There is no doubt, a website is the centerpiece to your marketing plan. In our article The 5 Must have Digital Marketing Assets for every Local Business we discussed how everything points back to your website, so it only makes sense that you would invest accordingly into having the best website you can possibly have. It stands to reason that such a critical piece of your business be entrusted to professionals. Unless your business is web design or marketing, it’s best you stick with what your’re good at.
The answer to that question is different for everyone. Let’s explore a few areas to consider in making that decision.
Keeping up with trends
A professional web designer or marketing agency lives and breathes marketing. They understand what converts and what doesn’t when it comes to your space on the web. This can save you countless hours of research, or worse still, the time of going back and fixing some innocent errors.
That said, it’s not impossible to do the research yourself. And if we’re being honest it can be a lot of fun and bring a sense of accomplishment. There are many resources out there to build websites on your own, teamtreehouse.com or codeacademy.com are two very good sites to learn about site building.
What is the reason for doing it yourself ?
We find business owners that opt to build their own websites usually do so to save money. With places like Wix, wordpress, squarespace etc, it’s not surprising. The commercials and online demos make them look super easy. And compared to just a few years ago, they are. If you want your site to look exactly like every other one out there, it is as easy as filling in a few blanks, swapping a few pictures and voila! But that is rarely the case.
The key question to ask yourself is whether the time invested into building your own website is worth it, or could you be more productive doing something else… ie: Revenue Generation.
Aesthetics / Design
You want it to look good right? But since taste is subjective, the key here is to take yourself and your opinion out of the equation. Everybody likes their own work, but what’s important is that the target consumer find it appealing and engaging enough to interact with it.
In agencies, we do this with focus groups, team meetings and years of experience. If you plan on doing this yourself, find some very trustworthy friends / associates or clients who will be honest with you and ask them how they feel about the design.
And here is the tough part… It’s difficult when someone critiques your hard work. And you can be somewhat blind to reality when you have poured 100 hours of your time into something. This is when you bear down and SHUT UP ! Don’t defend your design, but rather embrace their feedback, and adjust your approach, using your instincts to decide what feedback you keep and what falls to the cutting room floor.
The Marketing side of things.
There are many other aspects of your website that go beyond just aesthetics. If marketing is the act of attracting consumers, then being a real webmaster is the act of not only assembling this marketing channel, but also knowing how to promote it and optimize it to convert shoppers into buyers. Some areas you will want to consider researching thoroughly are.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEO/PPC)
- Social Media Marketing
- Sales Copywriting
- Mobile/Responsive Design
- Website Analytics
- Consumer Psychology/Behavior
Site Repairs and Maintenance
Once everything is said and done, you want to make sure you have the right skills and tools to make sure your website is properly maintained. Software & plugin updates are the most common items, but also ensuring links you have built are intact. Again, a few hours of being snuggled up with google and youtube should help a lot.
There are many other reason that could go in the for or against category. But the most important thing is to make sure you are looking at every angle and not just to save a few dollars. In the end, a poorly designed and build website could cost you thousands of dollars, so take that into consideration when making your decision. If you have a keen eye for design and the willpower to fight through a sometimes confusing process… Building your own website can sometimes be a fun and satisfying experience.
At the end of the day, the best recommendation I can make is to consult with a few firms about your vision and get quotes on making it become reality. Then do some research, check some DIY message boards and see what’s involved in bringing your vision to reality yourself… Then you can weigh the two.