Thanks to the rise of online website builders, it is easier than ever for even non-techies to develop a website that establishes an online presence without the need to hire a professional. However, just because you can do it yourself, doesn’t mean you should. Let’s take a look at the factors that go into deciding the best choice for your website development, keeping in mind that what a professional brings to the table can’t always be provided by an online tool.
Look At the Options
Popular website options for the DIY set include Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, among others. These website builders offer the least expensive path to a simple website through the use of their visual page editors and user friendly components. They usually include hosting options and domain name registration. Unlike more powerful and flexible systems like WordPress though, they are fairly limited and are therefore best for suited for simple, straightforward website designs that don’t require a lot of change.
WordPress, the most popular content management system, is more complicated to use, and many entrepreneurs will hire a professional to help them get over the learning curve. Time is money, so the option to hire someone to set up a website in WordPress that is customized for their needs is a strong draw. WYSIWYG interface knowledge and some coding skills are required to get desired results, therefore it is better suited to someone who is familiar with some HTML code, but the results are strong and customizable. Finding a web hosting service and the registration of your domain are up to you, but thousands of themes and plugins are available to really make your website your own.
Finally, there is the option to hire a professional, tell them what you need, and let them figure it out from there. The professional web developer will look at your overall marketing plan and align your website to your greater vision. This is by far the most expensive option, ranging from a few thousand dollars into the $100,000 range, but you get what you pay for, and the investment will be worth every penny.
Look At Your Needs
To narrow down the options, determine what kind of site best serves your business. A good way to showcase your mission, explain your services, and share basic information is by using a brochure site. Just like a brochure, it is simple, with maybe a video or two to give your company credibility. If you’ll be dealing in financial transactions, an e-commerce site will handle payment processing and product processing, but this web design is more complicated than the brochure site. Lastly, if your website itself is your business, you’ll need a wide array of web applications to manage your website and its content. These apps should be entrusted to a professional, since the maintenance and upkeep of your site are the lifeblood of your business. Likewise, if your website requires a hybrid design, such as combining e-commerce and several application functions, you’ll want a professional to process the numerous requests and information handling that will be going through your site. If more than 40% of your business is generated by your website, look into hiring a professional.
Look At Your Skillset
Needless to say, if you know your way around code, the sky’s the limit. For the rest of us, website builders will suffice to build the simplest of sites with straightforward functionality in the shortest amount of time. WordPress requires a bit more know-how in basic web hosting and HTML, but it yields more flexibility and customization with its plugins. The WordPress community is a great resource to get you started and on your way. With both of these options, you are in charge of the content, layout, and design.
Look At Your Budget
Depending on which route you take, your website may cost you from $50 to more than $5,000 a year. An e-commerce site will cost more, since it is more complicated. Comprehensive builder packages may cost $300 a year, and a developer on retainer may be $7,500 a year or more. The cost goes up for special functions like real-time inventory tracking or product categories. Compare value with cost when shopping around for a website developer, and ask plenty of questions.
Make Your Choice
In short, if your business relies on custom apps, expects to generate significant revenue from the website, or if you’re not comfortable with website builders, you’ll need expert guidance to maximize your website design. Our team of experts will take into account your business model, your vision, and your marketing strategy and tailor a website built to fit your needs.
Be assured of a significant ROI on your investment in your website; give Planet Media a call for a no obligation, project cost analysis at 303-895-8460.