Building a Website – Outsource or DIY
When you are just starting out in business, one of the first things to consider is building your website.
The majority of businesses have a website from which give visitors gain information about products or services, plus contact details. It’s a shop window and will give first-time visitors an initial impression about you and your company.
You wouldn’t see a client or go to a networking meeting in scruffy clothes and give little information about you and what you do; that’s a sure way not to get many clients. The same goes for your website; it needs to look presentable and give the information a visitor is looking for.
It can take a long time to get your website right and in fact it’s a never-ending job, ensuring it’s up to date and in good working order. So let’s look at what you need to consider when choosing website options, considering how it fits into your business.
Firstly, decide whether you are going to outsource the whole project and have someone else build it following your specification or build it yourself from scratch, or a mix of these two options which I’ll come onto later.
The DIY Option
There are many options out there to help you build your own website and you can have a basic site up and running in a day. Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and WordPress are the most popular platforms available on which to build your website.
Squarespace offers beautiful elegant themes on which to build your website. It is particularly popular amongst businesses with online stores. Squarespace use the drag and drop method in their website builder, which means you literally choose the functions you want eg text, slideshow, image, drop them into the builder and can see how it looks as you build it. Drag and drop means you don’t need to have any coding skills.
You do have to pay a monthly fee for a Squarespace website but hosting is done by Squarespace themselves so no need to pay separately. Compared to WordPress, there are less options in terms of functionality but for most small businesses you will find it offers what they need. All maintenance and updating is done by Squarespace and there are a huge amount of in-house tutorials to help you.
Wix consistently rates as one of the best website builders. Like Sqarespace it uses the drag and drop method. You can build your own website from scratch or use one of the 500+ templates it’s offers that cater for almost any business type possible. Very easy to use. One downside is that on the free plan, Wix will place adverts on your website.
Weebly is generally rated as one of the easiest drag and drop website builders to use. Again, you don’t need any coding skills, although if you are handy with the HTML then Weebly does provide for this, meaning you can tailor your site. This might be useful since the drag and drop options are limited compared to other builders.
WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in the world, loved by sole traders, bloggers and big corporations. WordPress offers a huge amount of options in terms of themes, styling and functionality and this is probably its greatest advantage over other builders. Most themes don’t use the drag and drop method which means for someone with little or no coding skills, you may need extra help, but on the whole it is very user friendly. However, the ever popular Divi theme is drag and drop and extremely versatile.
I’ve used WordPress for two websites and a blog over the years and most of my clients use it too. Another bonus is that because it is so widely used, there are hundreds of tutorials online to help you.
Ensure you use WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com, the later being the free software hosted by WordPress but offering a limited amount of themes and functionality needed for a truly professional business website.
All the above are good options if you decide to DIY. Consider your current skills and available time, plus the functionality you want right now and in the future. There are plenty of websites that go into far greater detail comparing the different platforms.
Outsourcing to a Web Designer
If the thought of building a website yourself makes you shiver all over and IT makes you want to run a mile then consider outsourcing your website design and build.
Having an expert build your website whilst you get on with the important stuff of seeing clients is going to be much better use of your time. Additionally, they will have greater knowledge of plugins, widgets and other code that will make your website look awesome. Carol Verity of WeGetDigital says “Having a commercially effective website requires thought and planning which is where most people go wrong.”
You’ll still have lots of input in the way of actual content. Before building a website, a good designer will sit down with you and work out what you what, what feel you want from the website, colours, branding, voice and functionality. They can also deal with domain registration and hosting for you too.
When it comes to maintenance, updates and things like SEO, a web designer can help you here too, or at the least be working alongside a web developer. There may be an ongoing maintenance cost to consider in addition to the initial build cost.
What factors do you need to consider when employing a web designer? Carol says “Make sure the person you engage to help you with your website truly understands design and semiotics (the meaning of design and symbols). Make sure that you are required to supply a brief so that everyone understands the requirements and there is no scope change mid project. Most professional Web designers will help formulate a brief with their clients. Ensure that when you engage someone they aren’t just outsourcing the work to third parties with no real project management or quality control.”
Halfway house – website in a box
There is a third route, a kind of halfway house between the above two options.
If you are someone who is has some degree of confidence when it comes to websites, and are happy to add content and play about with an element of design, then consider a ‘website in a box’ option. For this I highly recommend No Hassle Website run by Neta Talmor.
No Hassle will provide you with a ready-built WordPress site using the extremely user-friendly Divi drag and drop theme. All you need to do is customize it with your branding and content. Hosting can also be arranged through No Hassle.
You’ll receive full step by step set up and customization instructions. Not only that, she offers full support and a Facebook Group for anyone who buys her product. Occasionally you may want to add something to your site that requires HTML code. Neta or one of her team will happily help you with this, such is the level of her customer service. This is all for the one-off price of $99* (crazy right!).
Whatever option you use, don’t rush into it. Get a good idea of what you want your website and what you want it to do for you. Do your research and work out what is best for you and your business.
If you have any queries about building your website, please leave a comment below.
* For clarity, I am not an affiliate of No Hassle, I just think they are offering an awesome product with outstanding customer service for those with some degree of confidence around websites.