A Truthful Comparison Between DIY Website Builders vs Hiring a Web Designer

You’ve undoubtedly heard of do-it-yourself website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. They’re advertised to be cheap, easy-to-use, and promise to be a pain-free alternative to hiring a professional. But how much truth is there to this statement? And when does it make sense to hire a professional instead of building a website yourself? Here’s a truthful comparison between DIY website builders vs hiring a web designer.

As a web design agency who’s been in business for over 15 years, we can say that we’ve seen it all. From start-up online businesses, to multi-million dollar international companies, we’ve helped guide business owners and C-suite executives to make the most strategic, cost-effective decision when it comes to web design. And at times, this meant that it wasn’t always with us.

Costs of Website Builders vs. Web Designer

Website Builders
If you’re looking for a smaller, upfront monetary investment, most startups lean toward website builders. They’re relatively cheap, there’s tons of templates to choose from, the software is fairly intuitive, and the hosting fees are generally inexpensive.

But keep in mind that while there’s not a hefty financial investment upfront, you’re investing a ton of time into learning and creating your site. If you’re a startup or a small business who doesn’t have a complex product or service, and is willing to learn how to maneuver through plugins, form integrations, and inputting content, it might be worth the time investment.

Web Designer
Without a doubt, hiring a web design agency is a higher upfront investment. But how much is it gonna cost, exactly? The answer is strictly contingent upon your business needs, and the type of web expert you enlist. Ah, we can practically hear the boos through the interwebs. But wait – this can be a great thing.

With an expert on your side, you’re able to focus on building your business, while your web partner builds your website. They’ll take the time to understand your business goals and who your customers are to create a website that not only looks gorgeous, but drives the results you’re looking for.

The costs associated with hiring a web agency include things like:

  • Project Management With a web agency, you’re paying for someone else to make sure that your website is delivered exactly how you want, on-time and on budget. With most agencies, you’re assigned a project manager you can hold accountable for meeting deadlines, communicating feedback and changes with the design and development team, and ensuring the entire process is as smooth and efficient as possible.
  • Design There’s design professionals who absorb the goals and examples you’ve communicated with them, and churn out incredible designs that bring your vision to life.
  • Development If you need custom applications or custom development needs, such as the ability to create patient portals or bill pay options, chances are you’re gonna need an experienced developer. Developers are able to make your website exactly how you want, with all the features and functions your customers expect.
  • Content From images, to videos, to written copy, it’s critical for your website content to clearly communicate your brand’s tone, personality, and purpose. Most web agencies have someone on staff experienced with creating quality, branded content that keeps website visitors engaged.
  • Ongoing Maintenance Keeping your website up-to-par with the latest security and plugin updates is critical. This can be the difference between a site that creates a positive customer experience, or sends them running to the competition because nothing works right.

Want to know what all your options are for web design? Read our previous article to dive deeper into the different options for web design, and a detailed breakdown of expected costs.

When it Makes Sense to Build Your Own Website

If you’re a startup with little to no funding, or still in the conception stage, it makes most sense to use a website builder. If you’re a small business with a brick-and-mortar location, not looking to sell products online, then a website builder may be the best option for you. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to invest time and hire creative resources (such as photography, videography, graphic design, etc) to create a DIY website that is easy to use.

When it Makes More Sense to Hire a Web Designer

If your website will rely heavily on revenues, regardless if you’re a startup, then investing into a professional website is the way to go. You want to make sure that your website works well, is easy to navigate, and is designed to meet the needs of your online shoppers to maximize revenue opportunities. And a professional can help with that.

While your web partner is designing your website, it’s a good time to start building out your product lines, and planning out your digital marketing initiatives so you can be successful upon launch.

If you’re a company who requires a higher level of customization, support, and expertise, then hiring a pro is the best option. Your website needs to support your brand, and drive your business goals. A professional web designer takes the time to understand your business, your website goals, and has the proven expertise to make strategic recommendations on the features and functions of your website to ensure the best possible experience for your potential customers.

Determine which course is best for you and your business. There are even several ways to combine the two. For example, perhaps you can cut costs on content creation, because you’re a photography hobbyist, and a natural writer. Or perhaps, you’ve got a little coding background, but could use help in the design concept.

If you’re looking for more ways to cut costs on your website design, check out this helpful article:

How much does website redesign cost?

Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.