Should you hire a web designer or DIY?

You’ve just started your business and can’t wait to get it up and running. One of the first things people tell you is, “You need a website!”

And while a website is a vital part of most businesses, you have a choice to make: either DIY (do it yourself) or hire someone to build it for you.

So what should you do?

As someone who makes a living from providing website design services, my answer may surprise you.

While I love working with clients and building websites that help them reach their business goals, and there are times when it’s best to leave it to the pros, there are also times when the DIY route may make the most sense for you, depending on where you are in your business.

Here are my top factors to consider when trying to decide if you should hire a web designer or tackle the task yourself:

#1:  You’re just starting out and your budget is low. Or even nonexistent.

If you’ve just started your business, you’ve undoubtedly realized that there are costs that you’ve never even thought about.

Before you jump in and spend thousands on a professionally designed website, you need to make sure that you’ve covered your bases in other areas, like making sure that your legal contracts are in place and that you’ve set up your business appropriately from an accounting perspective.

It’s kind of like building a house. I LOVE the fun part of decorating and making it look homey. But that means nothing if the foundation was built on sand. The same is true of your business.

You need to spend your money first on the areas of your business that need it the most.

So if your budget doesn’t allow for hiring a web pro at this time (on average, prepare to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000, depending on your specific needs), you may want to consider building your site yourself, at least to start.

Bottom line: if your budget is less than $2,000, consider DIY.  If it’s more than that, consider hiring a web designer.

#2: What type of features do you need on your site?

Is your site going to be mostly information-based, requiring the basics like a home page, About Us Page, Contact Page, and maybe a Services Menu?

That’s a fairly straight-forward site that doesn’t have much technical functionality and is the perfect candidate for the DIY route using a platform like WordPress.

On the other hand, if you need more bells and whistles on your site, like maybe an e-commerce storefront or the ability to have a membership area, that becomes a little more adventurous for the newbie. Not to say that it’s insurmountable; just a little more challenging.

Write down the list of features that you need for your site and see if you’re comfortable with tackling it yourself.

Bottom line: if your website is fairly basic, consider DIY.  If needs more functionality, consider hiring a web designer.

#3:  What’s your time worth?

Let’s face it: learning any new skill takes time and practice. The same is true when tackling a project like building your own website. If you charge your clients $75 an hour for your services, calculate how much sweat equity you’ll put into the task of building your site. If it takes you 30 hours at $75 an hour, that’s about $2,250 of your time that you’ll spend.

Compare that with the cost of hiring a web designer to see if it makes financial sense. If it does, make sure you look at building your website as a business task and not just as a hobby. Approach it the same way you would any other aspect of your business.

Bottom line: if you can afford to spend the time learning how to build it, consider DIY.  If your time is better spent on a different aspect of your business, consider hiring a web designer.

#4: What’s your personality when it comes to learning new things?

Some people just can’t learn enough. They’re the type of person who signs up for the online course on goat herding because it sounded cool, and who doesn’t want to know how to herd goats? 🙂

Goat Picture

(Yup. That’s me with a bunch of goats. That’s a story that’s best told over a glass of wine another time….)

If you’ve never built a website before, I have to be honest and upfront with you: there’s a learning curve. You need to be willing to invest that time in yourself and learn this new skill.

Bottom line: if you love to learn new things, consider DIY.  If you get frustrated easily and you can’t even think about adding one more thing to your plate, consider hiring a web designer.

#5: Consider your brand.

There’s another layer that comes with hiring a web designer versus DIY that you need to consider, and that has to do with your brand.

A good web designer is exactly that:  a designer. He or she has an eye for what looks good and how to incorporate your brand into your website.

Before you embark upon your website project, you need to decide if you have a fairly decent handle of what looks good and how you want to convey yourself and your business to the world.

If the thought of font selection, color palettes, and photo editing make you break out in hives, then perhaps the DIY route isn’t for you. Because in the end, your site needs to look professional. While I’m a HUGE believer that content is king, looks do matter.

Bottom line: if you feel confident that you can put together something that you feel is representative of you and your brand and that you feel proud of, then go for it!  But if you’re the type of person that has trouble deciding if your shirt matches your pants, you may want to consider hiring a web designer. 🙂

Wrap Up

If you’re on the fence about going the DIY route, think about some of the things outlined in this post.

At the end of the day, if you decide to DIY and it isn’t your cup of tea, you can always hire a web designer!

Before we go, I feel like there’s something that I have to say or I won’t be able to sleep tonight:

Don’t hire a web designer based on price.

Please. Just don’t. We all know someone who has a nephew that knows how to build websites and will do it for $400 bucks. You get what you pay for. Trust me on this one.

It will end up costing you more money in the long run (never mind the stress that goes along with it). If you’re going to hire a pro, then hire a pro.

Jumping off my soapbox now! 🙂

Until next time!


a black and white drawing of a question mark

Ready for a brand and a website that will connect you to your customers?

Leave a Comment