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I talk to a lot of potential clients who are deciding between hiring a web designer or using a website builder. Most small businesses starting out there are a million things to consider, so I thought I would give my two cents on how to decide:
- Money Shouldn’t Matter – This may sound harsh or unrealistic, but if you are building a product you wouldn’t go the cheaper route, you would go the best route (at least you should) and I see a website as just that. Set aside money for the project because it is your business – just the online version. I am not saying you have to spend a ton of money, but research some designers and set aside a realistic budget for your web needs. The cheapest designer shouldn’t win the bid, do research and ask about their process. Some designers (including me) give cheaper rates to small businesses and non-profits.
- Not Everyone Is A Web Designer – I hear a lot of, “my cousin took a class so he can make one for me” and that scares me. First of all, web design is a skill, one learns it and masters it. Use a professional, if not, I promise you will be back to the drawing board shortly after your cousin gives you his version of a finished project.
- I Can Do It Myself – No you can’t… well, unless you are a designer, but if not then no you can’t. Website builders are helpful for this aspect and good for designers who don’t know code. I get hired to redesign so many sites after a client wanted to save money and make it their own.
- I Can Use A Template – I love that website builder sites give templates, but I hate when I see 5 photographers with the photographer template and the only difference is the name. If you venture to try it on your own, be creative! Take control and make it yours.
- Free Domain Is A Trick – Most website builders offer you a free domain if you use their service, sounds great, right? But read the small print, in most cases, they end up owning that domain and may make you jump threw a few hoops and charge you to get it back. Even if you do go with a website builder, buy your domain at GoDaddy. This way if later on you want to hire a designer, they won’t have any issues making the switch. Usually will only cost you about $12/year.
Yes, website builders like Wix and SquareSpace are good tools, they make creating a website easy for anyone and come at very little cost. If you have some design skills and do the research, you can probably pull off a pretty good website from a website builder. But I recommend using or at least talking to a professional website designer before hand. Especially if you are starting a new business.