Are you building your own website for your business, hobby, or blog? One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is figuring out whether to purchase your own domain and hire a designer, or to create your website on your own using a free online builder such as GoDaddy, Weebly, Squarespace, Wix, Jimdo, or IM Creator.
It’s important to weigh your options carefully before you make a decision—you might be surprised to learn that in some cases, it’s recommendable to shell out the money required for a website designer. Read on to find out five key factors to consider before moving forward.
1. Your Budget
If you have little in the way of a budget to get your website up and running, chances are you can’t afford to hire a designer. While you’ll be compromising on customizability, your best choice is to hire a website builder.
On the other hand, if you have a mid-size budget—that is, a budget over $5,000—you can probably afford to hire a designer. You should be wary of website designers who offer to design your website for cheap. This usually means that the individual is an amateur web designer and not a professional.
2. Conventionality vs. Customization
A website builder can help you to create a conventional website—and when it comes to websites, conventional isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Indeed nine out of ten businesses can probably get away with something extremely conventional.
Consider the website required for a small restaurant. It might include the following pages:
- Homepage. A place to display restaurant news and/or a blog.
- Menu. A page that displays the menu or features a link to a PDF copy of the restaurant’s menu.
- Location page. A page displaying an embedded map and address.
- Contact page. The contact page includes contact information and a simple form.
- Reservation page. If the restaurant uses online reservation software, a link can be included here.
None of these pages require anything beyond the functionality offered by website builders. Moreover, most website builders offer enough stylistic flexibility to allow you to create something that showcases your unique brand.
3. Are You Tech Savvy?
A good way to find out if you need to use a website builder or hire a designer is to simply try using a website builder and see what you come up with. You have nothing to lose in this situation, since it won’t cost you any money and you can hire a designer if you screw it up. Trying to do your website yourself might also open you up to some of the constraints and challenges of web design. If you do decide to hire a designer, you’ll know exactly what you want and why you need someone else to do it for you.
Finally, if you’re a busy entrepreneur who needs to get your website up and running as soon as possible, perhaps hiring a designer is a more cost-effective option. If you’ve never done it before, creating a website can come with a learning curve. Website builders vary in how user-friendly and customizable they are. Though it’s your choice, you’ll still have to learn your way around the system, and if it’s something that you simply don’t have time for, it might be best to give the job to someone else.