We are living in a day and age where doing-it-yourself is all the rage, from do-it-yourself home renovation to do-it-yourself business card design. And now most recently, we have do-it-yourself website design. The question is, is doing it yourself web design better than getting a professional web designer to do it?
In this article we will examine the advantages and disadvantages to building a website yourself.
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When building your own website with either template software you have purchased, or a free online application, you get to choose from a set collection of colours, font styles, and fancy backgrounds etc. So it is easy to fully customize the look and feel of your website, right?
Well, not so fast. No doubt you are given a selection of styles and frills, but you are falling short on your company branding. What do these styles and frills say about your branding? Does your website illustrate a recognizable and professional brand that sets you apart from your competition? The answer is no.
Web surfers can easily tell a professional website from an unprofessional one. And when given the choice, web surfers may be more inclined to trust and do business with the more professional looking company.
If you are a student, hobbyist, or the purpose of your website is personal, a do-it-yourself templated website may be the perfect solution for your needs. However, if you are a business, or you are selling a product or service, hiring a professional to create your website is a must for branding purposes and for setting yourself apart from the competition.
HTML is not that hard to learn
It’s true, basic HTML is not that hard to learn. If you have a lot of extra time and energy to pour into learning HTML, you could probably create your first webpage within a few days.
But what will that webpage look like? Professional or amateurish? Chances are your webpage will look amateurish in comparison to your competition’s, if your competition used a professional web designer.
Also, what if your code has left serious security loopholes, or your webpage displays incorrectly in some web browsers? Not everyone uses Internet Explorer. And not everyone uses a PC.
If it is important to you that your website reach a large audience – and make a positive and professional impression, then it is a good idea to hire a professional web designer. There is a reason why web programming and web design are professions.
A professional web designer can ensure that there are no security loopholes in your code, make sure users across all platforms with different browsers will see your site correctly, and ensure that search engines such as Google will be able to read your code and index your website!
Let’s compare this scenario with that of a recreational photographer: Your Uncle just bought a new professional camera. He has no experience taking photos other than candid vacation snapshots. But he has read the manual and taught himself how this new camera functions. He says he is ready to start charging people to do their wedding photos. Do you hire him to do your wedding photos? The point is, just because someone learns how to use something new, doesn’t suddenly mean they have the creativity or expertise to use it well.
A professional camera does not make a professional photographer. Just as learning to code HTML doesn’t mean your website will look professional.
So now that the HTML is out of the way, how will you create your professional looking logo and/or customize the graphics for your website? To do this you will need a graphical software program such as Photoshop.
…Is Photoshop hard to learn?
Again, if you have a lot of extra time to learn and master graphic programs such as Photoshop and learn programming languages such as HTML, designing a website yourself may be the perfect solution. Further, your new web design knowledge could be advantageous in understanding how, for example, coding and website content affects how your site will be indexed by Google or other search engines.
Saving Time and Money
If you bought a web design do-it-yourself kit, it probably seemed like an affordable and easy to use solution. Simply fill in the blanks and the program will do the rest for you. Seems quick and easy, right?
The first question you should consider is, how much money is your time worth? If you have a lot of extra time and taking on website design seems like a fun and reasonable thing to do, then this option may be right for you.
But you should keep one thing in mind before you start. What if you invest your time to create your own website and it doesn’t work properly, or it doesn’t look professional? Then what?
Let’s compare this scenario to a home renovation project: You went to Home Depot and bought new shingles for your roof. The price of the shingles were somewhat affordable and they came with a user manual – which is great because it is your first time roofing. Perfect you are on your way. So you take the time and learn how to re-shingle your roof and you complete the job. Congratulations! The only problem is that your neighbours and potential future home buyers can see that it doesn’t quite look professional… and when it rains parts of the roof leak…