It hopefully comes as no surprise to anyone reading this that here at Noble Webworks, we provide web design services (along with other related digital media and marketing solutions).
And based on this obvious fact, it would certainly be safe and understandable for you to assume that when it comes to the question of “should we do DIY web design or hire a professional?” that we fall firmly in the latter camp.
Except…we don’t! This requires some explaining.
One of the things that we stand for as a company is being completely transparent and honest with our customers. If we believe that there is a viable way for our customers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pocket — instead of spending it on our services and solutions — then we go out of our way to tell them.
Does this mean that we sometimes leave “money on the table”? Yes. Do we have any intention of changing this policy? No. Do we sleep well at night, feel good about the work we do, and take pride in the strong relationships that we build with our customers? Absolutely x 3!
And it is simply because of our longstanding promise to do right by our customers that we don’t hesitate to say that, yes, there are indeed situations where doing DIY web design vs. hiring a professional firm might be a good idea — and then, there are situations where it’s a bad idea (and a few situations where it’s a total catastrophe waiting to happen!).
What path is best for your business? To help you answer this very important question — frankly, having an amateur website that makes a lousy impression is worse than having no website at all — here are some key factors to consider:
A website doesn’t start with code, text and images. It starts well before that and is rooted in strategy. Think of building a custom house. Long before shovels break ground and the trucks start rolling, homeowners explore options and identify factors and details that, ultimately, turn into the home of their dreams. Similarly, businesses need to identify what their website needs to do (and how and for whom) before they start focusing on design elements.
Our Advice: If you have the expertise you need to develop your website strategy (or if you have already completed this critical objective), then you may be able to take the DIY path. Otherwise, working with a professional firm is definitely the smarter and safer move. They have their pulse on the marketplace and know what works in your industry and among your target customers — and just as importantly, they know what doesn’t work!
When DIY “site builders” first arrived on the scene several years ago, there was very little (if any) customization. While this made things fast and easy, it was a big problem for businesses that — wisely — didn’t want a cookie-cutter and generic website. Rather, they wanted a digital property that expressed their unique brand signature, and helped their business stand out in a competitive and crowded marketplace.
The good news is that things are much more flexible now than in years past, and businesses that take the DIY approach have more customization options — especially if they use a CMS like Wordpress.
But the bad news is that customizing a website can be a little harder than most businesses realize. It’s not merely a question of dragging-and-dropping boxes and images, or choosing colors and fonts from a menu. Even tiny little changes can trigger rendering and compatibility problems or issues with the mobile version of the site (it’s like making a bed with a sheet that has absolutely no slack — as soon as you get one corner done, another one pops off!).
Our Advice: If someone on your staff is adept with a web design program and has a good grasp of design concepts — not just an IT specialist or someone who dabbles in design, but someone who really knows their stuff — then you might be OK with a DIY website. Just be prepared for some long days, and maybe a few long nights, weekends and holidays as well.
Alternatively, if you don’t have this expertise and want to save yourself an enormous amount of time and frustration — not to mention money — then partner with a professional firm that will take your instructions and make it happen. You won’t have to lift a finger or learn a line of code.
Websites are organic assets that change and evolve over time. For example, every now and then Google shakes things up by tweaking its SEO ranking algorithm, and businesses must move quickly to conform to the new standards, rules and best practices (e.g. mobile/responsive websites, HTTPS security, etc.). What’s more, industries and sectors also change over time. If marketplace leaders start using more on-site video to engage customers, then competitors need to follow suit or risk getting left behind and lost in the crowd.
The point is that website development never truly ends, and it’s not a “set it and forget it” thing. Yes, the biggest part of the puzzle is strategizing, developing and launching a new (or re-imagined) website. But once that is done, there are always things to change and adjust.
Our Advice: Going the DIY route means that you’ll need to stay on top of things. Ensure that you’re prepared to make changes — sometimes small ones, and other times on a bigger scale. Otherwise your website will become a liability instead of an asset.
Alternatively, working with a professional firm means that updates, upgrades, patches, fixes, tweaks (and so on) are part of the service level agreement. You can rest easy knowing that your site will be the one that competitors envy and wish they had. That’s a nice feeling!
The Bottom Line
If you’re comfortable and confident with building and maintaining a DIY website, then we encourage you to move in that direction. After all, why hire professionals to do something that you can do just as well?
On the other hand, if you aren’t sure that the DIY approach is going to work for you — or if you are sure that it’ll end up in an SOS — then working with a professional firm is the way to go to ensure that your investment and results are rewarding, not regrettable.
To learn more about how we can help create your world-class website — and at a refreshingly affordable price with flexible payment options — contact Noble Webworks today. We would be delighted to answer all of your questions, and as always, you can expect us to provide you with the raw truth that is in YOUR best interest, not ours. That’s how we roll!