Are you considering redesigning or perhaps building a new website? If so, do you know whether it will be best to build it yourself or to hire a professional web designer?
Our goal with this post is to outline some of the variables you should consider when you decide your website needs to be rebuilt or redesigned.
The first place to start is to understand your options. There are three main options available to small businesses for redesigning websites.
- Build and maintain your own website
- Pay a web designer to build it and you maintain it
- Pay someone to build your website and maintain it
Option 1: Build and maintain your own website
The first option that you’ve probably considered is to build your website using a DIY platform. Wix, Squarespace, Weebly are the top three platforms available today, but each have areas that they excel in, so do your homework before choosing one.
Wix is often voted as the best all around website builder if you intend to build your own small business website. This is a great option for those tech or design savvy business owners who want the most control over their website’s design and layout. Wix has an extremely high level of customization, but with more options comes complexity, so if you’re not looking to spend hours upon hours to get a basic site up, then perhaps consider Squarespace.
Squarespace is a great choice for those who want a more straightforward content and page editor. The page editor is simply how content is managed on the back end, and this is truly the biggest difference between Sqaurespace and Wix. Squarespace is very intuitive to use, but it does limit customization when compared to Wix.
Weebly is great for very basic sites and portfolios, but I’d not recommend it for most that are wanting a DIY solution.
You can compare all three here.
Building and maintaining your business’ website is definitely a legitimate route to go for those who have the time and knowhow. It saves you money if done well, and can honestly even be faster than hiring a web designer to build your site. Some business owners with basic website needs and pre-existing content can sit down and build a website in less than 10 hours if you know your way around the platform you’re intending to use.
Pros of building and maintaining your website independently
- Cheaper (usually) than having a website built
- You’ll know how to maintain and update content which makes things easier in the long run
- Independence from 3rd party developers, agencies, etc. I.e. full control
Cons of a DIY website for a small business
- All issues are your issues. You’ll be unable to fall back on developer support from a web design company to resolve technical issues
- There are lots of small maintenance steps required to keep things up to date on a monthly basis, so you’ll need to be on top of things
- Usually websites require a lot of your time, which may be better used elsewhere in your business
Option 2: Pay a web designer to build your website but you maintain it
An additional option you have as a small business owner is to hire someone to design and build your website, and then hand it over to you once it’s live. You’ll maintain it and be responsible for fixing any issues going forward.
This option is ideal for those who don’t want to spend their own time in the weeds building the website, but may not have the budget for a fully managed website.
There are a few options you can choose between here.
For a more robust website, with specific functionality and integrations, you should go the route of hiring a web design company to build it for you, but you may have a hard time finding one who doesn’t require ongoing service.
If you’re wanting a more basic marketing website, then hiring a freelancer to build your website for you could be all that’s required, and it could likely cost less than $2,000.
Pros for the mixed approach of professional design but self-maintained websites
- Cheaper than having your website fully managed by a professional agency
- You’ll get a professional website without having to do it yourself
- Gives you control over the long term
Cons for a mixed approach
- Costs more than DIY website builders
- You’ll still need to set aside time to maintain the website
- When issues come up post-launch, you’ll either spend time or money to resolve them
Option 3: Pay someone to build your website and also maintain it
The final option that business owners have is to hire someone to both build and maintain the website on an ongoing basis.
This is ideal for those who value having a website built using best practices and maintained without their time being required.
As you may have guessed, the costs associated with this will certainly be higher than options 1 and 2, but your time is freed up to spend on other parts of your business, which could lead to the best ROI for your entire business.
Pros for a professionally designed and managed website
- Frees up your time to focus on other important areas of the business
- Gives peace of mind since an experienced developer can troubleshoot issues
- Your website designer will be able to keep things up to date and functioning as intended
Cons for a fully managed website
- Costs will be higher over the long run, since this usually incurs monthly fees
- You may have limited control over your website, since 3rd parties tend to limit access to backend code (this is usually for your benefit though, to avoid breaking things)
- There may be a lag in having changes to content on your website made (e.g. a last minute decision to run an end of month promo could take 1-2 days to go live if you require your website vendor to make the changes)
In the end it comes down to what you want to invest, time or money… or some mixture of the two.
One of the three options above will work for the majority of small businesses that don’t need or want to have an in house team to manage your website.
What we suggest is that you consider the resources you have at hand, and choose the option that fits your needs best.
If you are unsure of which option will result in the best return on investment for your business, send us a note and we will give you a call.