Designing your own website may sound simple, and it certainly seems that everyone and their neighbour has created one for their blog or small business; but is it really as easy or as cost-effective as it seems? Let’s explore whether this option is right for your business.
What factors do I need to consider before deciding whether to create my own website?
Websites today are far more complex than they used to be. They need to be updated frequently in order to remain abreast of modern usability, accessibility, and search engine visibility best practices. Do you have a lot of extra time to dedicate to continually learning about new technologies/strategies and to weighing their potential impact on your business? Do you also have time to frequently make the changes that will improve your results? If not, you may just end up losing more money than you save by falling behind your competitors.
If you do have extra time, keep in mind that website building platforms are usually built with very complex backend programming and tend to update their features at a far slower pace than that of a web developer. If you are in a competitive industry, these delays may put your business behind.
Potential Pitfalls and Specialized Knowledge
There are countless combinations of devices, platforms and browsers that websites are viewed on these days, and not one is less important than another. Your website will need to be able to adapt its visual layout and content to best suit each combination. Unless you acquire a full range of knowledge in this area, from planning, to implementation, to testing, you may end up losing a large portion of potential customers who are turned off by a lack of perceived credibility, or are simply unable to view your website on their device. It’s a multi-screen cross-platform world, and users expect the same high-quality experience no matter which device they are using to search for your business or access your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and web coding efficiency are also very important factors in the success of a website. These and many others areas (e.g. website security, page-speed optimization, customer journey maps, conversion rate optimization, split testing, etc.) can’t be ignored; at least without doing more harm than good. Many of these fields change daily and require constant supervision, a boatload of specialized knowledge, and plenty of practice. Many of these factors come with potentially permanent penalties to your business if done wrong (e.g. search engine penalties), so it is very important to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Who is the DIY route right for?
If you are running a small personal blog or a very small home-based business in your spare time, creating your own website may be a great option – the short-term cost is low, and many of the drawbacks may not apply since you aren’t in a competitive space. However, if you are starting a serious business, it’s important that you take your website seriously. That goes for your brand, your brand’s visual identity (e.g. logo, sales and networking material, stationery, etc.), and your marketing too. How can we expect others to invest in our business if we won’t?
Let’s explore some of the benefits and competitive advantages gained by hiring a professional to build your website.
What are the advantages of hiring a web design agency to create my website?
Gain a Competitive Edge
Web designers are continually looking for ways to stay ahead of trends and are always aware of new and innovative developments in the industry. This results in a website that is always topical, appealing to visitors, and that contains all of the latest technologies and strategies that have been tested and shown to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and user-appeal of your website. Investing a little bit in your website on a regular basis will give your business the competitive edge it needs to see an excellent return on investment.
Continual Business Growth
Continually trying to come up with new and engaging content that attracts visitors and keeps them coming back requires extensive research, copywriting skills, digital marketing expertise, and practical knowledge of search engine optimized and conversion-focused content writing. A full-service web design company will have experts in each of these fields who will be able to tackle each element for you; cutting down your workload considerably. If it’s not done properly, it won’t be seen and it won’t help your business. Using the services of a professional is well worth the investment.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
A web design company will be able to make your website effective on all browsers, mobile devices, and platforms. This is usually child’s play for them, but potential tech torture for you! This results in a website that strengthens the perceived credibility of your brand and that can be accessed by all of your potential customers, even while on the move.
With today’s rapidly evolving technologies and the ever-changing forces that act upon your website (e.g. search engine algorithm updates, programming language advancements, etc.), problems with your website will inevitably occur at some point. While some of them may be easy to fix, others may require many hours of research, trial and error, analysis of hundreds of lines of code, or even a customized solution. Seasoned professionals in web design will be able to fix issues far quicker than you would, and the quicker a problem is fixed, the quicker your site can be up and running again.
Save Money and Gain Value
You could even see yourself saving money by hiring a web design agency because the time and cost involved in learning and carrying out everything that is required to make a successful website may end up being more than it would have had you hired a professional from the beginning. Not only that, the quicker your site is up and running, the quicker you can gain visitors and secure potential customers.
Digital Lion is a design and marketing agency specializing in website development, online marketing, graphic design, branding/logo design, video animation, and print marketing design. Headquartered in Calgary, and with a second location in Edmonton, they work with clients across Canada, as well as worldwide, and are focused on being environmentally friendly and giving back to charities that they are passionate about. The company mission is to “Design a Better World®.”