You have a good idea of what you want your business website to look like and now it’s time to decide if you want to build it yourself or hire a professional designer and developer. With all the hype about how easy it is to build simple sites, the temptation to tackle the job yourself and save design and development cost is powerful. But think a moment about what you are really saving by doing the work yourself.
If this is your first go at building a site from scratch your biggest investment will be in time spent learning and doing. Even the most intuitive platforms come with instructions that have to be understood in order to build the kind of site that you’ll be proud of. If you don’t have experience with Adobe products or HTML then you are facing an extremely steep learning curve and should probably stick to website templates. The question then becomes, how much time are you willing to devote to getting educated and actually constructing the site.
Time, as the old saying goes, is money. Just how much “money” are you willing to invest?
What’s the alternative?
Doing it your self can be time consuming and frustrating. On the other hand, turning the project over to a designer and developer can be an iffy business because you don’t always get what you pay for. Like any other craft there are good designers and developers and others that aren’t so hot.
Use the same care selecting a website designer and web developer as you would in selecting a contractor for a room addition on your home. References mean everything and you should make every effort to contact previous customers to get their take on the developer’s services. All designers and developers have a portfolio and it’s a simple matter of tracking down the websites shown and clicking on the “contact us” tab to get the info you need to talk to a reference.
Ongoing costs should also be a consideration. If you go with a developer he or she will be the one who updates the website with content that you provide. Not only does that cost but you have to rely on the developer to get it done in a timely manner. Updating the site yourself only costs the time you take and you have much better control of when the content goes live.
Best of both worlds?
There is a hybrid solution to this dilemma and it’s much like buying a high end mountain bike. Bikes in general can be tricky to assemble and high tech mountain bikes are even trickier. That’s why many people pay the store to assemble them. Once the bike is put together, the customer provides the pedaling that takes it places.
The same can be done with a website. A developer and designer can do the original construction for a price, and providing he’s using a decent Content Management Software (CMS) you can do all of the content updates your self. Most CMS systems are not much more complicated than Word meaning they are extremely user friendly.
If making your decision is purely a question of money, compare the cost of your time to the bids provided by developers and web designers. Better yet, look at what you spend on the Yellow Pages year after year and compare its dwindling response rate to the potential your website represents. In the end, money spent to get in front of the fastest growing marketplace ever, is money well spent.