Every business needs an online presence. With legitimacy now predominantly based on the quality of your website, it’s more important than ever to have a website that resonates with your audience and does the heavy lifting for you.
Maybe you have an existing website that isn’t performing, or you’ve started a new business and need to develop your online presence. Either way, if you’re evaluating whether to build a website yourself or hire an agency, there are a few pros and cons to consider.
This article will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, as well as how you can mitigate some of the risks.
Building it yourself
Your first option is to build a website yourself. With the amount (and quality) of website builder tools, this is an option for anyone that has a reasonable level of tech-savvy.
We won’t dive into any of the tools we recommend for building a website now. If this is something that interests you, read more about what tech to use when building your website here.
This one goes without saying but the clear advantage of doing it yourself is that you can keep costs low. There will be some costs involved with the website builder you choose, but these shouldn’t exceed more than $200 per month.
Be careful you don’t limit the cost to money alone, your time is your biggest asset. What is the cost to the business if you’re focused on building a website versus spending time on other responsibilities?
There’s an obvious advantage in not having to rely on someone else to complete the work. You’re able to make changes and manoeuvre when you want (or have the time available).
Let’s say you have a particular marketing campaign that you want to execute and as part of it you need three landing pages. With control over your website, you can execute your campaign without the risk of being roadblocked by designer/developer personnel.
#3 Domain Expertise
Who knows your industry and business best?
Yep, that’s right, you.
By building your website, you benefit from a single voice that clearly understands where your business is and where it’s going. While external input and feedback can be beneficial, there’s nothing more frustrating than engaging with an agency that doesn’t quite understand your business.
#1 Upskilling and training
If you haven’t used a website builder before or don’t have much design experience, there will be a level of training and upskilling required to be proficient.
Everyone learns at their own pace but even for a fast learner, it may take days/weeks to get across all the functionality in some of the more comprehensive website builders.
While you’re learning the tools there is also the risk that the quality of the final product isn’t at the same level it would be if it were completed by an agency.
#2 Adds to your existing responsibilities and workload
There is a real risk that you might bottleneck yourself if you take on website development as another responsibility.
Running a business is a full-time job. Even if you have the time to create the initial website, will you have the time in 3-6 months to implement the changes you want?
Obviously, you’re not tied to this decision forever. You can always hire someone internal to takeover, or contract out to an agency. Even so, you’ll need to create handover documentation and allocate time to train that person.
#3 Limited by tools & capabilities
The most appealing and attention-grabbing functionality is often the most complex. Makes sense right? If everyone could drop it onto their website then it wouldn’t stand out.
Scroll to the bottom of this page, and then keep scrolling. Pretty cool right?
It’s a skill that experienced designers and developers have. By building your website yourself, you have to be willing to trade off on custom, unique features that aren’t offered by standard website builders.
#4 Lacks an external point of view
While having control is a clear advantage, there is also the risk that you silo yourself. External opinions can provide a perspective that significantly improves the quality of your website. Here is an article that lists out some of the website enhancement considerations you may miss without an external influence!
Even if you do build it yourself, be sure to seek feedback from family and friends.
If you think you want to DIY your website build, check out this list of website design tips that can ensure a successful launch.
Outsourcing to an agency
#1 Access to an expert that knows what they’re doing
One of the main pros of outsourcing your website build is that it will be an industry professional doing it (as long you hire the right agency). If you have no idea how to build a website, then hiring someone else with the skills and experience to do it for you makes sense. The whole job is taken care of for you - no hassle and no stress over learning about web code, web design or web development. Also, instead of working on it in your free time, outsourcing allows you to focus on other business areas that require your attention. No one dropping the ball here, my friend!
#2 Familiarity with tools and technologies
Another pro of outsourcing is that your chosen industry professional will be familiar with all the fancy technology and tools used to build your website. Building websites is their bread and butter. There won't be any steep learning curves or silly errors made here. This can save you a lot of time and hassle as your project nears completion. You’ll also be able to leverage their existing resources, thus saving you from spending money on buying new hardware and software licenses before getting started.
#3 Speed to market
Need your website up and running quick smart? Well, then outsourcing is the way to go for you.
An agency that offers website builds can get your site built from scratch in a matter of weeks, and even the most complex sites can be completed in a matter of months. And since the agency is managing all of the building processes, you’ll have fewer hiccups and complications along the way.
#4 Quality of the end product
As mentioned before, outsourcing your website build is probably going to lead to a higher quality product. Why? Well, it's quite simple: the person you pay to build your site has likely built tens (or maybe even hundreds!) of websites before - after all, it is their job. Need your website to align perfectly with your strategy? This is easier when
Basically, they know exactly what they're doing and how to do it efficiently and to the highest standard. The end product that they produce also represents their business, not just yours, so it has to be in tip-top shape.
When you’re thinking about outsourcing your website build, it’s important to remember that there is also a (usually not insubstantial) cost involved in hiring someone else to build your site. Not only will you have to pay an agency to do the job, but you’ll need to find and manage that agency as well, meaning extra time and money on your part.
If you decide against outsourcing your website build, though, the alternative is a more hands-on approach. If you don't have the skills or experience in web development, you may well end up spending any savings in lost time and upskilling.
#2 Risk - finding the right agency
One big risk in outsourcing your website build is finding the right agency to build it. If you find an agency that is within your budget and are able to do the job well, it will be worth its weight in gold. However, if you choose the wrong one (too cheap, too inexperienced, the list goes on!), you could end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to fix things down the road. In some cases, you might even have to start from scratch with another company! You can feel your back pocket hurting already.
The last con of outsourcing your website build is losing control of the end product. If you’re the type who likes to have a say in every aspect of your business (i.e. most business owners), having someone else come in and build your site may feel like a loss of control. But, and I cannot stress this enough, if you employ an agency to build your website for you and feel like you're no longer able to get a word in or that they don't listen to you, that's a red flag. The best agencies will make sure you have control and the ability to make changes as you go.
So, the answer is clear as mud, right?
Whether you’re looking to make your business more successful, or just trying to get your message out there to more people, having a well-presented, easy to use website is one of the most important ways to do so. With so much riding on the decision, it’s no wonder you’re here pondering whether it’s worth it to hire an agency or just DIY it.
The truth of the matter is this: hiring an agency to build your website will be more expensive than doing it yourself, but it’s also highly likely to be worth it if you’re not already skilled in coding, are time-poor or need a fast solution.
With all things, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each approach before deciding on a plan of action that will help your business grow in the right direction. Interested in hiring a team of experts? You can book a free Website Strategy session with us.