So, you need a website for your business.
You’ve hustled your way through the product development process and it’s time to hit the market.
You’re tossing up whether to attempt to build the website yourself or outsource it. And you’ve done a quick Google search only to find out that there are a huge variety of options to use to build your website. And of course, hundreds of websites full of businesses wanting to build the website for you.
Now it’s up to you to decide whether to drop a few grand on enlisting the services of a professional to build the site or attempt to go it alone. Well, we know that feeling, so we thought we’d take some time to explore your options and help guide you in your decision.
Pros and Cons of DIY
Before we get into the variety of platforms you could use for your website, let’s talk about the pros and cons of DIY website development. Of course, the biggest factor you need to consider is the price tag. Hiring a professional to develop a website for you can cost anything from $1,000 to $10,000. The total cost will depend on what your needs are; if you’re just after a bare-bones, informative website and you’re happy to use an existing template, you can get it done pretty cheap. Although if you’re after a complex, customised website with ecommerce capabilities, you’re looking at a much pricier project.
If you decide to take on the project yourself, you will most definitely save money in the short-term. And you will have full control over the website and its layout. It is your business after all. You know it better than anyone else, so building the website yourself may be the best way to truly showcase your business.
On the other side of the coin, you may find that taking on the project yourself ends up taking a lot longer than you initially expected. While most website builders are quite easy to use, customising certain elements of it can be difficult to work out. And unfortunately, if you build a DIY website that looks like a DIY website, it can seriously cut into your sales. Very few customers will put up with a poor website, which means that they’re unlikely to buy anything from it.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your needs and your budget. If you have the time and don’t need a complex website, you might be better off doing it yourself. Or if you’re short of time but in need of a powerful ecommerce website, it might be best to enlist the help of a professional.
If you decide to take on the project yourself, you should definitely take a look at wix.com. There are hundreds of customisable templates to start with, so you won’t need to start with a blank page. There are also a wide range of free and paid apps that you can add to your site, including analytics, a web chat and ecommerce capabilities. They do offer a free plan, but you won’t be able to use your own domain. Yet that means you can use the free plan to build your website and upgrade to an affordable premium package when you’re ready to go live.
If you ever try to transfer your website away from Wix, you will find it to be quite difficult. They haven’t made it easy to transition between hosting platforms. And unfortunately, you will have Wix branded ads on your website if you opt for one of the cheaper packages. Regardless, it is one of the most cost-effective, easy-to-use DIY website builders out there.
If you’re one to judge quality based on popularity, you can’t go past Wordpress, seeing as it now powers a third of the worlds internet. The service comes in two forms; wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Wordpress.org is the self-hosted side of the service, which has a free, open source website builder. This allows you to have much more control over your website compared to Wix. There are thousands of ready-made Wordpress themes and you can access over 50,000 free WordPress plugins; allowing you to add, chop and change as many different website elements as you like. You will, however, need to take care of your own website hosting.
WordPress.com is a hosting service that utilises the WordPress.org tools. There are a range of relatively affordable packages that take care of software and backups on top of offering the WordPress tools. The website builder is customised based on the package you purchase and is designed to be extremely accessible.
Or if ecommerce functionality is what you’re after, Shopify may just be your go-to option. The platform has been built specifically for online stores and has its own integrated payment solution called Shopify Payments. The advantage of Shopify is that it comes with full inventory management, unlimited product, stat tracking and in-built marketing functions. It’s easy to use even for the technologically inept and can even be integrated into other platforms such as Wordpress.
Shopify will be a little bit pricier than other platforms, with the cheapest package being $29 a month, and just like Wix, you’ll struggle to move your website elsewhere if you try. But if you’re building a website to function as an online store, you need to give some serious consideration to Shopify.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. We’ve just hand-picked three of the most popular tools out of a massive range of options. There’s Weebly, Squarespace and GoDaddy just to name a few.
While there’s no doubt that WordPress is the most popular tool in the world to build websites, it has its drawbacks. If your technical skills aren’t up to scratch, you may be better off using Shopify or Wix. It all boils down to the specific elements you need for your website, your budget and your skill set.
If you’re unsure which one is best for you, or whether you should even be building your website yourself, shoot us a message.
We can guide you in the right direction!