So, you have decided you need a new website. You are not sure whether to pay someone or build it yourself. I’m hoping this article will help you understand the areas where you may need help and help you decide if you can DIY or if you need help.
There are four areas you need to consider when building a website.
1. Planning and strategy
Planning your website is the very first area to focus on when you want to build a website. You need to be really honest with how much help you need in this area. It’s easy to think you have a detailed enough plan but is it on paper and could someone build your site if you gave them the plan?
Your website plan should be created in enough detail that someone can build your website just by following the plan.
In most cases, your plan won’t be enough.
If you are building your site yourself and your plan is weak, you will end up wasting lots of time dithering and changing your mind as you build it.
If you are paying for someone else to build it, they will need clarification and, depending on their experience, may have an opinion on your plan.
Good web designers / developers will be able to guide you on your planning. The less experienced will accept your plan and build whatever you ask them to build. This is one distinction between cheap and not cheap web designers. Cheap, you will have to tell them exactly what you want. Not cheap, they will help you create a website plan.
If you are building your website yourself, who helps you with your plan? How do you know what to put on your website and whether or not it’s good enough?
If you are not sure what needs to go into your plan start here >> read this post on website planning here.
If you are building your own website my website planning workshop is a great place to start.
2. Website Branding & Design
Do you need help with the branding and design aspects of your website?
When I say branding and design aspects I mean branding guidelines, voice, logo, fonts, colour schemes, page layouts, image selection etc.
An experienced branding / web designer will help you with…
- How to layout parts of your website
- How to modify images so they contrast well with your text
- How to select images so they fit with your branding
- How to use white space
- How to avoid cluttering up your website
- How to select and use a colour palette
If you want to design your own website just using website theme isn’t enough. You still need a good idea of how you will layout your pages and how you will use images and colour.
My big tip if you are a website DIY-er is to get inspiration from other websites. If you are doing it yourself don’t try to reinvent the ‘design’ wheel., stick with simple designs that you can replicate.
If you want unique and fancy and you have the budget then by all means go with a designer but if you DIY then stick with simple.
3. Website build
In the world of websites, the designer is not always the builder.
In fact, the only time you want the designer to be the builder is when they understand how to build technically sound websites. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Some people want nothing to do with their website build. They want someone else to build, manage and maintain the whole thing.
Some people want to build their website so they understand how to update it.
It’s up to you to decide what scenario fits with you. Are you happy with a technical challenge or would you rather pay someone else?
4. Website Maintenance and Updates
Whether you build your website or someone else builds it, you will always need it to be updated.
If you don’t learn how to make updates your self then you will always need to rely on someone to make changes to your website.
This means changes can become expensive and take a lot more time than you expected. Some designers offer to host and maintain websites but this isn’t always a good idea. See my article on why your designer shouldn’t update your website.
If you never think your website will change, that’s ok. But if you plan on being visible on line and using your website to find more new customers then your website will need to be regularly updated and modified.
You will need to implement lead generation tactics, add email list sign up forms, add landing pages if you want to use paid traffic, add services pages or events. Your website should always reflect your business. If your businesses isn’t changing then there’s a chance it isn’t growing.
All businesses go through periods of change.
If your website can’t keep up then you are missing out on a valuable marketing channel.
So, do you need help with updating and maintaining your website?
If you have read through these areas and still think website DIY is right for you, then take a look at my workshops. I will help you plan, build and maintain your own WordPress website. these workshops are people who are ready for the challenge!