Whether you are a freelancer or a business with several employees, in this day and age, you will need to have a website. A website backed by a decent design that is easy to use and navigate. If you have looked into web design, you’ve probably come across the many tools and platforms promising hassle-free website creation. So, should you save yourself some money and try your own hand at designing your website, or should you hire an expert to do it for you?
Here are the pros and cons of going it alone vs hiring a web developer.
What are the best DIY website tools?
If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with coding or design, there are several visual tools such as Weebly, Wix and Squarespace which you could take a look at. These website builders allow you to build a beautiful looking website without any technical know-how. Weebly, for instance, is great for blogs, portfolios or small online stores. You can drag and drop menus, sliders and other elements you need into your pages seamlessly. They have an extensive catalogue of website designs and support is first class. Weebly, as well as the others mentioned, also take care of domain name registration and hosting, leaving you free to focus on the design and content of your website without having to worry about any technical jargon and difficult settings. You can start using Weebly for free and if you fall in love with it you can upgrade to enable advanced features like registering your own personal domain name. This will set you back between £7 – £17, depending on the package and you choose to go with.
Are there other more sophisticated platforms?
Absolutely, there are several advanced off-the-shelve platforms that cater for all types of websites. If you are a hardcore blogger or a medium-sized business who does not want to worry about web hosting and technical problems then what you are looking for is WordPress.com. Unlike WordPress.org, the .com version of the popular CMS is a hosted solution that allows you to set up a new WordPress website in minutes. You have several packages, themes and plugins to choose from, both free and premium. WordPress.com is perfect for brochure type websites, portfolio or blogs which requires nothing more than a little bit of content to get started. Packages start from as little as £3 per month – and you can also set up a free website until you are ready to register your domain name. If you are looking to set up an online store, then you may want to look at Shopify, BigCommerce or EKM. Although none of these hosted e-Commerce platforms offers a free account, they all do offer a 14-day free trial, allowing you to test things out before you decide if they meet your requirements. Shopify and BigCommerce both have an extensive library of themes, widgets, apps and they both have the ability to sell through external channels, meaning, if you sell on eBay or Amazon, you can do so directly from your Shopify or BigCommerce website. What’s the difference between the two? Not a lot other than pricing, Shopify seems to be the cheapest option to get started without premium third-party applications and they offer IOS and Android Apps too.
The Cons Of Using Website Builders And Hosted Platforms
Website builders and hosted platforms are a great way to get started if you can not afford to hire a professional to design and develop a website for you. The downside to this is that you are at the mercy of the service provider and limited to what they offer. Another downfall is that if you want to move away you can’t take the website with you so if you are in love with the current design and setup you are stuck. You will need to hire someone to re-design the website elsewhere. There are ways to move from one platform to another but any type of move will require expert assistance, especially e-Commerce websites.
Is there a cheaper solution?
There are many alternatives but we recommend and stand by WordPress. WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. It has thousands of themes and plugins and the best of it all, it’s free to use. If you have no coding or design experience you don’t have to worry too much as the WordPress community is humongous. You will have access to hundreds of free themes and plugins to extend your WordPress website further without the need of hiring an expert. There are also drag and drop page builder plugins for WordPress that will give you the freedom to create your own layouts, without the need to hire anyone to do it for you. The downside of taking this route is that if anything does go wrong you will need to fix the problem yourself or hire an expert. You will need to find yourself a suitable, helpful and reputable web host. Most web hosts offer one-click WordPress installations which will save you the trouble of having to upload WordPress yourself. You can find cheap WordPress hosting from as little as a couple of pounds a month. If you do choose to build your own website take a read through our simple security measures you can take to keep your website secure.
Hiring Someone To Design The Website For You
If you have set some cash aside for your website the best option is for you to find someone or a company who you can build a long-lasting working relationship with. There is no use having a beautifully designed website or going for a cheap option that will only break a few months down the line forcing you to hire someone else because the designer or developer who built your website is no longer in town. Do your research, read the reviews, you are definitely spoilt for choice, that’s for sure. Unless you are going to manage and maintain the website yourself you will be much better off going with a small design agency who can design, maintain and manage all technical aspects of your website for a reasonable monthly fee, leaving you to focus on what you do best – running your business.