing your website
Once you launch your website, there’s also time required to maintain your site with respect to server matters, adding content, and tracking results.
5. Whether you want to have full control of your website
If you want to have full control over your site rather than delegate tasks, then building your own website is the way to go. This was one of the primary reasons I decided to build my own websites. I wanted full control and the ability to add content immediately rather than rely on and pay a webmaster.
6. How much “wow-factor” do you want your website to have?
If you’ve never built a website or you want a website with what I call high “wow-factor” then look for a talented website designer to create a website that is spectacular. Some website designers create unbelievably impressive websites. However, expect to pay for it and remember NOT to compromise usability for design.
7. Your willingness to use a template
It’s much, much easier to build a website with a template. I use templates for all of my sites. In fact, many web designers use templates for their clients and customize the templates. Why reinvent the wheel. Templates are extremely cost-effective and many templates are well designed already.
Other considerations addressing should I build my own website include:
If you have complex needs for your website, then you may have no choice but to hire a website designer or developer. Assess your needs before you decide whether to build your own website or hire it out.
Importance of your website
A business’ website is extremely important. It can be a tremendous source for new business. However, if you don’t have the time to do it right, and you’re of the view your website is important, then it’s probably best you hire out your website design.
What are your options for building a website?
There 3 options for building a website:
- Do it yourself
- Hire a web designer to create a customized website
- Hire a web designer who uses templates to save on cost.
1. The DIY website solution
Many business owners build their own websites, including me. These days it’s not hard to do at all with the many easy-to-use and inexpensive web design tools and platforms available.
Popular DIY platforms include:
- WordPress (check out some of my favorite WordPress themes and an extensive list of WordPress theme developers).
- Joomla (check out Joomla template developers here)
- Online website builders (check out several website builders).
Not sure which platform to use? Read my template comparison chart comparing many website platforms.
Pros of building your own website:
- It costs less – much less
- You learn a very handy business skill
- Once you know how to build and manage a website, maintenance costs are low
Cons of building your own website:
- You need to take the time to learn how to do it. As easy as it is these days, it does take time to learn.
- Unless you learn how to code proficiently, you’ll rely on templates. I think using templates is brilliant (I use templates for my offline business), but some people don’t like templates. It’s a personal choice.
- You’ll need to take time managing your website.
- You don’t have anyone to bounce your ideas off of as a sounding board.
- You may not get the exact design you want because of your limited design skill-set.
2. Hire a web designer for a custom design
- A custom design.
- Have someone who can take care of your website maintenance.
- Save yourself time to focus on building up and serving your business.
- You can bounce ideas off of your web designer about your website. It’s always good to get an opinion other than yours.
- If you have complex website needs, then hiring a designer or developer is your best solution.
- It’s the most expensive option for getting a website built for your business.
- You may hire someone who doesn’t deliver. It’s not easy finding the right website designer.
- Unless you learn how to manage the designed site, you’re reliant upon the designer for maintenance and/or adding content (you should add content regularly). This results in an ongoing expense.
3. Hire a web designer who uses templates to save on cost
This is a hybrid approach of doing it yourself and hiring a web designer in a sense. You’re essentially hiring a web designer to install and set up a template for your website. You can request customization as most templates can be customized. This can be a very cost-effective solution.
You can choose your template and then hire a designer or simply hire a designer who uses particular templates.
With the huge number of stylish website templates available for all types of web platforms, there are website designers who offer affordable websites using templates. This is NOT cheating in my view. It’s a viable option for businesses to get an affordable website. Just be sure you understand whether your getting a custom design or template design.
Pros of hiring a web designer who uses templates:
- Templates result in a lower cost than a custom design.
- It’s not hard to do some customization to templates which results in customization for less.
- You save yourself time learning how to build a website.
- Many templates make it easy to add content. You could ask your chosen web designer to show you how to add content so you have some ongoing control and save money. Plus, you get your content published fast rather than waiting on someone else to get it published.
- You have an expert to bounce ideas off of for your website.
- There are thousands of templates to choose from. It’s very likely you can find a template that is an excellent starting design for your website. I tend to use templates as-is. But you might want to tweak or modify a template. Be sure to inquire about the additional cost for template customization.
Cons of hiring a web designer who uses templates:
- You don’t get a custom design unless you pay the designer to customize the template.
- It costs more than doing it yourself.
Once your website is published, that’s not the end of the matter.
Websites have maintenance and management tasks.
3 main website maintenance activities are as follows:
- Dealing with hosting and servers – the technical maintenance.
- Adding content regularly.
- Tracking results (a.k.a. analytics) of your site.
If you have your web designer do all of these activities, your ongoing costs could be high – especially if you pay for plenty of high-quality content. That said, quality content is critical for business websites and so the expense could well be worth it. I wouldn’t necessarily hire your web designer to generate content such as articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. If you wish to hire out this work, look for people who specifically generate the type of content you wish to publish.
Regardless how you answer the question should I build my own website or not, keep in mind that you will be faced with some design decisions. After all it’s your website. If you do it yourself, you’ll make all the decisions. If you hire a web designer, much of the initial design ideas will be taken care of. You simply approve designs and features.