With the advent of do-it-yourself website design and creation tools, you may want to design your own website. Sure, some people go to school and get a graphic design degree after putting in hundreds or thousands of hours, but anyone can create a website, right?
Well, yes. Actually, anyone can create a website. But that doesn’t mean that everyone should.
Let’s take a look at a few different questions you can ask yourself that will help you decide if making your own website is the right choice for you.
A brief history of web design
Back in the late nineties, shows like Home Improvement, Friends, and Mad About You were on the air. Beanie Babies were all the rage. And websites were built by programmers or people playing with GeoCities.
Those of us that were surfing the web back then remember the horrible animated GIFs that GeoCities sites had. If you wanted a more professional looking website, you had no choice but to hire a programmer who knew how to write code.
Ever seen a website built by a programmer with nobody else helping out? I’m not pointing any fingers, but I’ve seen some of the early websites our owner and recovering programmer Tim built, and they’re not pretty.
Before too long, the trend became to pair a programmer with a graphic designer. That was happening when T&S launched in 2003, and it’s certainly what we did early on in our history. The designer would create a great looking website using a tool like Photoshop. Then the programmer would make it actually work on the web with some coding magic.
Now we have tools specifically created to make web design easier for the average person. But before you make a decision, let’s look at some questions you need to ask yourself.
What are your goals?
If you start with the tool you’re going to use and not by asking what goals your website should help you accomplish, you’re jumping the gun.
First, ask if you really need a website. Believe it or not, you may not! Maybe you’re about to retire. Or maybe you’re only using social media right now and you’re killing it over there.
But if you do have a presence on social media, it might make sense to centralize your digital marketing with a website.
If you do need a website, what business goal do you want it to accomplish? Do you need people to find you on Google? Are you wanting potential new customers to email or call you? Are you wanting to accept payments or donations online?
Chances are good you’re not an SEO expert who knows how to help with how and where websites show up in Google. You have no idea what makes website visitors more likely to pick up the phone or fire off an email. And when it comes to creating a payment form, hooking it into a credit card processor and payment gateway, you have no idea where to even start.
Of course, you could be the type of person that can learn all of those things. But is that the best way to spend your time? If so, then great. But if not, you need to hire a professional.
What capabilities does your website need?
Next, ask yourself what capabilities your website needs. A basic website with just text and images is one thing. But if you need more, that can greatly influence whether or not you should build the website yourself.
For example, many of the websites we build and maintain for our clients utilize blogs, lead generation forms, technical and content SEO, complex forms, and much more.
Here are just a handful of capabilities we’ve helped implement in websites:
- Lead generation forms
- Technical SEO
- Content SEO
- Live product previews
- Donation forms
- Invoice payment forms
- Giveaway systems
- Social media share buttons
- Newsletter sign-up forms
The more capabilities your website needs to have, the more you should invest in it! And the more you’ll benefit from working with an expert.
What is the best website builder for small businesses?
Okay, so maybe you still want to do this all yourself. If so, you’ll want to pick the best tool for your needs. Here are some of the most reputable website builders out there that you’ll want to consider. Remember, they each have their own limitations.
- GoDaddy Website Builder
- WordPress.com (different than WordPress.org)
If you’re considering stepping into the world of web design yourself, ask yourself if you can implement the capabilities your website will need without expert help. If you can, then great! But if not, it’s time to connect with a professional digital marketing agency or individual.