You might not need a pro to get your website built
Is it right for you? It depends. "It depends" can answer a lot of questions. It's actually a running joke between me and my partners.
How much does a website cost? Answer: it depends. Should you hire a pro to build it for you? It depends.
I'm going to try to cover some of the factors that go into the decision-making process when trying to decide to do it yourself or hire a pro.
Why you might not want to hire a pro
Here I will run through a few of the reason you may just be better off going it on your own.
A lot of people I talk to just don't like turning over any part of their business to anyone, let alone a person they may have only met online and never in person. Trust is a big factor.
In some cases, you may have to share your login information and that can cause a lot of anxiety for some.
Proprietary or confidential information might be a concern too. I've only come across this once when I was helping a therapist. But we had already established trust because I was recommended to him by someone he trusted, so by extension, I was trusted.
Or maybe you think you won't be able to communicate your ideas just right or you think they just won't get it.
This is one is a bigger deal than you might think. If you do hire a pro you will have to turn over the process to them and let them lead. This is crucial to the success of a website project, turning it over to them completely and to let them lead. You, as the client of the pro, must follow your pros lead.
If you found a good one, it would be in your best interest to just let them do it.
One sure sign you have found a good web designer is how they handle the onboarding phase of the job. If they don't have one, this could be the first red flag.
What an onboarding process should look like
With a good onboarding process the web pro will collect all the vital information about your business and your client.
Questions should cover your branding - if you have it already, need it created, or have it being worked on either by you or another contractor.
A good onboarding process should also ask about your client. Who are they? What demographic do they belong to? Are they young? Male, female or both? Business professionals or something else?
Another thing to get from the onboarding phase is to figure out where and how the content for the site will be created if it isn't already done. Some web people will be fine with getting started on a project without the content. I think this is a tough way to go. Hard to layout a site if you don't have the content ready. But some people do it.
This could add some time to the project if the content doesn't fit the design and the site has to be re-worked to accommodate the content. I always recommend content first, then website. Just gives you a higher probability for success.
Everybody’s onboarding process will have its unique layout, the important thing is that there is one, it's well thought out and comprehensive.
If you are building your yourself, it would be a good idea to come up with a roadmap too. Websites go so much smoother when there is a clear, well thought out, step by step process to follow.
This is the big one, even bigger than trust for some people.
Money can make ordinary people get twisted sometimes. A lot of us are so afraid to lose a dollar we'll never take any chances.
And it's a valid concern and we want to be sure the people we are giving our money to are going to do the best work possible and do it for the lowest possible price too.
Now, a website can be made for under $100 if you do it your self. I have a checklist here that if you follow the steps you'll be able to get a website up for about $90.
One thing that we often overlook when we go the DIY path is our time. Everyone I know, have ever known and probably will ever meet dramatically underestimates how long something will take.
If you have a business that's making money, the time you take away from your business is time away from making money. It's a decision you have to weigh carefully.
What can you do
I've known a lot of people who go charging ahead and get it done themselves. Some even enjoy it. Others, well they push through, complain a lot, pull out some hair, curse the day they decided to go it alone and eventually, they get the job done and move on.
It's kind of how I started off, but I ended up enjoying the process and started to look forward to the challenges. Frustrating as it can be it does feel good to push through it. And if that’s you too, then go for it.
Why You might want to consider hiring a pro
One thing to keep in mind when you are planning your website is that once you publish it in most cases it's just the beginning.
For some just having a digital calling card is enough. But to really get the most out of your website is to have a site that works for you.
How does a site work for you? Well, I've come to believe that inbound marketing and content marketing are the two most important things you can do. Even more so than SEO.
Inbound marketing, in a nutshell, is when you (but it doesn't have to be you, I'll get into that in a minute) write posts, articles, or make a video, that answers the questions your customers might be going online to ask as a search on Google.
For example, I wrote a post on How Much a Website Costs. Simple and direct but it answers the question. So if someone goes to Google and types that question into the search box, bam, my article shows up (hopefully) and they get the information they are looking for.
They asked the question and I answered it.
With content marketing, you're still answering questions but it's going to expand on topics in depth. One exercise you can do is to sit down with your team and go over all the questions you have ever been asked about your business, product or service. Then answer them with a lot of detail.
The goal is to gain the trust of your prospective customer.
This isn't my idea, I learned it from a book called “They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan. If you plan on building a website that works for you, I recommend this book.
Now, you don't have to write these articles your self. You will have to come up with the questions because you know your business, you know the questions you've been asked. But you can outsource the writing and it's not as expensive as you might think.
All you have to do is fill out a few fields giving as much info about the article you want to be written and hit the submit button. You'll get it back in a few days and then have the opportunity to ask for some revisions if you have any.
Here are a couple of places you can try out to get content written for your website:
I've heard a few people say they use these services to get the first 500 words written then they finish it up. Sometimes just getting started can be the hardest part so this gets you started and you can add your personal vice to it.
This is just scratching the surface and I will come back to this and add to it, but right now I got to get moving on another project.
There is a lot to think about when building a website. If you go it alone and want to figure it out your self there are a lot of options out there. Some free and some with cheap-to-get-started options.
Check out this checklist I created that covers some of them with the pros and cons
If you hire a pro make sure you ask a lot of questions, rememebr what I told you about the onboarding process, and then let them take the lead. If you find a good one they will get you far and get you there fast and then probably show you some things that would otherwise take you a log time to learn on your own.
There is no right or wrong way here, no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on what you want to focus your time and energy on.
Yes, the answer is it depends but hopefully this post showed you a few things to consider when deciding to hire or go it alone.