Should I hire a web design company to build my website or can I get away with using a DIY tool like Wix or Squarespace and build it myself?
Companies like Wix advertise (incessantly) that you can quickly and easily build a website and it will do everything you need it to. Is this true?
In this article, we’ll explore in what situations you should do it yourself and when it’s more appropriate to hire a web development company to do it for you.
Question #1: What Do You Want Your Website To Do?
Does your website need to do anything other than feature photos and text with very minimal design? If not, then you can build your own website with Wix or SquareSpace. These solutions are ideal for basic websites but can’t be customized very much.
However, if you answer yes to one or more of the questions below then you definitely need a custom website developed by a professional web development agency.
- Do you want your website to have specific fonts, colors, styles or call to action buttons?
- Do you want your website to adapt to different screen sizes of devices such as iPhone, iPad, Tabs, mobile phones, laptops, and desktops?
- Do you want eye-catching images and animated portfolio presentations on your website?
- Do you want people to be able to find your website when they type in words related to your business/industry/niche?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you need custom website development. You should consider these two options:
Option A is to use a good open source framework such as WordPress, Magento or Drupal and built your website on top using an expert web developer.
Option B is to build the website from scratch using programming languages such as PHP, Java or .Net.
If you are budget and time constrained then I would recommend considering Option A.
If you are an enterprise level business with a need for a highly sophisticated solution then you should consider Option B.
A website built using Option A could range from USD $400 to USD $30k while that built using Option B model would range from USD $5000 to USD $75k and even more.
Question #2: How Important is Your Website For Your Business?
Do you need a website for simply listing your products and services or do you want your website to be your new virtual salesperson constantly generating new leads and inquiries?
If you want a website that works to earn you money then I recommend hiring a professional web development firm then teaming them up with your in-house team (or person) for your custom web applications.
This saves you lots of time. Instead of spending your day figuring out how to set up a website (it’s not always as simple as they claim) outsource it to a team that knows what they’re doing so you can spend your time on growing your business.
Creating a website that is custom tailored to your specific needs is worth every penny. The more you can automate business processes and procedures the more time you and your team have for selling and marketing.
Question #3: Do You Think Your Business Will Grow in The Future?
If not, then you might be fine using Wix or Squarespace. However, if you have plans for growth then you need to choose a platform that can scale along with your business.
These should be considered before starting to build your website:
- Do you plan on adding more products/articles/ information to your website in the future?
- Do you plan on adding more employees in the future?
- How frequently will you be editing and tweaking the website?
A content-driven website or an e-commerce website should have a rich back-end interface where your team can edit the pages and products.
- WordPress and Drupal are highly reliable open source PHP based frameworks when it comes to content driven websites
- Magento is a perfect open source system for your webstore.
- For lower cost stores, you can consider Shopify and BigCommerce which are semi-customizable e-commerce tools.
One of our clients is an eyewear company that sells eyeglasses and sunglasses. Initially, they only had a corporate website with a store locator but didn’t sell their products online.
They soon realized that they needed to start selling online. This prompted them to reach out to me for help. Having understood their needs and budget, we suggested that they build their website in Magento, an open source e-commerce platform which is highly customizable and can easily handle their 6000+ SKUs.
While the site was generating some business, most people were only browsing and not buying. A closer analysis of their website browsing patterns and some customer research helped us offer a solution!
We determined that customers were not buying because they couldn’t see the glasses at every angle. The photography the client had was not presenting the product completely and shoppers were leaving the site not understanding what the product looked like or how it would look on them.
So we introduced a 360-degree view of each product. This meant that each product needed 36 images at different angles to offer a complete smooth rotation of the eyewear. Since the base framework was scalable, we were able to extend this new feature to the website. Within a few weeks, we could see the conversion rate improve and the number of sales orders doubled!
We also realized that in order to increase sales, we must allow users to visualize how they would look with the eyewear. This is when we introduced the Try-it-on feature. This feature enabled the shopper to login, upload their photograph and then select a pair of glasses they would like to try. The frames were well positioned on the photo to offer a virtual yet realistic look. This helped the company grow in business and expand internationally.
If you’re a time-strapped business person who also has specific functionality in mind for your website, consider working with a custom web development company.
If you’re a small startup company then consider trying to build a website using do it yourself solutions or ready to use frameworks like WordPress or Magento.
Working with an offshore web development firm will help you build a custom website at much lower rates then you’d pay domestically. Choose a reputable firm that’s flexible, easy to communicate with and adaptive to your needs.
Need to learn more? Contact us today and request a free consultation.
Want to “try before you buy”! We’ll give you eight hours of development time to use on a small project.
Interested? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill the form below and we’ll circle back to you within 24 hours with ways to build your custom website. And Yes, this strategy conversation is FREE.
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