The Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Website Vs. Hiring a Web Design Agency
Written by John Kennedy on August 26, 2020
You don’t have to be a professional coder or computer whiz to build your own website in 2020. DIY website building platforms such as Wix, Weebly, Shopify, Shogun, and Squarespace make it possible for anyone to create their own website using premade design templates, drag-and-drop editing, simple content publishing, and other coding-free features.
That leaves many small business owners and startup entrepreneurs wondering, “Should I pay a professional web design agency to build my website, or should I take a swing at it myself?”
Plenty have chosen the latter. Wix now has over 180 million users. However, that doesn’t mean 180 million people have built effective business websites using the platform. Remember: you aren’t building a website just to have one, but rather to accomplish certain business objectives.
A well-made website can give your business credibility, work for you 24/7, help you to be found by potential customers, collect information from leads, make sales, and more. A poorly made website can negatively impact your credibility and cost you more than what it’s worth.
If you’re not sure which route to take, we created this “pros and cons” list to help you weigh your options and decide what’s right for your unique situation.
The Pros & Cons of Building Your Own Website
Potentially saves money
For many small business owners, the most attractive thing about using a DIY website builder is the cost. Most have free basic plans and more advanced professional plans typically in the $20-$30/month range. If your needs are basic and you’re not looking for anything too complex or customized, the DIY route can potentially save you a lot of money.
However, you can still rack up significant expenses using a DIY website builder. For example, you can create a simplistic WordPress site for around $100, but if you want to use a premium theme template and add plugins to give your site better functionality, you could end up spending anywhere from $500 to upwards of $3,000. When you factor that cost in with the value of your personal time spent doing the work, it’s possible to exceed the cost of hiring a pro.
Full creative control
When you work with a professional website building service, you put your trust in them to make your vision a reality. What you get may not be exactly what you pictured in your mind. When you are building your own website, you have total control over every choice and every detail.
Most website design agencies will welcome your feedback throughout the process and allow revisions, but there are limits to how much time they can put into edits. When you’re doing it yourself, you can try out different things to see what you like and don’t like. The number of revisions you can do is only limited by the amount of time you are willing to put into it.
Also, nobody knows your business better than you do. When it comes to producing accurate content and developing a brand identity that speaks to your target audience, it can be a challenge to communicate your wishes to someone else. If you have a very specific vision and don’t want to compromise on anything, you may want to do it yourself.
It can potentially take a long time
While it’s totally possible to build a basic DIY website in just a few hours, it can take much longer if your vision includes advanced technical features, extensive content, etc. It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew and end up putting a ton of time into a website that doesn’t really meet your needs. You should think about how much money your time is worth to you and how complex you want your site to be before you take a chance with DIY website building.
You may not be able to get all the features you want
You may have a vision for all the capabilities you want your website to have, but whether or not you can accomplish that vision on your own is dependent on how easily you can learn and how much time you are willing to put into the learning process. Advanced marketing tools, SEO features, and custom designs may be out of reach for the average DIYer. Truly unique customizations may not be possible on DIY platforms.
You’ll have to manage and monitor it yourself
All websites will eventually run into technical issues and you’ll have to monitor yours closely to know when something goes wrong. Also, if you want analytical data regarding your website traffic and visitor behavior, you’ll be responsible for keeping track of it. Some professionals will give you your website and go, but many will offer ongoing monitoring and maintenance to ensure performance and help you stay on track to achieve your goals.
Typically, the end result is somewhat generic
The bottom line is that DIY website builders have limitations. The more customization you want, the harder it’s going to be to do it yourself.
The Pros & Cons of Working with a Professional Web Design Agency
You’ll get help from experts in different fields
If you are working with a professional web design agency, they will have a team with diverse expertise working on your project. That means you’re paying for collaboration between professional web developers, graphic designers, content writers, search engine optimization (SEO) experts, user experience specialists, digital marketing specialists, etc.
All of these skills take years of education, training, and work experience to master. It would be nearly impossible to develop all of these skills yourself, and it certainly can’t come overnight. The final product that an expert team can come up with together tends to be much more effective than what any one person could produce on their own.
You can get more advanced features
If you want truly unique functionality and design, there’s no getting around using HTML and CSS. A professional company will have the capabilities to include more complex features such as:
- Advanced Data Tracking/Analytics
- Search Engine Optimization
- High-Quality Photo Gallery
- Superior Security Features
- Appointment Booking Calendar
- Lead Collection or Newsletter Signup
- Downloadable Content
- Video Content
- Live Chat
- + More
You can get ongoing support and assistance
Many website design companies will offer ongoing support for a monthly fee, which involves monitoring your site for technical issues, tracking and analyzing data that can help you improve, and making edits when you need them. This can be a huge advantage if you don’t have the time or the technical knowledge to monitor your website by yourself. Data tracking is the only way to accurately measure your results.
The end result will most likely be better than what you could’ve done yourself
In most cases, you can tell the difference between a DIY site and a professional site. Pro websites are more detailed, more original, and more functional. They also tend to perform better in terms of loading speed and mobile responsiveness.
There are thousands of options and you will need to shop around
The hardest part of working with a professional web design company is choosing the right one. There are thousands of agencies and freelance web developers out there and not all of them are worth what they charge. You will have to do some shopping around to find an agency that does what you’re looking for and offers options that match your budget. Getting stuck with the wrong company can result in thousands wasted and a website that doesn’t help your business grow.
It can be expensive
The price range for a custom website built by professionals is wide, and depending on what you’re looking for, it can get pricey. According to an article on average web design costs by Tech.co, a simple, brochure-style website with just a few pages will typically cost around $500 upfront, while a large-scale website with advanced analytical and data tracking capabilities can cost $10,000+ upfront. Of course, these are just estimates and the cost will vary significantly between different agencies and depending on the scope of your project.
You are probably not their only client
A web design agency might not be able to give you their full, undivided attention because they are simultaneously working with other clients. A 4-hour task could potentially take several days if they are having to schedule it in alongside several other projects. This also depends on the size of the agency and the resources they have.
There are notable advantages and disadvantages that come with either option. Your decision should depend on your needs, goals, budget, and timeframe. So, ask yourself these questions before you start building DIY or looking for a professional web developer:
- What type of website do I want?
- What features are necessary for my website?
- How much time do I have to work on it?
- What is my skill level/comfort level with web design?
- What is my budget?
If you are considering working with a web design agency, talk to an expert at Plum and find out if our services match your needs. We build responsive custom websites with a wide variety of options and pricing plans to help businesses with different budgets.