Website: DIY or Outsource?

 

So you’re on a budget, the prices for websites vary and you’re not sure if you should just go for the cheapest option. Here are some pointers that can help you to decide which choice may be best for you.

Website design costs vary just like the price of cars. It depends on needs, and they get more expensive when custom functionality is required. What do I mean by this? Some websites are straightforward brochure type websites that simply offer information in the form of text, video, podcasts, or image galleries. Some websites showcase products and make it possible for customers to buy those products, so these websites, known as e-commerce sites require certain functions and set up in order to make online sales possible. Then you have some websites which showcase events and these sites require functionality that make booking these events possible. Some websites may offer their users the facility to perform online applications, and so on.

These are some general examples of what I mean by functionality. Functionality can become more complex than this and can therefore cost a considerable amount.
Some general functionality requests can be solved by a thing called plugins – many of which are free and have premium versions. But a web developer will, as far as possible, try to minimise the use of plugins because of the importance of having a lightweight and fast loading website. In this case the developer may hard code functions into the websites theme directly to minimise the amount of javascript files and server calls. Having a developer build your website definitely goes further than what is understood to be web design on surface value.

The More beneath the surface.

If you’ve never had a website before or are just looking at having an online presence, you will need to ask yourself a few questions: For instance…

What will I use my website for or What role will the website play in my business? Examples: Online Brochure, a portfolio website, will it be an commerce store to make sales, will it be a blog site that can be continuously updated, will it be a bookings site – you can decide the kind of website that is required based on your unique business needs.

How many pages of content will I begin my website with and how many pages or posts will I add in a month. This will help you to decide if a free website builder is your solution or if you should rather go the self hosted website route. Self hosted means buying a domain name, hosting, and installing a content management system that you pay for, manage, control, and direct yourself or have a web developer do it for you, or an employee, or you can learn to DIY. If you plan to have many pages or add posts often, your best bet (and cheaper option long term) is going the Self Hosted route.

What do I want my website users to do when they browse my website?

Call you | Buy from you | Book Appointment, or book event with a booking system, etc. These are called call to actions or CTAs and they may require a certain type of functionality, most of which are simple to create and implement.

How much do I know about the technical aspects behind the scenes of building a website?

SEO?

Page Speed?

Bandwidth?

Responsiveness?

Basic coding?

These are important to know when trying to decide if you should DIY or outsource your project.

How much time am I willing to spend to learn how to build my own website?
Many site builder services will offer you free templates or themes that you can simply customize and voila you will have a website. While this is meant to make site-building easy it may have some drawbacks for search engines, all depending on how you build that website.

Now there are pros and cons to Drag and Drop builders.

Drag and Drop builders came about for people who didn’t have coding skills to edit and make changes to web pages. They also cost far less than employing a developer. The drawbacks of these interfaces is that they have code bloat. Code bloat is when the code inflates the page size and therefore the page load time. This is an area which Google, the number one search engine, would not recommend.

Not having the finances to afford professional web developers is one of the major reasons you may have to push your decision toward DIY. With WYSIWYG editors you can attempt to build your own site with pre-made templates and drag and drop building tools. There are a number of platforms that give you that control, but may also not be free, or if free, may be subject to certain terms and conditions that may not be suitable to launching a professional brand. For instance you may find adverts appear on your website, or you cannot get your custom domain name, or you cannot have an email address that matches your brand name. These can impede your presentation as a professional and you may find that as you scale, these platforms can quickly become costly in the long term. Also, you will not own your website as it anchored to these platforms.

Free and cheap website builders need to monetize their service, and if not from you, then from Google adverts. Not only is it an eye-sore, but it disrupts content flow and spoils the user experience. Most importantly, it may result in you losing site traffic, either because the advert is so good, that your audience clicks on it and leaves your site, or the adverts are too many, and too annoying.

Imagine yourself reading some thing you’re interested in, but then 8 lines later, slap bang, in front of you is an advert. A reader may dismiss the first advert (if they’re as patient as I am), but then they will not likely forgive you for the third advert, so they’ll simply leave your website to find another website… your competitions. That’s one way to make people leave your website and they may remember it as a site full of Google adverts so in their mind they would have created a red alert and in future intentionally avoid your website.

Professional web designers are considerate of your website users and avoid frustrating their experience. If you’re planning on paying anything toward a website, then it may be a better idea to invest that toward a professional website. Going this route will allow you better tools and more flexibility to scale your website without becoming overly costly in the long run. You’ll be able to add custom features as you need them, and even export and import your website to other professional platforms as you grow.

So in conclusion: if you are starting out and have major budget constraints then DIY may just be the way to go. But if you can stretch budget toward embracing building for the future now, then you will be preparing yourself for success rather than nasty surprises. Whichever way you choose to go, be sure you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, then maybe the Idea to Income Action Workshops can help you to clarify your idea for success, work out your idea from a solid foundation and build for results.