DIY, designer or developer?

DIY web design

Perfect if you’d like to build your own website with a hands-on approach, DIY web design allows you maximum control, but demands maximum knowledge! There are several ways you can go about it:

1. Open-source website design: custom code

Great if you’ve already got the skills, if you’re a keen learner. Building your own website with an open-source website builder means you’re doing the coding and the hard work.

Platforms like Wordpress allow you to adapt and enhance your website however you like – you’ve just got to take care of the technical elements to get there.

DIY website building is good for those who know their way around an open-source website and have the time and resources to invest. Essentially, all the work is yours, and you have power over everything.

2. Closed-source website design: use an online website builder

This option combines the advantages of managing your own website and securing a modern design for your business.

Online website builders offer customisable templates which allow you to be creative with a guideline. There are a wealth of sites available that offer build-your-own website templates. Some even provide features that allow for e-commerce, social media compatibility, and customer analytics.

This means that those looking to sell on their website, can still take on the DIY approach.

Sites such as Rocketspark offer these templates whilst also having the option to hire a web design team to ensure your business’ online presence is polished.

DIY requires learning or prior knowledge – there’s no avoiding it.

When building your own website, acquiring new knowledge is a must.

Learning the basic creative elements of web design will help you get an idea of what really goes in to it, and how you can start breaking up tasks between yourself and other non-professional participants.

The benefits of DIY:

  • Low cost: building your own website saves the costs of hiring a web designer. Depending on your requirements and your budget, you can build a website on Wordpress for around $100. Using a website builder often comes with a monthly subscription that could start as low as $5NZD / month.

  • Maximum control: when you build your website from scratch, you have complete control and can make edits and additions with ease.

Who is DIY good for?

Businesses with the resources and skills to spare. Those looking to design really personalised websites for educating or advertising can do this easily.

You’ve got to be aware of creating a website with the capacity to grow along with your business. So if you’re opting to DIY, make sure you’re using a template or creating code that is customisable moving forward.

Hiring a professional

1. Use a freelancer

Sourcing a freelance web designer means the work will be taken off your hands. You can find one through word of mouth, or recommendation. Make sure your resources are credible though – that’s why it’s best to find a freelancer through word of mouth.

Freelancers work on their own timetables, and they’ll do a specific job – so make sure you're aware of what you want them to do, and when you want it done by. You can’t completely avoid planning!

Opting for this option means you’ll probably pay less than what a web design agency will charge – so explore your costs thoroughly.

2. Go through a web design agency

Professional agencies can offer a full website design service. This option means that they can take care of the entire creation process for you, including the important brand of your website.

Organizing your timelines is still important because you’ll want to have a deadline that meets your business goals. Communicating these goals, along with the ideas you already have, means that you’ll get exactly what you’re after from your website.

Professional web designers often partner with other professionals who perfect every aspect of your content – but be aware of cost.

If you’re considering this option, know what type of agency you’d like to go through.

There are differences between professional agencies, and the services they offer. While the end result might be similar, there are different things they tend to focus on that you’ll need to be aware of.

1. Web designers

Web designers can often provide services for your branding and logos along with the physical design of your website. They work with programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Indesign, to create and fine tune the graphics and visuals. This is good for those wanting to work on the creative elements of their website and branding.

2. Web developers

A web developer works with codes and scripts – doing the manual work in creating a design. They often work with platforms like Wordpress of SilverStripe, that demand custom-made work and technological expertise. They don’t often do work on your branding, so it’s good for those with well established businesses that simply need a website developed.

3.  Full agency

Often a larger scale, full agencies can offer web development, design, and work with your overall branding. This is a good option for larger businesses who are after a service that covers everything – but will come with a larger price.

Hiring a professional means taking the work off your hands.

Whether you chose to go through a freelancer or an agency, employing a professional to work on your website design gives you the freedom to make decisions that aren’t limited to your own skills.

The benefits of hiring a professional:

  • Be original: if you’re seeking a custom website design, a web developer will be able to create a unique and professional website with ease. It doesn’t matter if your website isn’t complex – professionals create high standard and modern websites.

  • Less responsibility: leaving it to an expert means you don’t have to acquire a whole lot of new information. Your web developer should take care of the  technical aspects, and can continue to make improvements as your business develops online.

Who is this good for?

Businesses with the money to invest. At this point, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re using a website to sell, advertise or educate – a professional can help with either. Most businesses will opt to hire a professional because they know the work will be done at the standard they like, with the expertise they want.

During the website building process

The longevity and scalability of your website design

When you create a website, it’s helpful to align your goals with your business goals. Are you expanding your business in the next year or so? Are you hoping to offer more products and services in the future?

For new businesses especially, designing your website with the future in mind will allow you to develop your website as seamlessly as possible:

  • Schedule meetings with your web designer:

While this is something you should be doing during the design process, if your web designer offers an ongoing service then you should be planning future meetings with them.

Coordinate targets and meetings every few months, whether it’s aiming to increase website traffic, e-commerce sales, or adding functions to your website.

Treat your business’ website design the same as your marketing strategies and other business operations: plan ahead to stay on-track.

  • Consider your subscription to the website building platform you are using:

If you’re using an online website builder such as Rocketspark, your current subscription may be all you need at the moment.

But look ahead, check-out the functions that are offered when you upgrade to the next tier of web design services.

Chances are, what’s offered will align with your business goals in the next few months – so you can plan ahead to upgrade and expand your website accordingly.  

  • Work out what you’ll need to learn:

Designing the whole website yourself? No problem. You can still make sure your website is scalable by simply studying ahead!

Take the time to research what your competitors are doing, attend workshops or seminars about enhancing your online presence, or subscribe to web design training courses. Be sure to make the most of your web builder platform’s support centre! Be aware of the resources and help that they offer, and utilize them.

This will ensure you’re keeping up to speed with the changing world of websites and what they require. You’ll always be one-step-ahead and ready to update and optimise your website as soon as you need to!

It’s time to make some decisions

Hopefully you’ve now got a clearer vision on what website design option is going to be best for you.

If you’re after the hands-on approach or a more professional one, assigning responsibility and getting the ball rolling, can only come after you know exactly who’s involved.

There’s a web design method for every kind of business.

So you’ve just got to take the time to sort out what you want! But there’s another factor that might start swaying your decision here – pricing.

Whether you’ve got a tight budget or a very free one, discovering the associated costs of website design will help you start putting a realistic plan in place.


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