With a number of free or low-cost DIY options, why does any small business owner pay a web design company to develop their website?
With several free or low-cost DIY options, why does any small business owner pay a web design company to develop their website?
When you first set up in business, the ‘to do’ list typically includes a website. You know your company needs an online presence, but it can be confusing when you see a quote from a specialist web design company and compare it to free or low-cost DIY options. How can there be such a disparity in the price?
In short, because you benefit from their expertise to:
- Solve problems, provide advice, overcome obstacles and deal with any technical challenges
- Understand all the elements that come together to develop a website that can attract, engage and convert visitors
- Ensure that you have control over all elements of your website, so you can keep it fresh and relevant as your business grows
- Free up your time, so you can focus on areas where you are the expert
To explain the points in greater detail, we’ve outlined what you can expect from a free website and a site built by a website designer.
What you get with a Free DIY website
A free or low-cost website is a tempting offer, especially in the early stages of setting up a business. Wix and Weebly are two popular options, which offer a reasonable package. You have to purchase a domain name before setting up your website, but hosting is offered as part of the package.
With these options, there is a choice of templates, so you can select one that is appropriate for your industry. With simple drag and drop processes, you can fill the template with your images (or stock images), text and a choice of widgets. You build up the pages that you want to include until your site is complete and then it can go live.
Limitations of a Free DIY Website
They say, ‘nothing comes for free’ and the compromise is that free sites tend to be branded by the provider. You can add your company branding, but your website acts as an advertising platform for them. This can confuse the message that you are trying to promote.
Few free websites are fully mobile responsive. This is now considered a basic requirement for any professional site, as so many people use mobile devices to search the internet.
If you wish to sell online, it is unlikely that you will find an e-commerce website for free. In addition, there will be restrictions on storage, bandwidth and controls. As a start-up, this may not be an issue, but it could become frustrating as your business grows.
Whilst hosting is part of the package, the transfer of hosting to another provider isn’t always an option. When you are ready to upgrade, you may find that you are faced with no other option but to start from scratch.
What’s more, you have to dedicate time to the project. It’s worth considering whether you could earn more by focusing your attention on other aspects of your business than you are saving by doing it yourself.
Finally, consider how people would get on if they undertook the services you offer for themselves. They may be able to do it, but could they do it well? Wouldn’t it be better to use your expertise?
How does a Web Design Company Compare?
Although they may also make use of a template, a web design company will begin by really getting to understand your business and what you want your website to achieve. They will explore what features and functionality will ensure that the website supports your aims and increases business efficiency. They will use their expertise to provide you with options and advice, so you can make informed decisions.
The web company can purchase your domain name and hosting as part of the package. The hosting will be appropriate and transferable, so you can switch your site to another provider, with minimal impact, should the need occur.
A professional web designer will know what features need to be included in order to optimise the performance of your business website. From loading speed to Meta descriptions, system integration to analytics, they will help you to gain more from this valuable marketing resource. In addition, they will ensure that best practice standards are applied and help you to comply with regulations, such as data protection and accessibility.
Your website design package may include photography, copywriting and video production services, along with training on how to update your site and on-going support. This obviously comes with a charge, but the weight is off your shoulders – you get exactly what you need to portray a professional business image.
The web designer is an expert in their field, so you don’t have to be. You benefit from using their time, knowledge and experience and it will pay dividends in the long term. Your website will look the part, function effectively and be a useful tool for promoting your brand.
Your website is often the first experience that people have of your company. If you want to stand out from the competition and make a strong first impression, this probably isn’t the best area to make cost savings.
If you do opt for a free website, research carefully to ensure that you know what the provider offers and whether the limitations will impact on what you wish to achieve.
If you’d rather leave it in the hands of the professionals, contact Framework Digital to arrange an initial meeting on 01296 320820