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Web design: Should you DIY or outsource?

Everybody wants a beautifully spectacular website to represent their business online, but some people just can't decide whether they should (or shouldn't) employ a “do it yourself” mentality. The real question then, as an entrepreneur, becomes “do I design my website myself or do I pay somebody else to do it for me?”. Here while we explore the pros and cons of each option it's important to keep in mind that in the end, the option you pick will depend heavily on what you want to achieve with your website design project.

DIY website design

The good

Creating your own web page is an extremely satisfying endeavour. For the same reasons people write, sing, or paint , people build websites. BECAUSE IT IS FUN and it's also very self satisfying to increase your expertise gradually over time. Building web pages also has the added bonus of being easily found by people online, so you can get feedback on how to improve for free. Bringing us to the next point: Building your own webpage is cost effective, in that you don't have to hire a team of professionals.

If you want to build your own website, you've basically 2 options:

You can take the time to learn how HTML, CSS and JavaScript work then code your own site by hand. These technologies aren't too hard to learn, and there are many sites on the internet which will teach you how to use and understand them. The biggest benefit of this path is that hand coding gives you the maximum amount of flexibility in design and control over your website

Alternatively you could use a visual ‘drag and drop’ design package. These website builders allow you to build a website in the same way you might build a PowerPoint presentation. The biggest benefit of this option is that it gets you started quickly

The Bad

While it is very creatively empowering and cost effective to do DIY website design, it is also extremely time consuming. The time you spend on creation of your webpages is inconvenient in its own right without compounding the time you must invest in learning to utilize the different technologies associated with the design process. While option 1. Learning to and implementing coding by hand gives you ultimate flexibility, it is the most time consuming process . Often times you will come across a roadblock when trying to design your page in a specific manner and subsequently be forced to spend time researching the ways around such an obstacle. While option 2, utilizing a visual design package, Offers less flexibility, it does get you started with the design process much quicker. Yet the biggest problem with these types of all in one packages leads us into our next topic:

The Ugly

Differentiation is key to your websites ability to be offered up on search engines as a high ranking result. That is, differentiation from other websites on the internet. Often times, new designers will utilize a free template from a website, buy a template from an unreliable source, or use a template from a visual design package that ends up making their website appear too similar to another website and subsequently ends up diluting their ability to differentiate themselves in the online marketplace. There are many different search engine optimization strategies for website ranking but the truth is that most website builders just don't offer enough options to truly make your rankings hit #1 on google. These things, coupled with the fact that it might turn out to be impossible to use a specific website builder to accomplish the exact vision for your webpage that you have in your head (Forcing you to either scrap those ideas or start over using a different builder), could really hamper your progress towards reaching your goals in a timely manner.

Outsourcing your design:

Hiring a professional

The Good

Professionals have already designed, and implemented an innumerable number of websites and they know what works and more importantly, what does not work. They know where to place the important parts of your page where potential clients are more likely to be drawn, they know how to convey information to clients, they know how to make webpages that are attractive, easy to find on search engines, and many are skilled at taking your ideas and vision for your page and turning them into a reality. Most importantly, good designers do all this in an efficient timely manner, often times delivering features that you hadn't thought of or considered, but upon seeing them in action realize that it was just the thing you needed to give you an advantage over the competition. This time saving component is the key reason businesses tend to outsource their web design projects.

The Bad

Hiring a team of professionals costs money -although compared to the time you would have to invest in learning how to do it on your own it can be insignificant- and you have to be careful that once your page is designed the designers you choose offer some type of continued support , otherwise, in the future, if you need to update content on your page you might be up the creek without a paddle, so to speak.

The ugly

The unfortunate reality is that there are many companies out there that purport themselves as professionals but are really just overpriced, and under delivering. Some of them even will even try to push features that you don't necessarily need to make your website more functional, all in lieu of a bigger paycheque. Then on the other side of the coin we have the gimmicky, out of country, low balling, web design agencies, who have been known to take your money and disappear as fast as they came. Other things to watch out for are web design companies who have poor knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO), because without SEO embedded in your web pages from the start, people will not be able to find you on search engines, thus making your whole web design project moot.


In the end, both options are viable. Depending on how much time you have to spare, you may want to do your website design yourself, or If you are already busy with the everyday routine of running your business, then hiring a designer is likely a better fit for you. It's important to watch out for the ugly traps that people can fall into which ever solution you choose. That's why we as a small business work so hard to understand our clients needs. Our focus is to work with clients to make their vision a reality. We understand the difficulties of small business cash flow, as we too are a locally run small business just trying to put food on our tables and support our communities. If you would like further information on hiring a professional web design team with a locally run small business focus.

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