One of the Most Common Web Design Questions Ever
As a professional web design, one common question I receive from business owners is "should I design my own web site?" It's a good question because web site design and development often demands a premium from businesses without guaranteed results. Also, web sites usually take a bit of time to mature before they start developing a good amount of traffic. So looking to save costs by developing a web site in-house is a good train of thought that deserves a thoughtful answer.
The Pros Of Designing A Web Site In-House
The Cost of Designing a Web Site Professionally Can Be Prohibitive
The biggest reason to design a web site in-house is cost. Web sites can cost anywhere from $300 up to several thousand dollars to build, depending on the complexity of the site. The tools for designing a web site are fairly accessible and affordable. You can get some of the best web development software available for under $200.
There are also costs involved with purchasing a domain name for your web site, as well as setting up a subscription for web hosting. These costs generally amount to under 20 dollars a month.
By Designing Your Own Web Site, You Learn Some Good Tools
By designing your own web site you develop an incredibly useful set of skills that you can use to manage your own web site and also to build web sites for other ventures. Also, once you have gotten your feet wet, you will have a better understanding of what professional web designers are talking about and you should have an easier time qualifying the costs associated with them.
If you design your own site, you are in full control over the time schedule, launch date, and making updates to the site in a timely manner. Because web design firms typically work with several customers at a time, there may be delays before your requests get processed. Design your own site and the only delay will be yours.
The Cons of Designing a Web Site In-House
The Cons of Designing a Web Site In-House
The Time it Takes to Learn the Technology Required to Design a Web Site is Significant
There is a fairly intense learning curve to designing and developing a web site. Not only do you need to understand multiple programming languages, you also need to understand how to make a web site live, how to work with web design software and how to build a site that works on multiple web browsers, and that's just scratching the surface.
If you have an excess of time when operating your business, learning the technology and designing your own web site can be a good investment. If, however, you will be taking time out of your business for its development, it's hard to justify the time loss.
Potential Problems With Usability
Most web design firms have a significant amount of knowledge and experience under their belt when it comes to web usability- how to make a web site more user-friendly. If you are new to the field, you run the risk of creating usability problems with your site without knowing it. Maybe an important link is in a hard-to-find area, or the styles you are using aren't readable on certain browsers.
Hiring a professional design firm makes it more likely that you will be able to avoid most usability problems.
Lack of Search Engine Optimization in the Web Site Design
In order for a web site design to be search engine optimized or even simply search engine friendly, the web site needs to have a lot of pieces in place, many of which might be particularly challenging to a new web developer. When faced with a decision to make a 3 web pages that have been search engine optimized or 30 pages that haven't for the same cost, I would always suggest going with the three pages.
That way, you're starting out on the right foot and don't have to backtrack later when you discover just how much search engine optimization can benefit your site.
While the knowledge you gain designing your own web site can be valuable, it takes spending time on a significant learning curve before you can be sure you're going about web site design in a sustainable way. If you have the time to spend, learning web design can be useful for a long time to come. However, hiring a professional design firm, even for a small site, can give you peace of mind knowing that the site has all the right pieces in place.