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value and price puzzle pieces

Is a professional website worth the cost?

Just about every business needs a website. Everyone knows that, but with all of the DIY tools out there, is it worth paying a professional to build your company’s site?

Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and WordPress are just some of the companies that offer do it yourself website building tools to anyone with some time and a little bit of money. Let’s look at the pros and cons of taking it upon yourself to build and maintain your site versus hiring a professional.

Control Over Web Design

If you build your own website, you have direct control over the look and content, but you are limited by the templates and parameters of whatever DIY service you are using.

In order to make it faster and easier for customers to use their service, all DIY site builders lean towards giving you a pre-designed template for you to plug your content into. Some allow you to build from scratch, but most people choose the more time-efficient templates.

If you use a professional web designer, you may not have the direct access to make changes to your site whenever you want, but you will have a much wider range of options in the design.

A professional will know how to make your site look exactly the way you want it, and knows you may not want something that is just a slight variation of a thousand other sites. They are not limited by templates, and a web design pro has spent the time developing their craft. Time that you may not have when running your business is your primary concern.

A professional web designer can also save you from accidentally wasting valuable hours trying out slightly different themes, colors, etc. They can help you focus the time you spend thinking about the site into a short meeting, instead of spending hours in front of a screen trying to figure out what colors work best together.

The time you may spend waiting for them to present their work to you should be far less than the time you would spend making little tweaks to your site whenever you get an itch.

Cost, Time and Quality

One of the surface benefits with using a DIY site is cost. In business, the bottom line can be everything, so it is tempting to go with a service that only costs a little each month, instead of paying a professional what he or she is worth.

However, time is money, and your time, as a business owner, is much better spent focusing on the myriad aspects of improving that business, not focusing only on your web presence. It might make more sense to spend a little more money on someone whose profession it is to focus on such things.

Depending on your level of web design knowledge, there can be a steep, and time consuming, learning curve to building and maintaining websites.

A helpful analogy is to think of making a sign for your business. After all, a website is like a sign in the digital world, advertising yourself and attracting customers. You can go to a store and get some wood and spray paint, and make a sign yourself, but would that sign represent the level of professionalism and attention to detail that you want to convey to your customers?

Probably not.

Time vs Money

Time is a subset of cost, because, as we all know, time is money. Unlike the sign analogy, a website isn’t something that you can, or should, just put out there and forget about until weathering calls for a new one a few years from now.

Websites demand almost constant maintenance, whether it be updating online inventory, generating and maintaining traffic and interest with blog posts, or keeping up with the latest technology and standards in online traffic.

Considering this, how much of your time are you willing to commit to just your web presence?

Would your time be better spent elsewhere, managing personnel, negotiating with other companies, planning financial strategies, or any of the other, ever-evolving tasks you have as a business owner?

A successful business owner knows how to delegate. Find the people that are the best at one particular thing, and enable them to do that one thing for you.

I used to take pictures of cars for dealerships to upload to their websites. Some dealerships chose to have their salespeople spend part of their day taking a digital camera out on the lot and going through the process of photographing vehicles instead of hiring me.

Those sales people would lament to me how they were losing valuable time chasing leads, for which the time-spent/profit-made ratio was much better, because they had to devote part of their day to taking pictures of cars. Doesn’t it make more sense to organize your workforce and the outside people you hire to maximize profitability based on their skill sets?

Hiring a web design professional is almost always a better idea than trying to build a site for your business yourself. If you hire the right person or firm, the amount of money that you spend for access and use of their years of experience and knowledge will more than pay for itself.

You can rest easy knowing that the important job of managing your online impact is in the hands of someone whose job it is to do just that, and that you don’t have to do the often very tedious dirty work of site building and maintenance in perpetuity. Unless you are running a web design business, in which case, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

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