The DIY movement with do-it-yourself home improvements, interior design hacks, and online stores like ETSY have created a whole economy built on sweat equity. Building your own business and buying unique handmade goods and services has never been easier.
Well, I wouldn’t call it easy. DIY can be very time consuming, complex, and at the end of the day, that chair you were reupholstering doesn’t quiet look like a replica of Martha Stuart’s despite your best efforts, right?
So, let’s talk about DIYing your site. You’ve just launched your business and you need a site, but there is so much information online you don’t know where to start. You spent so much time researching free web builders and hosting services that you’ve completely neglected your business and you still don’t have a website yet.
At this point, your ready to get some help and might be looking into hiring a designer, but most agencies and pro developers will be out of your price range, so you’re back at square one.
So, should you DIY or hire a pro?
The honest answer is, it depends on your skill level, time, budget, and your business goals.
1. SKILL LEVEL
Before running to a designer or jumping into a new site design on your own, take a moment to determine your skill level. To build your own site, you'll need to be comfortable organizing files, creating images, have a knack for organization and be resourceful in digging up new tools and info.
DETERMINE YOUR SKILL LEVEL
Lo: Know your way around the basics of Word or Excel. Hire a Pro
Mid: Can tackle new software over time and can resize images easily. DIY or PRO
High: Tech whiz with coding chops. DIY for fun.
I have no doubt that a determined entrepreneur, like you, can build your own site if you really wanted to, but do you want to take on yet another time sucking task?
Smart business owners understand that delegating tasks that aren’t in their area of expertise is the best way to grow and grow quickly.
When planning, take into consideration the time it will take to develop your site. A custom website will typically take 4-6 weeks to build, or longer for a larger e-commerce site. If you have already launched and need to get online quickly, then be sure to communicate your timeline to the developer. While the site is under construction they can create a coming soon page to share information and direct users to your social media pages or an opt-in.
If you create your own site, be prepared to set aside a least an hour a day for a few weeks to design the creative elements and complete the build.
3. BUDGET & 4. GOALS
Depending on the type of site you are creating, a website can start at $500 for a brochure site to up to $6,000 for a custom build or e-commerce site. E-commerce sites with advanced custom features will run a bit more and will require a seasoned developer.
Take some time to consider the goal of your site. Is this simply a 1 page brochure site or do you need to have a membership area, blog, or other features?
If you are starting with a simple site and would like to grow, then working with Wordpress, whether you hire or not, is a great start. You can start on your own and work with a pro later down the road when it fits your budget.
While it’s free, WordPress.org does require a web host and domain registration. You can find a reliable host for $10 per month and domain name registration is typically $10- $20 per year.
If you’re a bit tech savvy with plenty of time on your hands and you feel excited by the idea of creating your own site, DIY is a great option for you. I don’t (and neither would any other sane developer) recommend WIX or similar web builders. These services can be very limiting when it comes to growing and scaling your business into the empire you envision. Stick with Wordpress, Joomla, Magento or other CMS based system and utilize a page builder to create code-free layouts.
CONS OF DIY
-steep learning curve
-need to create site layout and all creative elements
PROS of DIY
the confidence gained from doing it all on your own
a ‘free’ website (save for the hosting costs, graphics, or other items purchased)
the fun ‘ah-ha’ moments as you have as you change code and find the fix
WORK WITH A PRO
If your eyes glaze over just thinking about setting up a site and you’ve outgrown the free site builders, then its time to work with a pro. Working with a designer will make the process pleasant and easy.
CONS OF HIRING
-difficulty choosing the right designer
-schedule may be booked
PROS OF HIRING
site built on best practices that is responsive, SEO optimized, and built for speed
assistance with fixes and maintenance
peace of mind and time to focus on your business
hours, weeks, or months saved by delegating to a pro
a smart investment in your business
a modern design with personal touches
What are your thoughts?
Are you considering about going it alone or ready to get some help?
Let me know in the comments below.