The prospect of building a new website - be if for a brand new business or the redesign of an existing site - is exciting.
Unfortunately, it’s also littered with opportunities to make a hash of things - particularly if you choose the wrong approach.
There are, broadly speaking, two ways you can design, build and launch a business website. And, yes, you’re reading this advice on the blog of a website design agency, but you won’t find an ounce of bias here.
This is for one simple reason: we understand budget. If you don’t have the budget for a custom-design website, you’ll probably have no choice but to opt for a DIY approach.
But let’s consider the merits (and downsides) of both approaches, before you make a decision.
There are plenty of options when it comes to DIY web design. Services like Wix and Vista offer a no-frills, easy-to-use approach to website building that pretty much anyone with a laptop and connection to the internet can make use of.
Similarly, Wordpress is available for anyone who is a little more adventurous and doesn’t mind delving into the intricacies of hosting, domain registrations and plugins (although, you might need to set aside a fair bit of time to deal with the latter - just a heads up!).
The benefits of DIY website design don’t extend much further than budget, if we’re to be brutally honest. Although, some will like the idea that the success of the project is entirely down to themselves, rather than having to rely on external assistance and potential gaps in communication.
The downsides? Web builders like Wix rely on templates to make the process of building your own website super simple. Unfortunately, that means a Wix website really does look like a Wix website; you’ll struggle to come across as unique when there are so many other websites out there using the same template.
Putting your eggs in the basket of a web builder service is also a little risky. Most will provide hosting and domain registration as part of the deal, and while that might feel like a time saver, it could prove rather problematic if they close their doors in the future and your website disappears.
So, what if you have a little more budget to hand?
We live in a complex digital economy. Sticking your head above the parapet by developing a unique, engaging web presence is becoming increasingly vital if you’re to remain relevant within you industry.
A specialist design agency won’t use templates to build your website. If they do, you’ve picked the wrong one. Instead, they’ll start from the ground up by getting under the skin of your business and understanding which key performance indicators should drive the website design process.
This close-hand, collaborative approach may cost more than a DIY build process, but it’s worth its weight in gold. Web design is one of the few elements of modern commerce for which you can buy experience. Just make sure, if you choose this route, that the experience you purchase comes from that of a trusted, established web design agency.
Lastly, by calling on such a company, you’ll gain a partner who will ensure your website grows with you and adapts to the constantly changing web environment.
We’re going to use the ‘b’ word again; budget really is a key consideration when making this decision for your business. But let’s think about it another way.
If you opt for the DIY route based on budget, how long might you spend on the design, build, go-live and snagging of your website once customers get their hands on it (trust us, you’ve never truly tested a website until it goes public)?
Chances are, you’ll spend a great deal of time on it. If you have the time to spare, great, but what is that time worth to your business if it’s invested into other areas? Compare that opportunity cost with the fee you’ll pay a specialist design agency, and you might be in for a shock.
How will you approach your next website? Are you up for the DIY approach, or do you need a helping hand?