Thanks to the online innovators and their Do-It-Yourself website platforms these days, the internet has become a place where most anyone can become website-savvy and create their own website without the help of a geek squad, but there’s a caution here… Even though the DIY process appears easier, hands on website design is still not for everyone—especially for people and businesses who understand the importance of standing out.
Below is a quick list of pros and cons of using a “web builder company, or a DIY template”, which you’ve probably seen ads for as you fast forward through the TV commercials, compared to hiring an experienced website designer to create a website for you.
Do-it-yourself Pre-Built Templates
DIY with Web Builder Platforms
- Limited Decisions Required: Different design options are provided for selection of one. Most web builders use WYS/WYG interfaces that make moving parts of the design simple and easy, and most have free tech support if you have difficulties.
- Nice Designs: Depending on the provider, designs are well done and provide the opportunity for use of beautiful photography. Be prepared to make photography a priority – the more authentic the photos the better.
- Quick Solution: Most of the design decision have already been made and allow the user minor customization details for personalization.
- Inexpensive: Premade templates normally come with reduced domain name registration and monthly hosting fees, and with their site designs being a template offered to hundreds of businesses, this allows their reduced cost approach.
- Hosting Provided: The web builder takes care of the monthly hosting services, whether it’s monthly or yearly, often at a discounted rate.
- Responsive Design Layouts Needs Work: With your mobile website experience being a priority, the pre-built template designs needs more work, which you’re unable to alter.
- Time Commitment: The development of the website will only progress to the extent you have time to commit to it; taking or gathering quality photos and writing engaging and compelling copy.
- Perseverance Required: The process of creating a website will take away from time needed to run your business or the other daily tasks you already have, which can delay the progress. Templates do not include important components like copywriting, photography or its research and content creation.
- Graphics Knowledge Recommended: As mentioned above, it is recommended that you hire a professional to help you determine the best website direction for you, before you select a DIY option, as there are many hurdles to get over throughout the build process, and if done poorly, can make a great and important opportunity look bad.
- Cookie Cutter: Choosing from the handful of templates lacks uniqueness and originality. The templates are designed with general user needs and content in mind. Your business deserves as much differentiation from your competitors as you can get.
- Limited to their styles: The template that you select will be limited to specific types of information on each page. Just because the demo site on a web builder looks amazing, does not mean that your site will translate perfectly to match.
- Not all templates are created equal: Many web builders offer responsive design layouts as part of the theme you choose. Some may offer hundreds of different templates, but do not offer responsive templates that create the best experience on different size devices, but instead, provide a mobile interface editor. This is an extra step you will need to go through to configure how people see your site on mobile devices – which an extremely high percentage these days.
- Locked In Design: Some web builders may lock you into the template you select. If you want to change to a different template you’ll need to rebuild your website again.
- SEO Issues: If you feel your website needs to show up in a potential customers Google search, which you should, take caution with the DIY’s. Some platforms provide basic SEO, but if SEO is an important part of your long term marketing strategy, a DIY may not be for you.
Web builder companies are great for small businesses looking to get a website up in a hurry. They are also a good choice for individuals with little knowledge about creating a website, and those who have little time on their hands. While this direction sounds appealing, its important to remember that web builders do not provide valuable services like copy writing or content creation that can make or break a good website.
Custom Designed Website
Hiring a website design team to build a unique website experience
- Create a unique Desktop experience: Your website is built to the needs of your business and should stand out among your competitors. The custom website approach is built around your brand and mission, and not made from a template.
- The mobile experience is a priority: Mobile viewing and interaction with your website is hugely important now. With the custom built (responsive) approach, the team will ensure that the right information is in the right location at the right size for every tablet and mobile device, creating a positive online experience with your brand.
- Allow for future growth: A custom website is also easy to account for the companies growth. If you need to add a new function, service, or feature, it will be seamless with the design.
- Frees you up to do your job: Let an experienced team lead the way with a proactive design and development approach, checking in when needed. Chances are, you don’t have time to micro-manage the project.
- Advanced SEO and analytics: Different levels of SEO can easily be implemented to a custom site design, helping to improve your search results… which is what you want.
- Lengthier process: A custom site takes longer because it is built from the ground up, but because someone else is doing the work, you can spend that valuable time on your own to-do’s.
- Expense: Because of the time, scope, and effort that goes into a custom website, the fees are typically higher than pre made templates. However, there is usually no monthly fee associated with the website design, unlike DIY website platforms.
If you like the idea of using a web builder template because of its affordability and ease of use, but you’re uncertain that you have the knowledge or time to make it look great on your own, another option to consider is hiring a team to develop the template for you.
- Affordable: The price point is usually between that of a template and a custom site.
- Easy: The team can make all of the right decisions.
- Quick: The team knows what it takes to style the template to fit your brand. Your site is destined to look great within a short amount of time.
Before you make a decision, it’s recommended that you talk to a professional to help you determine the best website solution for you. There are several hurdles and technical issues to overcome.