So the time has come for your company to have a website. There are many do-it-yourself website products available and even more designers and design companies to choose from. With so many options available, it is important to consider which solution is the best fit for you and your company. The first decision you face is to build a website yourself, or hire a designer to create it for you.
The first thing to consider when deciding between using a DIY solution or a designer is your technical ability. Most DIY products use a drag-and-drop user interface to create pages and add content to your site, which is very easy to use. Other DIY solutions use themes or templates that can be loaded and adjusted via a dashboard interface. While both of these solutions are easy to use, there are more skills to consider when it comes to site design.
Are you a visual person? Having the ability to visualize how your brand should be applied to the website is important, as consistency is the key to presenting your brand across different medias. Additionally, your site should visually represent what your company does. For example, if your company does structural engineering, you would not want the site to feel like your business is a flower shop.
Do you know what content needs to be on the site and how it should be prioritized? The information and content you have on your site is important. How that content is presented is just as important. Information heirarchy, or the navigation menu, of the site needs to be created to make it easy for users to navigate to the information they want within 2 to 3 clicks.
Consider if you have these abilities before taking on a DIY site project. If you have these skills, then consider the next point.
The second thing to consider when deciding if to use a DIY solution is time. Most small business owners’ time is already stretched thin, so consider how much time you have to dedicate to the website. Developing content, visuals, heirarchy, and learning how to build the site using the DIY solutions’ dashboard may take up to 80 hours. Can that time be used more efficiently to build your business instead of learning to build a website? You may find that the amount it will cost to hire a designer is cheaper than the time it will cost you to build it yourself.
Third, consider the complexity of the website you need for your business. The least complex sites mainly consist of information about the company, services, project highlights and a contact form. Most DIY solutions provide the functionality and ease to do this kind of site. However, on the other end of the spectrum, are sites that sell products, take reservations or process credit cards in some other function, display complex grids of information like product catalogs or have content only for logged in users. Most DIY solutions provide upgrades to provide this functionality, but ensuring that these processes are built and function correctly requires additional time and know how. If you are envisioning a complex site, you need to consider if a DIY solution will meet your specific needs.
Considering these three things should help you decide how to build your site. Whether you go with a DIY solution or hire a designer, the goal should be the same. The final product should proudly represent your business and allow clients the ability to find the information they are looking for.