As the founder and president of an Alberta web design and development company, I've had the old do-it-yourself (DIY) versus professional web design conversation with new clients and others more times than I can count. Restricted by budgets or thinking a web development project could be a 'fun' challenge, business owners and organization leaders can be tempted by free web design tools, like those from Weebly and GoDaddy, to build their own sites.
There are, however, many benefits to choosing the professional web design route over the do-it-yourself option, the biggest one being that a professionally designed, built and managed web presence is always far superior to anything a novice could create from a canned template in little more than a Saturday. I'm sure you're probably thinking "of course a web designer would say it's best to go with a pro," but by the end of this 3-part blog series, I'm sure you'll agree with what I have to say.
In this first post, I'm going to share some of the general pros and cons of DIY and professional web design.
What Free Web Design and Development Tools Offer
Weebly and GoDaddy are two of the online web development tools that are available. While others exist, like the ever-popular WordPress, Weebly and GoDaddy are pretty popular amongst those with very little technical skill, because as 'GoDaddy' puts it, they're designed so that "anyone can build a website." Whether or not just anyone should build a website is a whole other story and something which I hope to address here.
Here are a few of the most common reasons people go the DIY web development route and choose to use tools like Weebly, GoDaddy and others:
- It's cheap: With Weebly or GoDaddy, you can build a very basic site for nothing or spend a few dollars a month for more options or add-ons.
- It's fast: For good or ill, you could build a basic site with one of these tools in an afternoon or less, depending on your level of skill.
What Professional Web Design Can Offer that Free Tools Can't
To work with a professional web design team - people who eat, sleep and breathe this stuff - it obviously requires a larger investment of money than it does when you choose to build a site yourself. Of course, every Alberta web design company is different, but generally speaking, for businesses and organizations that don't just want an online presence but the chance to make powerful first impressions, to generate new leads and sales, inform, convert and keep customers/members engaged, professional web design is always worth the investment.
These are just some of the many ways you will benefit when you entrust your web development project to professionals:
- You get what you want and need: while the DIY option typically means that you choose from a series of canned templates and likely won't be able to change or add to your site in the future, as the needs of your business or organization change, a web development team can design and build a site that looks and functions exactly as you want it to.
- Sophistication: It isn't difficult to tell the difference between a site that was created by an amateur and one designed and built by a team of gurus with the creativity, skills and experience necessary to provide quality graphics/logos, professionally-written copy, a logical and high-converting layout, a desktop and mobile friendly user experience - and the list goes on.
- Ongoing support and/or maintenance: While do-it-yourselfers will be left to troubleshot problems or maintain their sites themselves, those who invest in web development with a company like Saltmedia will have the ongoing support that a powerful web presence requires.
- Time: To put it simply, anyone who is already running a business or organization doesn't have the time to build a website, especially not one that will do them any justice. Time is money and investing in professional web design is definitely a better use of both.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of DIY and professional web design and development. Specifically, I'll be discussing the benefits of working with a team of gurus as far as branding and/or marketing and looks and function are concerned.