We turn to the Internet for everything in life. From looking up directions and shopping to finding the best fish and chips in town, we use the internet for everything! According to Statista, almost the entire United Kingdom has access to the internet with an estimated number of 62 million monthly users in 2020. That means that your customers are online! As a small business, you need to be there. But exactly what is the best way to build a website? Let’s dive in.
Having a strong web presence is imperative in today’s world as it allows your business to increase brand awareness, makes it easier to get your advertising message in front of the right people and ultimately, it drives leads and increases your revenue. We’ll take you through the pros and cons of using a content management system like WordPress and building a custom website.
Should you DIY build your website?
It’s cheap. Building your website on WordPress without help can save you heaps of money if you take the time to do it properly. Add to that the use of a free WordPress theme (like a template) and you’re on your way to getting a free site if you don’t count the time you’re spending on the build.
It’s easier to maintain. When you build your own website, you won’t need to hire a developer to make updates because you’ll know it inside out. There is no need for back-and-forth communication between you and the developer. That means that when there are changes or updates you can get these sorted without unnecessary delays.
It’s pretty straight forward. Building a website on your own can be done easier than you think. There are many content management systems out there that allow you to build your website using free themes and templates according to your business goals. These platforms are user-friendly and have 24/7 support, should you need it.
You don’t know everything. The fact that you’re ready this blog to begin with already means that you are no web developer wizard. Don’t trick yourself into thinking so! Doing that can result in wasted time, money and resources and a potentially lousy website. If you need help, ask a professional. Remember your website is the first impression customers get of you online, make sure that it makes a good sense of your brand. Having a non-functional, slow website that doesn’t result in conversions is not only a waste of time, but you will need to spend more money getting a professional in to fix the problems for you.
It’s time-consuming. A typical website takes 2-3 months to build. As a small business owner, do you really have that extra time to put towards building your own website? It’s not going to be a smooth journey either. There will roadblocks, challenges, and plenty of trial and error. You have to consider if your time is worth that kind of frustration, or if it’s just easier to get it done professionally, without pulling your hair out?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. While using free templates to build your website may seem like an attractive idea to save a couple of pounds at the end of the month, nothing in life is for free! Web hosting services need to make money too, which is why they may put external company ads on your site to see a return on investment for them. Fair is fair, right? Free plans on CMS sites also come with limited options, encouraging you to upgrade or to purchase a more attractive template.
Now that we’ve run through the pros and cons of building your own website, let’s see what a professional developer can bring to the table.
Hiring a Web Developer to build a custom-coded website
This isn’t their first rodeo. By hiring a developer, you can feel confident knowing that they know what they are doing and how to do it successfully, without any hiccups.
They are fluent in code. Developers specialise in different coding languages that the average person wouldn’t understand. This is important because it means their turnaround times for building sites and making changes will be fast.
They have access to a broader scope. Professional developers have access to a much wider range of tools, software and industry know-how than your average small business owner. This means they will add things that you might not have known about to make your website top-notch and user friendly! Besides, you’re too busy to build your own website anyway.
You’re guaranteed. By choosing the right developer who understands your business needs, you are guaranteed to have professional results. However, make sure you do your research and ask for examples of previous work before making your choice.
It will cost you. Hiring a professional developer to build a custom site will come with a price tag. Different developers will charge different rates depending on the complexity of the site, how many pages are needing to be built and the desired KPI’s. So, it’s up to you to decide how much budget you are willing to put aside for it.
It still won’t happen overnight. Remember the saying “good things come to those who wait?” Well, your website is no different. Creating a well-built, professional, functional, mobile-optimised website that customers will love takes time. Like any creative endeavour, it’s a process, so take into consideration the time that will need to be spent on developing the concept, and the many changes and revisions that will happen throughout. Tip: discuss realistic deadlines with your developer so that expectations are managed on both sides.
Don’t get conned. Not everyone who claims to be a professional web developer actually is one. Referring to our last pro tip, make sure you do your research and have a look through the developer’s portfolio or previous work experience. This will help you decide if the person in question has the necessary skill set to build your dream website. Sometimes the best way to avoid getting conned is to hire a developer through an outsourced digital agency so that their skills have already been vetted.
There’s a third option: Getting the best of both (spoiler alert: this is our favourite)
While it might be tempting to try to build it yourself because you don’t have the money to spend on the website of your dreams, there is another option. You can hire an experienced web developer to set up your website on WordPress using a bought template that you love.
They look great. There are literally thousands of beautiful WordPress themes available online from sites like ThemeForest. They come pre-designed by professionals and are much better quality than free templates out there. With this method, your website design is bought off the shelf and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
It’s the quickest route. Hiring a developer and buying a well-designed theme will save weeks of time. It is relatively quick and painless compared with the DIY method and building a custom site, so you’ll be up and running really fast.
It won’t break the bank. WordPress themes usually cost around $50 (or £35- £40) and if you find a theme that you like and don’t need to change much other than logos, text and colours, then half the battle is won. Your developer will be able to set up in no time – and with developers, time is money. It’s important to remember that the more changes you make, the more you’ll pay, so picking the right theme is the trick.
We can’t think of many, because at the end of the day you’ll have a professionally built site that looks great, is easy to maintain and was relatively affordable.
If you want to create a website for the first time, then we recommend working with a trustworthy developer and being clever about it so that you don’t have to pay too much.
Having a website for your small business is a relatively low-cost investment compared to the rewards you will reap from it. It will help you reach a new market and become more credible in the future. If you’re not online, your business efforts are being wasted!
If you’ve finished reading this blog and still unsure about the best option for your small business, get in contact with us and book your free consultation. We are also able to assist you with a wide range of web design services to suit your pocket!
We hope you enjoyed our blog on the best ways to build a website for first-timers. Help your fellow small business owners out and don’t forget to share it on your social media platforms!