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Building a website is getting easier and easier with a variety of user friendly “website builders” such as Squarespace or Shopify, and lots of resources online to learn and navigate your way around (just Google your question and watch a YouTube video, right?). Some of these platforms also have very comprehensive knowledge base websites, complete with video tutorials as well as customer service teams ready to answer your questions.
So why would you pay someone to create your website for you, especially when they use these platforms themselves? Would the end result be drastically different than if you did it yourself? Let's break it down...
A balanced investment (time vs money)
No matter how the website will actually come to life, it will demand some time and effort on your part to make it happen. Building a website is more than just design and development. It is first about understanding your audience, what they need and how you address these factors. Then it is about finding your ideal customers, driving them to your website and giving them the best experience (online and offline) so they quickly become loyal customers.
What to consider if you choose to DIY your website
Assuming you have worked through this, you have now mapped out your content and started putting all the elements together (copy, images, functionality required), you are happy with the platform you have chosen and you are ready to build your website yourself.
Time: how much time do you have?
It is important to be realistic about the time it will take to put it all together, especially if you are busy running your business (and perhaps your family and/or another job or commitments). The more organised you can be in the preparations, the faster it will be. For example, before diving into it:
Map out the content of each of your pages;
Choose and install a theme that will fit with your aesthetic and functionality requirements;
Resize your images so they are optimised for the web;
Have all your content written in Word or Google Docs, including little details such as wording for “call to action” buttons, form autoresponders, email addresses and other external links;
Know what plugins (if any) you need to install and activate them.
Interest: How keen are you?
While the resources are there for you to learn, if it doesn’t interest you and are just doing it to “save money”, you are more likely to give up and waste time going to market. So you may want to reconsider your approach.
If you are keen and have a genuine interest in understanding how it works and how it all fits together, go for it! If you are running an online business for example, it would be very beneficial for you to gain some in depth knowledge. You could also join some Facebook groups relevant to your chosen platform and your industry, so you won’t be alone on your journey.
Building your website will be an important project and needs to be treated as such if you want to see it come to life. Schedule some time in your week dedicated to your website. Put everything aside and focus on this only for the time allocated. It is easy to prioritise client work for example and to keep pushing your website project to the bottom of the list but it won’t make it happen. My tip would be to set some deadlines and stick to them. You could even start talking about it on social media to make yourself accountable!
What to expect if you do call on a website specialist
After thinking about this more, you may decide that you need help and it is OK to ask for help! When we are so involved in the business, it is easy to lose perspective. Your website is not about you, it is for your customers, it needs to speak to them so they can make a connection with your brand and start or continue a relationship with you.
The benefits of working with a professional when creating your website would include:
A sounding board for your business
Working with a pro would be an opportunity to analyse where your business is at and where it is going. They would help you set the digital strategy and planning so your website is just the first step to your business growth.
They know how things work and what is possible, so their job is to find solutions for you and recommend certain platforms or plugins that will work for you. They can show you how things work and train you (if you are interested!). They also know the little details that make a big difference to your website such as naming your images correctly, as well as cross browser and speed testing to make sure your website works well on all devices.
A more custom solution
They can design layouts and build functionality especially for you, to create a more unique experience. That would add to your budget, but if it fits with the business plan and strategy, the investment may be easily justified.
Keeping you on track to get there faster
Last but not least, they want to make it happen fast for you! They will guide you and support you when needed and once all the elements are there to populate the website, they will be dedicated to this so a beautiful and solid website can go live as quickly as possible.
Emmanuelle Harrington has been a website producer for more than 20 years. Her focus is on small creative businesses, helping them find their voice and connecting with their audience by creating beautiful websites and providing personalised training. Now based in the Adelaide Hills, she continues to work with clients all around Australia.
website studiomanusha.com | instagram @studiomanusha