Supersonic Playground Ltd
DIY vs Professional

DIY vs Professional Web Design

If your business is in need of a website then it’s likely you’ve been asking yourself whether you should do-it-yourself, or hire a professional web design agency.

7 minute read

It might seem counterintuitive that a website design agency such as ours would write a blog about why you might decide to produce a website yourself. However, it’s an important decision that any business owner or potential client should, and almost certainly will, ask themselves.

While Supersonic Playground is a web design agency, this blog is entirely unbiased and is written in response to a common question we get:

  • If I can build a website myself using a platform like Wix or Squarespace or using a free WordPress theme, why would I pay an agency to do this for me?

So, in this blog, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons to help you make the decision that suits your business’s individual needs and budget.

Pro DIY: cost

It goes without saying that a website designed and built by yourself will be relatively cheap, or even free (if you don’t count the cost of your time). All you’ll need to do is pay for any monthly or annual fee that your DIY platform of choice may charge, and then any extras such as a custom domain name and SSL certificate. You might also incur additional costs for features, functionality and themes depending on what platform you use and what you’re looking to achieve, but most of these will be relatively affordable.

Pro DIY: time to market

Arguably, the time it takes you to create a website yourself can be relatively quick, and we’ve even spoken to novices who have been able to launch an entirely new site in the space of a single weekend. However, this does depend on which platform you opt for and how long it takes you to get to grips with it, but generally, it’s a pretty fast process.

Con DIY: best use of time

As a business owner, you have to ask yourself if creating and maintaining a website is the best use of your time. If this is something outside of your existing skillset (meaning that you have to learn how to do it as you go) or something you have to do outside of your core hours, then the answer is probably no. It’s about weighing up how much of your valuable time you’ll be spending vs how much it would cost you to get a website built by a professional freelancer or agency.

Con DIY: experience and professionalism

If you’re not an experienced web designer, then the likelihood of you creating a fast, high performing, and competitive website is unlikely. DIY websites are notable in that they’re cheap to purchase and quick to market, but this needs to weigh against how professional they look when you’re using the same template or theme as everyone else in your industry, and users are experiencing a disjointed journey. Often the value a web designer or agency brings isn’t just the user of their time; it’s their experience and expertise.

Con DIY: customer experience

In today’s market, a website isn’t just a box-ticking exercise. It’s your shop window to the world and a vital sales tool that plays a pivotal role in customer experience as a whole. Websites built by professionals are thoroughly researched, taking into consideration your audience, your competitive landscape, your needs and most importantly, the changing behaviours of today’s consumers. Delivering a website that considers each of these elements to create a seamless user experience requires a combination of knowledge and skills that can’t be learnt overnight. So, if you’re looking to create a website that stands out, converts users and positions your business as a thought leader, then we strongly recommend not tackling this alone.

If you’d like to find out more about each of the core elements of web design, then we created an eBook called ‘How to Buy Your Next Website’ which touches on all of this and will help you understand all the areas you need to consider before buying a new website. 

So, why would you outsource your web design?

As we explored above, anyone can build a website using a DIY platform such as Wix or Squarespace. But, whether or not that site is fit-for-purpose long-term is debatable.

Pro agency: expertise and quality

If you work with an agency, you’ll benefit from all the experience and skills they have internally. This is usually an entire team of people whose combined knowledge and expertise are used to develop a site that looks good, is fast, ticks all of your boxes, and delivers a quality experience. While outsourcing your project comes with a cost, you have to consider what it’s worth to have all of this expertise at your fingertips for you to take advantage of.

Pro agency: legislation and best practice

When creating a website, there are several regulations and legal requirements that you have to consider, including Data Protection (PECR and GDPR), Discrimination Law (Web Accessibility), Intellectual Property Rights (Copyright Law) and Online Advertising Law (Advertising Standards). Implementing best-practice and ensuring your website is compliant with each of these laws and others (depending on which industry you’re in and where your audience lives) is a legal requirement. So considerations around opt-in, privacy policy, data processing, accessibility, transparency, among others all need to be a part of the website creation process.

Pro agency: user experience

We touched on user experience briefly earlier, and we talk about it extensively in our blog: the importance of user experience in web design. However, UX is not something to be overlooked and is critical to the website building process. You need to understand what your users are looking for and you need to ensure that your website is designed in the best way possible if you want to convert website visitors. This means that decisions around the placement elements, text size, images, page length, calls-to-action and more all need to be thought out as opposed to just placed randomly on the screen.

Con agency: cost

The only con, and the most significant barrier for most businesses when choosing how to build their website, is cost. Hiring an agency can be expensive, especially if they choose a platform that means you can’t maintain your website yourself. This is why finding the right agency is one of the most critical aspects of buying a new website, and where you should spend plenty of time researching and asking questions. To help you with this, we produced an eBook: How to Buy Your Next Website, which you can also find at the bottom of this blog.

Con agency: time to market

Your time to market with a DIY website is relatively quick; this is because you’ll have all the decision-making power. Outsourcing to an agency means that the process will naturally take longer, this is a result of needing to get sign-off for different elements of the site as well as managing several projects at once and, lastly, because doing it right takes time. On average, a custom site can take between 100-170 hours to complete this is because of each of the web design stages that a professional agency will follow. However, some agencies (like us) provide package or template websites which have a much faster turnaround due to their simplistic nature.

The small business solution

The purchasing process is overwhelming, so we’re doing our best to produce as much content as possible to help you along the way.

It’s why we’ve developed a Website Package designed for businesses that have a tight budget, and high expectations called the Small Business Package or for those that are interested in eCommerce the eCommerce Package. These packages incorporate all the elements of a high performing custom site, without the price tag. Plus, they’re built using WordPress, which means once the site has been launched, it’s yours to keep and maintain; we’ll even provide you with training to help you along the way.

If you’d like to learn more about these packages, check out our services pages here. 

We hope you found this blog useful, and if you’d like to hear more of our marketing tips, please subscribe to our newsletter. 

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