Small business owners have a lot to do. (We know – we are small business owners ourselves!) One of the many things that they have to consider is – do you use a DIY Website Builder to build your website yourself? Or do you hire a professional? We will provide you with the information to help you make an informed decision and some tips for hiring a professional should you decide to go that route.
What is a DIY Website Builder?
DIY Website builder platforms provide users with a set of themes or website template options from which to choose. Once selected, the user is presented with a drag and drop interface which allows the user to build the website by adding blocks for text, images, video and more. Once the blocks are added, content can then be placed into the blocks. Formatting of fonts, color palette and layout can be customized based on those built into the theme or website template.
Choosing a DIY Website Builder
There are a lot of DIY website builder options out there now. A LOT. And it can be a bit overwhelming for a business owner to try to decide which one is best for their business. The most popular are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Weebly, but it seems like every where you turn, other services like email platforms are adding website builder functionality. We have used all of the above plus the MailChimp DIY website builder and can honestly say that none of them is a one size fits all. We would strongly suggest that if you decide to go this route, read through the features thoroughly then try out more than one using the free trial period. We find that demo videos are a great way to get an overall idea of an interface, but you really do not get an understanding until you dig in and actually begin working on the platform.
DIY Website Builder or Hire a Professional?
Someone who designs websites for a living understands how to use space, imagery, color, and typography together to elicit emotion, capture attention, and most importantly, help win business. Professionals use a number of tools to make sure that your site is built to accessibility, that your site loads fast and has strong SEO (search engine optimization). While you may be concerned about the cost of hiring a professional, you may find it more cost effective in the long run. Using a DIY website builder will likely take time away from other important tasks needed for running your business. In addition to taking this mammoth task off your shoulders, a professional will be able to streamline the process by providing you with insights on best practices and knowledge from years of experience.
Website Designer or Developer?
You may have heard the terms website designer and website developer and wondered- are they the same? Different? Interchangeable? We can help sort that out for you. First off, there are professionals who do one, or both. A website designer is generally used for someone who is responsible for the look and feel of the website. This person will work with the business owner and create the layout, the color palette and the font selection. Those who build websites for clients on the DIY website builder platforms are considered website designers if they are not doing much in the way of coding. A website designer who does the design only, hands the design off to a website developer. A website developer is someone who builds the site on a platform where coding is involved. This part can be quite technical, depending on the platform used to build the website.
What to Expect By Hiring a Professional
We will assume for this example that you are considering hiring a firm like Trivessa that provides both website design and development. At the outset, you would receive a proposal that outlines the work to be done and what the website services will include. There would also be a cost estimate included and any exclusions noted, such as photography or photo re-touching. Once you, the client, agrees to the terms of the proposal, the a Scope of Work would be submitted to you that outlines in greater detail the exact work to be done and estimated time to design and build the site. There would also be a payment schedule in writing. (More on that in a moment.) The Scope of Work must have a contract attached outlining limits on liability, non-disclosure and confidentiality.
Once the contract is signed, a discovery call would be scheduled to discuss your project. This would be the next step in the discussion of what you envision for your website, a discussion of other websites that you like (or don’t like) and any particulars that need to be included.
You would also be provided with a list of deliverables – these are the items needed from you in order to design and build your website. This will include things like your logo, images, website copy, and a color palette (if you already have one). There will be a more detailed project timeline attached to the deliverables. This is very important – because if a client is not able to provide the deliverables by the due dates, the project cannot move forward according to the project timeline. In some cases, this may result in a project getting moved back in the queue if other subsequent projects are already scheduled.
While we await deliverables from the client, work is underway on our end to begin mapping out the website. Because the website has to look great and work hard!
What Was That About The Payment Schedule?
We have heard horror stories about business owners that have paid for their entire website build upfront before any work starts. We can say right here that this is a big red flag. All website projects should be billed based on milestones agreed to in writing. You would not pay a contractor the entire amount of a remodeling job upfront before any work begins, would you? (We hope not. A contractor asking you to do so is illegal in many states!) We bill in milestones. To give you an example, for WordPress sites, we bill one-third at signing of the contract, one-third when the site goes to the staging site and the final third when the site goes live.
PULLQUOTE> 76% of business owners fill three to six employee roles in any given day (eVoice)
So DIY Website Builder or Website Professional?
There are a number of factors to consider. The two biggest being your time and technical ability. Drag and drop site builders are marketed as simple ways to add images and text to create a website. Unfortunately, the final result may not look like the website template in which you started. We often hear from business owners that get started, then abandon the process midway due to frustration. Or, they find that after watching tutorials and reading instructions, it takes more time than they thought it would. Business owners wear so many hats. Webmaster does not need to be one of them.
Need Help With Your New Or Existing Website?
If you are building a new website or re-designing your existing website, we have two options for you.
Do you enjoy using a DIY website builder? If you have a website template that you are working with, but sometimes you get stuck, run into an issue you can’t resolve or just feel like the site you’re building doesn’t look like the site you want? Then access our as-needed HelpMe! service. We can assist you with using the website template you already have. There is no commitment. No retainer. Just help.
But if you have considered all the time, effort and learning curve that goes into using a DIY website builder and decided it is not your time well spent…you just want your website up and running, then consider our full-service website design and development to take that job off your plate. Hiring a professional leaves you to focus on all the other details of growing your business.
In addition, our services include WordPress Care Plans and website audits. We offer a free, no obligation consultation. Give us a call, send us an email, or schedule a time to chat directly on our calendar. We look forward to assisting you!