Every year, hundreds of thousands of new small businesses are registered. In 2020, each of these small business, in order to be competitive, needs an online presence. Sometimes, that presence can exist solely on social media. But for most of us, our business is best represented by it’s own website. Professional websites can be a major investment, but there are services like Squarespace and Weebly that let you build your own DIY website for a much lower cost. The question is, when is it necessary to invest in a professionally-built website, and when is it reasonable to go the DIY route? By answering six questions, you can determine this for your business.
What is the scope of your business?
What does your website need to do? Is it sharing basic information, selling goods, or organizing data? How interactive is it? How complex does it need to be? The less functionality your website requires, the more likely it is that you can create a DIY page.
If your website is mostly a blog, this is something that most people can handle on their own. They make the updates themselves with no middleman, and don’t require a high level of branding, personalization, or functionality.
However, if you marketplace requires functionality, specific branding, or interactive tools like online contracts or online account access, you need to invest in professional web development. If you are taking data and information from your audience, you need to know the site is secure and that user experience will be solid.
What is the level of competitor websites?
In order to launch a website, not to mention a new business, you have to research your competition. Search for websites with a similar business model and offerings, and comb through their website. Analyze what they offer potential clients as far as information, organization, usability, and responsiveness. Check out the advanced visual effects of the website.
Acess the best and worst parts of competitor sites and consider how you would create your own website. Sometimes a professional web designer’s most important use is helping you create a unique digital brand that doesn’t resemble other businesses. They can also keep your technology at or above the level of your competitors.
If your competition has a robust and sophisticated website, then you most likely need to work with a team that can create and manage a quality site. However, if you have little competition or if your competition doesn’t have a great online presence, you can start with a basic DIY site.
Who is your audience?
As you research competitors, you also need to research your audience. What are the expectations of this demographic? What style and layout do they often find familiar and appealing?
There is a different standard if you are selling a simple product to dog lovers, or if you are selling an app to tech industry insiders. If you are blogging for moms, or for travel enthusiasts.
Know your audience well enough to know what information will be of the most value to them, what level of usability they prefer, how much time they spend online, the aesthetic they will find most appealing, the ways in which they might search for your product. The standards and needs of your potential customers will help you know how high-tech your website needs to be.
What skills does your existing team have?
What skills and knowledge does your existing team have? If you have someone that is familiar with coding or website development, you may be able to leverage those skills.
If you or your team have built sites before and are already are familiar with the time required, the pitfalls and holdups, and the resources needed, then building your site yourself is a great option.
If this is a totally new skill to everyone, you may find that it’s worth employing professionals to get you up and running properly.
What’s Your Budget?
Budget is a major consideration. If you run an established business, or have access to startup capital, it’s well worth it to devote the money required for a professionally built site. Further, it’s worth it to have the site managed to make sure updates are performed properly and the site is secure.
However, if you are starting from scratch with little funding, a DIY site may be the only way to go. Luckily, many website builders offer tiered pricing so you can just pay for the services you need. Plus, you can build a basic site, and then graduate to a professional site when your business begins making money. However, most DIY sites don’t allow you to retain the rights to what you’ve created, so when you move on to a more advanced site, you will have to recreate everything. Most people, however, find that they are ready for enough advancements that this is well worth it.
What is the Timeline?
Many DIY website builders face a problem with perfection. When building a site yourself, it’s easy to feel like the site is never good enough. Many people just don’t have adequate time, especially with the demands of starting a new business, to pull off the vision that they have in their heads of their completed website.
Professional website developers are very up-front about the time and cost to complete your vision, and have the experience to be accurate in their estimates. They also have the resources to complete updates and solve problems in a timely fashion.
Investing in a Professionally-Built Website
After considering the above, you most likely know the best route for your business. One final consideration is this: let’s say you have the time, most of the skills, and the vision to create your own site. The question is, will you? Will you actually make the time in the immediate future to get through the frustrations and difficulties? If you will, great, then do it now.
If you have a list a mile long of other things you have to get to first, then bite the bullet and employ professionals. Intrix Media provides any and all digital services, including branding, web development, and hosting. Let us work with you to create a website you will love.