Most businesses need a website at some point in their evolution. To the average person with no technical background, the process of building a website can seem nebulous. Even people with a background in technology can become daunted by the task of developing a website. The amount of planning involved is extensive and requires thinking ahead.
With an emphasis on beautiful design and cool features, many business owners want to follow the latest trends, but that may not be necessary. Depending on what goals you want your website to accomplish, you might be better off creating a simple design on your own instead of paying for a $10,000 custom WordPress project.
Below are five reasons to reconsider hiring a professional website developer, and build your own website instead.
1. Hiring a professional designer can be expensive
The main reason hiring a professional web designer can be expensive is not because their rates are unreasonable, but because website development projects almost always go over budget. This isn’t just a mistake on the part of the developer, but is part of the way website projects tend to evolve.
It’s not unheard of for the scope of a project to change multiple times during the development process, and therefore extend the project in time and cost.
Where it gets frustrating
It’s common for someone to approve their developer’s plans and change their mind later. Unfortunately, due to the amount of time it takes to develop infrastructure to support the specific functions of a website, sometimes what looks like a minor change to the client is actually a large change that requires the developer to start over.
When you hire a developer, they’re going to design the infrastructure based on what you’ve discussed. If you change your mind about certain aspects of the project, it’s going to cost you more time and money. If you haven’t fully developed your business, you can be sure that your website needs will change, so you may want to wait before spending a good chunk of change.
If you are absolutely certain you’re ready to have your website built professionally, then, by all means, hire a developer to build it for you. If, however, you are still in the planning stages, your best move is to wait on hiring a professional until you’re ready.
2. You can make a free WordPress theme look beautiful
If you’re going to use WordPress to build your website, as many people do, you may want to consider hiring a professional developer not to build your website, but to customize an existing free theme. Doing this will save you the time and frustration you may experience trying to do it yourself.
There are many beautiful, free themes available to download, and plenty of freelancing websites you can access to find a developer to customize it for you.
3. You can design your own non-WordPress website
WordPress may be the most popular platform for self-built websites, but it’s not the only option. Many entrepreneurs have caught on to the fact that just about everyone wants to build their own website and bypass hiring a professional, so they’ve created do-it-yourself platforms.
While some of these DIY platforms work in a web browser, others require you to download software to your computer with an internet connection to publish. Some are free and others cost a small amount of money.
PageCloud is by far the easiest, and most innovative DIY website platform. For a monthly fee, this platform allows you to actually design your own website — not just recycle the same templates others are using. You can drag and drop elements and position them anywhere on the page. You can also quickly copy existing layouts you like and just replace the content and images. You don’t need to know or even see a piece of HTML to accomplish this.
Sometimes basic is better
You don’t need WordPress to build a good website. And you don’t need to build a fancy website, either. You can build a basic website with a clean design and good typography. The purpose of a website is not to wow people with flashy features, but to capture their attention and get them to take the action you want them to take.
It’s possible to build a simple website that stands out simply by creating a header image that grabs attention with visuals and typography, like in this example from the Grooves, an Austin-based band. In the 1990s, everyone created header images for their websites that conveyed a message to the visitor. Today, headers consist of the same boring stock photos of people in business suits and headsets. Since it’s the first thing people see, if you can get your message across in the header with good typography, you’re doing really well.
4. You may have to rebuild your website later
When you hire a professional website developer, they’re going to build your website according to their preferences and abilities. Not all developers share the same skills and knowledge. And sometimes developers build websites on platforms that are familiar to them, but difficult for others to use.
All things considered, you aren’t likely to maintain a working relationship with the same developer forever. Eventually, you’ll be on your own for updates. And if you have the resources to hire a dedicated, in-house developer, don’t be shocked when they tell you your website is built on a terrible platform and they need to redesign it from scratch before they can make the changes you’ve requested. This can take weeks and even months to complete.
Umbraco, a popular UK based CMS, is the perfect example of how you can build a beautiful website on a complex platform that isn’t user-friendly. Umbraco may be user-friendly to those who have the patience to spend months learning how to use it, but not to those who want to be able to open a page, edit content, and click to publish it.
This doesn’t mean you should never hire a professional website developer, but you should be aware that if you do, and you are uninformed about the limitations of the CMS they want to use, there is a possibility that your website will be built on a platform that will create problems later.
5. Developers don’t always know your market
A great example of a website that doesn’t need any bells and whistles is Steve Pavlina’s blog called Personal Development For Smart People. Steve built his website very simply, yet it accomplishes all of his intentions. His market is people who just want to consume high-quality content.
He doesn’t allow comments because he wants people to take action in their own lives. And despite his 10,000 per day unique visitors, Steve isn’t interested in generating revenue from Adsense or any other ad platform.
If Steve hired a professional developer to build his website, they would have had a completely different picture in mind.
Wait until you’re ready
Developers can be a great asset to your business under the right circumstances, but if you’re not ready to launch your business or you’re still in the development stages, it would benefit you to wait until your business is fully developed to hire a developer – that way, you don’t spend time and money before you really need to.