Pros—DIY platforms are much less costly than hiring a professional to create your site. Using them is also fairly simple thanks to user friendly software, how-to guides, discussion forums and tutorials. They can be upgraded as you expand. And you don’t need to deal with a call for bids to find a professional to design your site.
Cons—Building a good-quality DIY site takes much more time than if a web developer does it for you. You have to research which platform to use and learn how it works. Then, you have to add content, update it regularly and optimize the site to rank higher in search results.
You also risk hurting your brand if your site doesn’t end up looking professional or isn’t easy to use. While you don’t need programming skills, you should be comfortable with computers and the Internet.
A DIY site also won’t work as well if you have many products or complex requirements, such as the need to integrate your site with other business systems such as accounting and inventory management.
Hiring a professional
Pros—A developer or agency can make sure your site looks great, is customized to your needs and is easy to navigate for web visitors. They can optimize it for search engines so it ranks higher in search results. They can save you the time and effort you’d have to devote to creating a DIY site. And they can build in back-end functionality to integrate the site with your other business systems.
Cons—Hiring a professional will generally cost a lot more than going the DIY route. You’re also not sure to get better results; developers vary widely in their skills. A professionally designed site may look nice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy for visitors to navigate, optimized for searches and aligned with your brand.
“Finding the right developer can be a challenge. It’s buyer beware, the same as any service provider,” Wiedenhoff says.
Get several bids, ask for references, and check other sites the developer has designed. It’s a good sign if the developer discusses the project with you in plain language, instead of using a lot of technical lingo. Also make sure they train your team so you can do your own site updates, instead of needing to hire the developer each time.
For more tips, be sure to read our blog posts 5 steps to launching your new website and avoid being held hostage by a web developer.