Pros and cons of building your own website

It’s hard to imagine a time when you didn’t need a website when launching your own business. It’s possible all you needed was a business card, a brochure and a willingness to knock on a lot of doors. These days, you wouldn’t think about NOT building your own website. Whether you’re an IT consultant, a Pilates instructor or a dog groomer, a website is an absolute must. But if you’re starting out or if your budget is a little tight, you might consider a DIY website. After all, how hard can it be?

Before you jump in, we thought we’d have a look at the pros and cons of designing your own website versus having a professional website designer do the job.

The advantages of building your own website

No special website design skills needed

Using one of the many popular website builders, you can get up and running with your own professional-looking website without having any special design skills.

Website builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Site 123, have a selection of simple templates where you use a ‘drag and drop’ tool to build your own design. There are no coding skills required, so anyone can build their own website from scratch without being an IT boffin. You’ll also find lots of ‘how-to’ instructional videos on the web to help you through the website-building process.

If you’re the sort of person who likes a challenge and enjoys learning something new, building your own website might just work.

A DIY website is cheaper

There’s no doubt that if money is an issue, creating your own website is definitely cheaper than hiring a website designer.

To use the services of a website builder, there’s usually a choice of packages charged out at a monthly cost. Squarespace, for example, charges $A25 a month for a basic business website. You’ll save a little if you pay an annual fee. This fee includes your hosting, a custom domain, a mobile-optimised website template, storage and security. You’ll have to pay extra if you also need email hosting.

This compares to what you might pay to have your website designed by a professional, which may start from $2,000 for a basic site – and a lot more if you need all the bells and whistles.

The disadvantages of building your own website

Building your own website takes (heaps of) time

A DIY website can really chew up your time. If it’s the first time you’ve ever tried something like this, you’ll probably find the learning curve is very steep! After all, it’s not only the time it takes to play around with the website building templates.

Creating a website also involves:

Planning and writing your content

Believe me, writing your own content, can be hard! Many people find it difficult to express in words what they do, let alone write copy that engages the reader. Having a professional SEO copywriter to help you with your website content can really take the headache out of this challenging task.

Having high-quality photos and illustrations.

Making sure you’ve got great photos that reflect your brand and display your products at their best is crucial. After all, if you want to stand out from the pack, you don’t want to just include the same stock-standard, photo library pics that everybody uses. And if you want to include photos of yourself and your team, there’s nothing like hiring a professional photographer to make you look great.

It doesn’t look professional enough

I know there are some people, who aren’t professional designers, but who have a ‘design flair’. But let’s face it unless you’ve spent years learning the principles and the skills of design, your website may look a little amateurish. Remember, your website is one of the most important elements of your branding.

A professional website designer can work with you to create a professional-looking design that helps build your credibility and reflects a quality brand. They’ll also help you choose images that work well and align with all the other elements of your marketing.

Tech challenges

A website is not just an online brochure. Behind the scenes, there are a whole lot of technical issues that need to be sorted out including:

  • SEO – that’s search engine optimisation. There are many technical aspects to whether your website is ‘visible’ when people search for your type of product or service. Without them (and without optimised content), you’re invisible online.
  • Regular maintenance and back-up – if your website crashes, it helps to have all the right systems in place.
  • Compatibility with other platforms – like email marketing platforms, e-commerce software and other apps.
  • Reporting – To make sure your website is working for your business, you want to ensure it provides the feedback you need on how many visitors you’re receiving and the source of your website traffic (for example, is it from your social media or from organic search results?).
  • Security – if you have an e-commerce site, for example, you need to ensure your site is secure to receive online payments. You also need to protect your website from potential hackers and online cyberattacks that could really ruin your day!

Working with a standard template may also lock you into that design or provider. This means your website can’t be adjusted easily should you decide you want to make major changes to down the track.

Poor SEO performance

I’m mentioning SEO again here because it’s so fundamental to the success of your website.

Search Engine Optimisation is all about helping people find your website online. It’s about having your website show up on page one of your search results when you plug a query into Google (or any other search engine). Though they’ve improved over the years, off-the-shelf website builders may not give you the best result on search. Not only are there technical issues that need to be attended to by someone who knows what they’re doing, but there’s also the importance of well-optimised content. An SEO copywriter will write your website copy based on research and making the best use of relevant keywords and phrases. They’ll structure your content in a way that will help improve your search ranking.

If you decide that you want to leave the design of your website to the experts, Flash Marketing works in partnership with a local web developer and designer Andrew Eastman from Scoop Design.

Let’s work together to produce a professional website that delivers the outcomes you need for your business.

Get in touch.