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Deciding to buy a website can be quite a stressful time and whilst you are doing endless amounts of research into the best website builders or website companies, you may find yourself asking the question, do I build the website myself or do I get it professionally built? So what is the best way to go? Well there are definitely some pros and cons of both, but it will all come down to capabilities, functionality, budget and time.
The best way to determine whether building a website yourself or having a website professionally built and designed for you, will depend on what is needed from your business website or what you will want from your website personally. Are you looking for just a brochure website, with very minimum functionality but with basic business information? Or are you looking for a website with eCommerce functionality or a Blog feature? All of this will depend on what option is best to go for. However, you may think that a simple website will be easy to DIY and you may be right, but don’t forget about your own capabilities. For example, do you understand how a website should be designed to really show your unique brand persona and give the ultimate user experience? Or what about the technical side of creating a website such as: SSL certificates, hosting, domains, email servers etc? Your website will be your number one marketing tool so it is vitally important that you get your website right to ensure your brand is perceived in the way you need it too.
Website builders such as Wix or Squarespace for example, can offer you the chance to create and design a website yourself, and they will often be fairly priced for what you get. This is usually seen as the first port of call and can help get your online presence started relatively quickly. However, these website builders will often be limited to templates or themes and you may not get to choose exactly where you want to place certain features. Each one will often provide you with a basic page editor that can be straightforward to use, but you may find that you are massively restricted by what you can do with it. These DIY builders are seemingly ideal for those who are not so ‘tech savvy’ as often they will have a drag and drop approach making building your website very easy. However, keep your eyes peeled for those hidden costs, as you may find that the price starts off nice and low and then before you know it you will be paying for all the little extras that they never mentioned you would need at the beginning, but are crucial for your website to be online. These can include, SSL certificates, domain names or even email accounts, just make sure that you check very closely what you get with each package otherwise you may find the prices start to soar.
These types of website builders will often come with a very similar layout throughout each of the designs, this is due to the drag and drop nature of the website builder and whilst this is very easy to use, it can often lead to websites looking very similar across designs, potentially taking away the uniqueness and quality from a website. It can be very obvious to the user which website builder has been used because there are so many websites out there with very similar content and image placement. When you are shopping on a Shopify website for example, you can automatically tell that the website was built with Shopify because the product pages, cart and checkout experience is nearly identical from website to website, which may make a website appear less professional and distinctive. Whilst these website builders are easy to use, as you add more functionality using a drag and drop builder it can start to react slower within the page editor. Eventually, with too much added to each page it can become clunky to edit, resulting in a frustrating situation each time you need to update your website.
On the other hand, professional website building software such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal can allow you to build your own website for free. With this type of web builder, you will often have much more freedom and be able to manipulate each page how you want too. Of course with this level of control comes complications (more so than a Wix or Weebly website builder), as it is not so easy to use if you are a beginner. Not only that, a lot of the functionality that you may need for your business/ personal website will be separate from the main core platform. Plugins will often need to be found and added to your website in order for you to be able to add certain functionality, these can sometimes come at a cost and they may not necessarily be up to date (which can make your website less secure). Adding plugins and other functionality may mean having some coding knowledge, and so is generally better suited to someone who is comfortable using HTML. This again can often be very time consuming, especially if this is something that is completely new to you. If you are working for a business this may be too much of a struggle to try and accomplish yourself, especially if there are lots of functionality needed on the website. While with other website builders such as Wix depending on which package you choose, you may find you have a domain and SSL etc. included in the one monthly cost, however with WordPress, Joomla or Drupal you will need source these elements yourself, perhaps even paying multiple costs each month that can be difficult to keep track of. Add onto this the overall time spent on creating a website from scratch, and the cost can increase rapidly.
Going to a professional company who specialises in web design will take away all of the hassle and time that you would have to spend building a website yourself. Professional web designers understand what makes a website stand out and what your users will expect from your brand, they can also give you custom features like branded icons and buttons that perfectly match your brand colours and schemes. Web designers also know the most up to date website trends, whether that is adding a large video header to your homepage or adding certain fonts to your text, this will be crucial in making your website appear up to date and professional. You will also get the opportunity to have whatever features and functionality that you require without the hassle of trying to find it and then applying it yourself. Web designers can even recommend where certain features should be positioned so that they will provide the user with the best website experience encouraging them to return to your website time and time again.
With a professional website company, you will often receive one on one communication with a dedicated designer who will be able to give you their professional opinion on your vision for the website, this can ensure that your website will look and function exactly how you would like it too. However, communication back and forth can become a little bit frustrating, especially if you and the designer are not on the same page in terms of vision, but you have to remember that they are experts in their field and will want to work with you to achieve your goals. Designers will give their advice when necessary, as some elements may just not work as part of the website design.
SEO can also be a big factor to take into consideration when you are building a website, as you will want your website to be viewed by your target audience and be visible on search engines. Professional designers will take SEO in to account when they are building and designing your website, as they will typically be kept up to date with the latest algorithms and search engine updates, meaning that they will understand what a search engine is looking for from a website to rank well. Professional designers will have full control of your image sizes, image alt tags, Meta data, submitting XML site maps etc. ensuring that your website is fully optimised for the web. As website designers have full knowledge of the system they are using, they will also know exactly where and how to use the tools that will be provided by the building platform, meaning that this can be done easily and quickly. A DIY website builder may be very limited in terms of SEO tools, they may provide you with the basics but this may not be enough to fully market your business effectively; again this may come down to an external plugin which can be quite costly. Whereas, SEO will usually be a top agenda for a professional company as they will want your website to fully reach your goals and objectives.
Having a website professionally built, will 9 times out of 10 give a much higher end feel to a website design and overall user experience. Your design can be completely unique with a bespoke website design and although the fear is that these types of websites can be a bit pricey, they will often pay themselves back in increased business and a more professional online presence. Here at WebBoss Websites we can provide you with a fully bespoke website catered to your specific needs. But for those of you on a lower budget, fear not as we can provide you with a templated website, similar to those offered on WordPress.com, but our designers will add in your content and images for you, so you are sure to get a professionally designed website but at a lower cost. By doing this you will also receive all of the amazing benefits that WebBoss has to offer, like receiving training and ongoing support once your website goes live. With our templated sites you can even be online in 10 working days!
Overall, they both have their merits, but inevitably it will come down to budget, skill and functionality, but if your business is in it for the long haul then it can be more cost effective to buy a professionally designed website, as many small businesses end up graduating to these in the end when they realise that quick fixes such as, Squarespace and Wix dont offer the custom functionality they require. The choice is yours but we recommend that you go professional.