With self-build template websites platforms on the increase many businesses are turning to these alternatives to build their websites, as opposed to the traditional route of employing the services of a website designer. This brings forth the question for many, “do I need a designer, or can I build my website myself?”
While we may not be able to answer you yes or no, off the bat, we can help you understand how the services of a designer can impact your website and when a self-build website might be more beneficial. Let’s dive in.
Reasons to hire a designer/developer
The first thing to remember is that hiring a web development agency will provide you with a high quality, polished website but that might not be the only reason you hire a designer. Here are some of the top reasons businesses decide to work with a designer.
Complexity of design and development
If your website is more than just your average landing page and requires very custom code then a developer is the way to go. Say your business is a supper club subscription, your customers can order food through your website but it’s more than that. They can collect rewards or points for each meal they buy which is specific to their account. Because you need to be able to run that through your website without manually updating anything, a developer will be your best shot at making that happen successfully.
Knowledge of how to maximize design for impact.
Even if your website isn’t too difficult, you might not have an eye for design or how a website can be designed in a way that is not only functional but effective. If you run an eCommerce business, your website should be designed in a way that successfully attracts customers to buy products and designers who have experience in eCommerce sites can develop a website that maximizes your selling efforts.
Even after your website is built things can go wrong, in fact it’s inevitable. If you don’t have time or knowledge to update and fix complex issues on site, a designer can do this for you, at an extra cost. This ongoing service is a peace of mind for many business owners who need their websites to run properly at all times to keep their business running smoothly and in this case makes the work of the designer, invaluable.
Some designers can also manage your domain and hosting if you don’t have capacity or know-how. This includes managing the payments of your subscriptions, ensuring your domain(s) is properly registered and hosting adequately connected.
Reasons to DIY
As mentioned before, a website built by a designer will give you the best quality results however, you might not have the budget to pay a professional to do the job. Using platforms such as CoreCommerce can deliver an equally well-designed and functional website at a fraction of the cost.
Little experience is needed
Working on a template builder means that all the hard work is already done for you. All you need to do is choose your template or layout, have your content ready to add into the site and customize fonts and colors to make it your own. If you want to go a step further, some platforms allow for custom code so you can make your site stand out from the rest.
Own time, own pace
It’s not very often that a designer is working on one project at the time, so often the time spent working on your website is split with others. By building your own website you can work to a timeline that works for you.
If you like to be in control of your online assets, then self building is a great option for managing your own site. The other benefit of this is not having to wait for your designer to have time to work on your website issues, you can fix problems as soon as they arise.
Can design exactly how you like it
Most of us have a vision of how we want things to look in our heads. But when it comes down to sharing that vision with others it can be tough to convey. In this case you might like the idea of being able to work on your website in order to design it to your ideas and specifications.
Tips for working with a designer/developer
A designer can help you with deciding factors such as the platform you build your website on and where you buy your domain and hosting from but it’s a good idea to do some research into these aspects, so you know what they are and where the best place to get them from is. For help with hosting, we recommend using MangoMatter, who have dedicated their work into finding the best hosting providers for different types of businesses and locations of businesses.
As well as looking into platforms and hosting etc. having a rough idea of what you want your website to look like will help your designer gain a better understanding of what you need, want and don’t want.
You get what you pay for
Budget for a designer but keep in mind that if a designer seems expensive it’s usually because they are worth the investment.
Set a clear timeline in contract
When you do have chosen a designer the first thing to do is make up a contract that states the work to be undertaken with clear guidelines and a timeframe under which the work is to be done. This will clear up what you and the designer expect from one another from the get go.
Plan and create content in advance
For the most part designers like to know that any content that needs to be included in the website is already created and ready to go so designers can get started straight away. If the designer has to wait for content this can cause delays. It’s not always possible to have everything ready before work begins but it’s a good idea to at least have the starter content available to the designer.
Keep up good communication
You don’t need to email your designer daily for updates but do keep in touch to find out how work is going and if they need anything from you – don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Make it clear whether you intend to manage the website yourself or if you’d like the designer to manage the website (if this is a service they provide). If you want to manage the website after it’s built, ask for a handover and don’t be surprised if the designer includes this in their costs.
Tips for DIY
Similar to working with a designer, you need to know what you want before you dive. However, since in this case you will be carrying the work out yourself it’s even more important to research. Find a host, decide which platform will be best to build your website on. Template website builders are the best for novices but if you’re feeling particularly brave you could try your hand at a WordPress site with a template. Another tip is to research websites of your competitors and see what you like and dislike about their site. This will help you gain a better vision of how your website will not only look but function.
Have all content planned and ready to go
Again, in the same way that this will help a designer, this will help you because in this scenario, you are the designer! Having the content already in place is also useful in terms of deciding what content copy, images and video will go where and how it might look, rather than adding things as you go.
Utilize the online support
If you have never built a website before it can be a headache. Fortunately, no matter what you’re designing and where you are building it there is a wealth of online knowledge in the form of articles, forums and customer support that can help you when you get stuck. These online tools are invaluable to the website DIYer and there to be utilized.
Finally, don’t despair! As with anything that is new, building a website takes time so it’s important to be patient with yourself and your capabilities.
A website is one of your greatest assets and a good one can be the difference between gaining new clients and making sales. At this point you should know what a designer can offer you and why DIY can be beneficial as well as how to make both of those options work. So now you have this knowledge in mind, what will you decide? Will you hire a designer or DIY?