Watch CBS News

Building Your Small Business Website: DIY Builder Vs. Web Designer

If you are launching your business on a shoestring budget, you may think the cost of a web designer doesn't fit into your plan. Even if HTML and CSS look like alphabet soup to you, drag and drop website-building interfaces make it possible for non-coders to build their own websites. That may be a good option for you depending on the size of your business and your website goals. However, ease of use comes at the cost of flexibility, and a less-than-professional look to your website will drive business away. Your inexpensive DIY website then becomes rather costly.

It may be better to invest in a professional web design service to get your business online. Keep in mind that your website is part of your overall marketing plan, so position it as an expense where you expect a positive rate of return on your investment, just as you would with an ad campaign. Bringing in a pro will get the job done quicker and better than if you tackle the project yourself.

What does DIY web design involve?

Website building platforms are the quickest way to build and launch a website. They come with pre-coded templates, drag-and-drop elements and stock photos — everything you need to create a simple website. These tools are usually bundled with hosting services. Builders such as Wix and Weebly offer free options, but you will have the builders' names in your URL and their advertisements loaded onto to your website. This is fine for a hobbyist, but a business needs something more professional. For a modest monthly fee, you can have the ads removed and use your own domain. Another popular option is a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. Although the initial learning curve is steep, page builder plugins simplify the process, and site owners have multiple options for customizing with hundreds of themes and plugins available.

A web designer may cost less in the long run

When you factor in your time, or the time of an employee tasked with building your website, and the benefits of a professionally designed web presence for your business, it may make better financial sense to contract a web designer. A complex site with several pages and subpages, an online shop, or a reservation system for lodging and dining can lose function in the hands of a novice. A professional will design a site that expresses your brand and engages visitors so they stick around to learn about your business.

Doing the math

What is the best way to go? The calculation will be different for each business. Begin by thinking about what you wish to achieve with your website. Do you hope to get an edge over your local competition with a slick website? Do you plan to sell goods online? Will your website's primary function be to generate leads or sales? With goals in mind, you can determine how complex a website you need. Is the level of complexity something you and your team can proficiently handle? If yes, how many hours will be spent on website development? Place a value on this time and compare it to the cost of hiring a web designer. You may be surprised to find a professional will save you money.

This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.