Should you design your own website?

Every business needs a website — even businesses that only operate in the local area. But what do you do if you’ve recently started your business and you don’t have the money to hire a web designer? Many business owners consider designing a site on their own, but is that really your best option?

Using an Online Site Builder

If you don’t need an elaborate site, you could build one using one of the many online site builders — such as Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix. These sites have drag-and-drop builders that make designing a site so simple a toddler could do it. If you decide to go this route, you should purchase a domain name from a domain registrar company such GoDaddy or Namecheap and purchase the monthly package that gets rid of the site’s branding. This way, your website looks completely professional.

Keep in mind, when you use an online site builder to create your website, you’re required to pay a monthly hosting fee to keep the site up and running. It could cost you anywhere from $18 to $40 per month, and you can’t create really intricate websites using a site builder. You create your website by simply altering a template. So if you want a more elaborate website for your business it’s not a good option for you.

Designing a Self-Hosted WordPress Site

A self-hosted WordPress site is also an option for anyone who wants to design his or her own site. You can purchase tools that make the building process a lot easier — such as Divi or Beaver Builder — for a one-time fee. These plug-ins let you use drag-and-drop technology to design your website. You still need to purchase a domain name and you’ll need to pay for monthly hosting — but it’s a lot less expensive.

It’s important to understand that there is a learning curve when using plug-ins that let you build your website like a drag-and-drop site builder would. The good news is, there are plenty of tutorials online — both on the developer’s website and on YouTube — that show you a step-by-step process for creating practically any type of site you want. However, it can be rather time-consuming and you might need to know a little bit of coding to create the site you want, so if you really don’t like technology, a self-hosted WordPress site probably isn’t the right option for you.

Hiring a Website Designer

The freelance web designer space is a crowded one, which is good news for you. With so much competition online, you can find web designers design complete sites for a few hundred bucks, as well as designers that charge thousands. When choosing your designer there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Cheaper isn’t necessarily better — web designers who charge more are likely more experienced.

Look at the web designer’s portfolio before you sign a contract. If the designer doesn’t have a portfolio, it’s not a good option. Also, it’s important to choose a web designer that has designed websites with similar design elements and features to what you want.

Ask for references, and follow up with them. It’s easy to lie about your experience and quality of work online, so you shouldn’t choose a web designer based solely on his or her portfolio.

When it comes to designing a website there are options available for everyone. It’s up to you to decide what type of website you want and whether you have enough confidence in yourself to get the job done easily.