Thinking of creating your own website?
When I built my first website, I’d already completed a Dreamweaver course and attended evening classes in SEO for two years. I wasn’t an expert by any means, but I had the basic skills I needed to pull something together.
Things have changed so much since then. And a spate of website-building tools have made DIY website design accessible to everyone.
But is it better to do it yourself or hire a professional?
There are two questions I would recommend you ask yourself before you start:
1. Do you have the understanding?
Even with all the tools available, it helps to start with a basic understanding of design, websites and how they work.
This includes things like:
- Design and layout
- Functionality and user interface
- Colours and branding
- Image optimisation
- Website terminology
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Copy and content writing.
If you don’t already have this understanding, you can learn as you go, but be prepared for it to take time. Which brings me onto my next question.
2. Do you have the time and commitment?
Building your own website, doing it properly and committing to getting it finished will take time and patience.
But if you’re running a business, there will be plenty of other things that need your attention and where your time may be better spent.
And if you’re not committed to completing it, it could end up as one of those unfinished projects that you laugh about awkwardly whenever someone asks to see it.
If you’re still thinking you can do this, we need to move onto our next section: The pros and cons.
Let’s start with the pros.
The pros of designing your own website
A choice of DIY website design tools
There are plenty of DIY website design tools to choose from that will help you create your site, with easy-to-use templates and features.
They include sites like:
There’ll be no outside involvement
You may favour the DIY approach and prefer to do things yourself without involving others.
Not working with outsiders means you won’t have to deal with anyone else. You can work at your own pace, without being rushed for content or approvals. And you won’t get any unwanted advice or interference.
You’ll save money
You may be looking for more economical ways of doing things. And it follows that if you’re not paying a web designer, developer, SEO, copywriter or photographer to work on your website, you’ll save money.
But what you do save in money, you’ll probably spend in time and effort.
There’s potential for learning
Building and managing a website requires some skills you might not have. Gaining and using those skills can help with your personal development and you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment when the site is completed.
You’ll have control
If you design and build your own site, you’ll have full control over it. This means you can make changes or additions yourself whenever you want to —without involving anyone else or incurring any extra costs.
Most professionally designed websites come with a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to add your own blog content and make basic changes. But, chances are, it won’t give you the same freedom as a DIY one.
NOTE: If you go down the professional route and you want a CMS included, you should discuss this with your developer before you hire them.
And now, the cons
It could take up a LOT of time
If you’re a perfectionist who likes things to be just so, you could spend hours, days and weeks fiddling about with your DIY website design and words. I should know.
So, when you calculate how much your time is worth, and how much of it you could be spending on these things, you might decide it’s just not worth the hassle.
You’ll need to learn some SEO
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is what makes your website visible. It tells Google what your site is about, so when potential customers search for you, it will show them your site on the results page.
If you don’t have SEO on your site, it won’t bring in any search traffic, which means you’ll be missing out on a lot of business.
But learning SEO and how to apply it is something else that will take up your valuable time. And the results you could get from a professional service will, undoubtedly, be better.
It might not look professional
The web-building tools will give you some design pointers, but even so, you can usually tell a DIY website design from a professionally designed one.
Common amateur errors include:
- Stretched, distorted and low quality images
- Poor functionality
- Broken links
- Content that’s badly written and full of errors
- Issues with the display at some screen sizes or in some browsers.
How much this matters to you will probably depend on what your business is and who your customers are, but it’s worth bearing in mind before you start.
It might not sound professional
If you’re not a born writer, your content could have all kinds of problems. From spelling and grammatical errors to paragraphs that don’t make sense, don’t read well — or don’t say quite what you think they do.
Even if you write well, your web copy might not have the customer focus or pizzazz it needs to turn those leads into customers.
It will be difficult to customise
DIY websites are easy to create because they use pre-designed templates. If you’re an inexperienced user looking for an easy result, this is fine.
But, if you already have a clear idea of how you want your site to look, you may find the templates provided are too inflexible and don’t allow enough options for customisation. This can be frustrating.
It won’t be completely original
If you’re using a template, you can bet your bottom dollar that countless other businesses are using it too. And they could be your competitors if it’s a template that’s been designed for your sector or industry.
Of course, you can customise it with your own words and images, but, as I said above, the customisation options will be limited.
It might not be adaptable
There’s nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into your new DIY website, then, six months down the line, wanting to add a new feature and finding it’s not possible.
So if you’re considering a DIY website, think about how your business might progress over the coming years and what you might want to add to it. If the tool you’re planning to use doesn’t support your plans, maybe you need to have a rethink.
It could be too subjective
You may find it difficult to create your own DIY website, because you’re too close to it. You may not see it clearly, or from your customers’ point of view, which means your result could be somewhat insular and inconsiderate of their needs.
One of the main advantages of outsourcing your website to professionals, is that you’ll benefit from their objectivity and insight. This means your site will be more customer-focused and less about pushing your own agenda.
What if there’s a problem?
If your website develops a problem, you may not have the skills to fix it. And you might not even know the terms you need to ask for help.
Such problems can take up your time and cause undue stress while you try to find a solution, or someone who can help you.
Do you need some help?
I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter, content writer and website specialist, based in Leicestershire, UK.
There are three ways I can help you with your website.
1. Website auditing
If your existing website isn’t generating enough leads or sales for your business, you’re paying for something that isn’t doing its job.
Can you really afford that?
My on-page website audits are comprehensive, covering everything from the design, function and usability, to the copy, content and on-page SEO.
And they start from just £170, so they’re far less expensive than a whole new website will be.
2. Effective SEO copywriting
If you’re getting a new website, you’ll need optimised content that will draw traffic and convert that traffic into paying customers.
I write effective SEO copy that will do just that.
3. Premium SEO content
If your website has a blog — and it absolutely should — you’ll need to fill it with fresh, original content that’s created exclusively for your business.
I offer a range of blogging bundles and bespoke content writing services that will help you build your authority, audience and business.
Want to find out more?
Click the bold links in the copy above or contact me directly.