DESIGNER OR DIY? WEBSITE EDITION.
The Website 101 series continues...
In the last post we talked about the difference between completely custom-coded website designs vs websites built on a platform. For today's post, we are going to talk specifically about websites built on platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Wordpress (hosted option), Showit etc. and whether you should DIY or hire a web designer to put it together for you.
When using a website-building platform, you start with a basic template. To continue the construction metaphors of previous posts, the template is kind of like the frame of the house.
The template is kind of like the frame of the house.
The basic structure of the website and the accompanying code is provided by the platform. You just provide the pictures and the text, and arrange it like you want. Kind of like how you bring your own belongings and decor into your house and put them where you want.
DIY’ing a website is totally possible these days.
These days it is totally possible to DIY a simple website if you’re willing to put in the work. Web-building platforms such as Squarespace, Showit, Weebly, Wix and Wordpress, make it easier than ever for business owners without a lick of coding knowledge to put together a simple website, though it will likely require some research and time to figure out how. There will likely be a learning curve to using the platform and if you're not very tech-savvy, it might be challenging to get the hang of it. Nevertheless, with enough time and research, you can totally do it!
Why hire a web designer to build a website on a platform for you if you can just do it yourself?
Great question! With most of my clients, they've started to DIY their website, only to find that it is more complicated and more work than they thought. They felt overwhelmed by the process or the choices.
Some can't get past choosing a template.
What template do I choose? There's so many to pick from?
Some get stuck when trying to pick fonts.
Do these fonts go together?
Some are befuddled by the web-building software.
Why is this big, blank box here and how do I get rid of it?
Some clients were completely overwhelmed by the technology and stopped altogether. Some were able to wade through the process and eventually get their website up, but when they finished it didn’t look quite as good as they imagined.
Building a beautiful, user-friendly website takes time and often some experience.
As with anything design-related, it often takes time and experience to create really beautiful, functional work. By hiring a designer, you're saving yourself the time and research, and trusting your website to someone with experience and honed design skills that can better create a beautiful website that effectively communicates your level of professionalism and expertise.
Continuing with the construction metaphors, a website designer is kind of like an interior designer.
They have the experience, the tools, the education, and a critical design eye to really create a beautiful, functional space. They may knock down some walls and switch up the layout so that it better fits the user's use of the space. They choose textures and colors and decor to all work together to create a specific mood and so that it is aesthetically pleasing. They are concerned about both function and form to fit the use of the space. And have the knowledge, experience and the tools to achieve the goals of the space. So it goes with a website designer.
They invested the time, education, experience, and tools, so they can build a functional, stunning website, that connects with users and effectively lays out your story and mission. They build your site with your specific goals and brand in mind. They make sure the layout and design details like fonts, colors and patterns, work together to communicate your brand values and accomplish your website goals. They are concerned with your customers' feelings when using your website and seek to build trust with a beautiful, professional design.
To break it down...
Pro: Cost-Effective, you have complete control over your website design-for better or worse
Con: Time-consuming, learning curve, may not come out the way you want it to
Pro: Saves you time and research, better chance it will look aesthetically pleasing and will be laid out in a way that makes sense
Con: Cost and trusting someone else to create the website of your dreams
For the DIY’ers:
There are SO many great resources out there today from blogs, to videos, to online courses that can help you pull your website together. Hopefully, this blog is also a good resource for you.
And if you go the DIY route and find yourself completely overwhelmed and frustrated, no worries, I'm here for you.