Should you employ a website developer or do it yourself?
Do You Have The Budget?
The biggest hurdle with employing a website developer is that they tend to be more expensive than doing the work yourself.
Even though the market prices vary, we can safely estimate that hiring a developer can cost you anything from £300 to even £3,000 for a basic website.
This is just how the market works. We’re talking about people who do this professionally, they need to make a living and they have bills to pay.
So the first question to ask yourself is, do you have at least £300-£3,000 or more to spend on your website?
If so, you can then consider hiring a web developer. If you don't have the budget your only option is to build the thing yourself. But you then have to consider whether you have the time and necessary skills.
Do You Have The Time and Skills Necessary?
If you are going to use an online website builder to produce your own site you have to consider that it can take a lot of time and computer skills to get the required result, time that may be better spent doing other work to get your presence noticed.
A web developer will have honed his/her skills over many years and will be able to dedicate the time necessary to get your website built quickly and efficiently.
They will also have the best software to achieve some effects that will help make your website brilliant and not just mundane. An example is they may have software to compress images without losing quality, this will increase your website page loading speed which in turn can result in better rankings and customer satisfaction. If you don't have the skills or software you will struggle to achieve this result.
A good web developer will advise you on colours, fonts and layouts for the website and also legal matters such as cookies and privacy policies, this is something you would need to figure out for yourself if you decide to build your own website.
Another aspect that people disregard is SEO(search engine optimisation), again a good web developer will know how to optimise your website to achieve the best possible search ranking, not an easy task.
If you decide to build your own website you have to consider whether you have the necessary knowledge and skills to get your website the best possible ranking position, it would be really frustrating to build your dream website only for no one to use it as ranks on page five of any search.
Project Data Sensitivity/Security
There are lots of e-commerce applications these days, so you can build an online store with relative ease if you have the time. Their fine tweaking may require some in-depth knowledge, though.
If you are going to collect and handle customer information, or anything else that is considered sensitive, you will need better-than-the-average security for the site.
If you build the site using an application that is not updated regularly, you may become a victim of a possible breach due to a security hole in the site software.
Are You Comfortable Working With Domain Names and Hosting?
Let’s talk about the most technical part of building a new website – you need a domain name and a hosting account to make everything work.
Purchasing neither is as difficult as some people would like you to believe.
But first, just to make sure that we’re on the same page:
- A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. This site’s domain name is website.co.uk. To get a domain name, all you need to do is go to a domain registrar and purchase it.
- A hosting account – or a web server – is where your website is stored (this involves all your website files and data).
With a domain name and hosting purchased, you will then need to set up single or multiple email accounts and possibly email forwarding, all of this can usually be handled with an online website builder but if need something different then this may be a limiting factor.
A good web developer will be competent in all these areas and will be able to set these up for you but of course, you will need to pay for his/her time.
If You Decide To Build It Yourself
There are different tools and services you can use to build a website yourself.
The easiest and probably best ones are available online, so you will not have to download and install any software. This way, you can manage your site from any computer, tablet or phone and not worry about losing or uploading the files for your website.
You will need to have quality images and page content to hand and already have some idea of the finished look you would like.
You must factor in the time to spend on your website and also allow time going forwards for any maintenance/tweaks that need to be applied.
There are also ongoing costs to consider when using some online website building services, they charge a monthly amount which over time can add up to be more than the cost of using a web developer initially. This is particularly relevant if you only have a brochure website that will not change much over the coming years.
Just a few points to consider if you build it yourself:-
- The limited customization available may not meet your needs. Usually, you get a package with pre-determined features or a few à la carte add-ons.
- The DIY approach is relatively easy but does require you to be hands-on and takes time.
- You may be limited to online help pages or email for support. Telephone support may cost extra — or may not be available.
- If you stop using that particular DIY platform, you have to start over again somewhere else. You can’t take your site with you.
If You Decide To Hire A Web Developer
In some cases, you do not really have a choice and you have to hire a web developer or an agency to build and manage your website.
Whether it will be because you have no spare time, you lack the skills, or something else, you have to choose somebody to work with. Here are a few things to consider when you make your choice:
- Ask for recommendations. Maybe a friend or a colleague can recommend a professional or an agency they have worked with.
- Check out previous work. You will see if a particular developer has already created websites that you like. If you see previous work they have done, it may be easier for you to choose.
- Talk about deadlines and costs. Make sure that the whole project will fit within your budget, even if something unforeseen comes up. Consider all costs and sign a contract that lists what work will be done and how much you will have to pay and also what timescale you are looking at for the work to be completed.
- Ask if a hosting service and domain name is included. This may be an additional service you have to pay the developer/agency for, or you may have to get your own hosting package.
- Have your project ready and planned. If you expect to have a good website, you should know what it should look like. You should have an idea about the pages, the structure and the content of the site when you contact a developer. You should not expect him/her to know what you want. Decide whether you want to be able to update the content yourself or add blog posts as this changes the website to require a CMS(content management system) which is different from a static website where the content rarely changes.
These are some of the important things you should consider in advance:-
You should give yourself enough time to think about the project as you may come up with other questions as well.
You should avoid situations in which you are not happy with the developer midway through the project, as you may have wasted your time and money by that point, ideally have a face-to-face meeting with the developer to see how you gel together before you start working on the project together.