Should You Build Your Own Website or Hire an Agency?
This is THE question we get asked the most!If want an HONEST answer to the question - should you build your own website or hire an agency? Find out in this podcast episode. Click To Tweet
In this episode, we’ll be covering…
- What’s riskier? Building it yourself or going to a web design agency?
- Whether you should invest in website design if you have a smaller budget of say £500-£1000
- When you should hold off on investing in website design
- Why you should spend your money elsewhere to grow your business
- How much it costs to build a DIY website and what platforms you should use
- Should you use a website template or avoid them?
- When you should invest thousands with a web design agency
Time Stamps: In a rush? Get to the section you need to below!
1.28 – If you’re brand new to business should you build your own website or hire an agency?
4.04 – If you’ve been established sometime in business, but don’t have a big budget is that the time to hire someone locally or go to a freelancer?
5.58 – What should you spend your money on if not website design?
6.34 – How much should you invest in a DIY website?
9.08 – Should you ever use a website template/theme?
11.35 – What point should you be at in your business to invest in a web design agency?
14.55 – Summary of the episode
Useful Resources and Links
What To Do Next
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Episode Transcript Below
Lyndsay: Hey guys. Welcome to Episode One of the Make Your Mark Online podcast. So, in today’s episode we are gonna be talking about whether you should DIY your website, or get an agency, or a freelance web designer to do it for you. I think it’s a question that every personal brand, and probably every business owner has asked themselves at some point isn’t it?
Martin: Yes, it’s a really common problem. I think it’s something that can really hold people back when it comes to getting a website live: should I do it myself using this online free software? Or should I pay for a professional agency? And that’s kind of why we wanted to do this as our very first episode, is because it’s such an important element, and one that we don’t want to hold you back as well.
Lyndsay: Yes, definitely. And it is an odd one for us isn’t it? ‘Cause we are … Last time I checked, we are web designers. So, you might be thinking, surely you should just recommend everyone go to a website agency, one called ideally Jammy Digital.
Martin: But it’s not always the case is it? I mean, we speak to lots and lots of business owners, and sometimes we say do it yourself, and sometimes we say hire a web designer agency, and that’s really why we wanted to do this as our first episode.
Should New Businesses Hire a Web Design Agency?
Lyndsay: Okay. Well, let’s get into this then. Let’s say I’m a business coach, and I’ve just started my own business, what would you recommend that I do from there? Would you recommend I DIY or go to an agency?
Martin: Well, obviously it depends entirely on your circumstances. But, if it’s a brand new business, then chances are you’re probably not at the stage where you need to hire a full agency just yet. Mainly because if you are a brand new business owner, understandably, financially you might be wanting to be careful. You might want to watch what you’re spending your money on. And if you’re brand new, and you go to a big agency, and they charge three, four, five, ten, fifteen thousand pound. Then, that’s an awful lot of financial commitment for you to go in straight away, and that could be a problem within itself. Now I’m not saying you don’t have that money to spend. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s probably the right thing to do if you are just starting out.
Martin: Now that’s one reason. Another reason why it potentially is a bad idea is because with brand new businesses, it’s when … It’s so often the time when businesses are developing and changing. And you change your mind quite a lot at that stage. Well, we’ve watched loads businesses, and we’ve changed our mind all the time at the start of the process.
Martin: Not so much anymore that we’re established, but definitely at the start of it you get new ideas. You wake up one morning, and you disagree with what you said yesterday, and so much changes. That the last thing you want to do is pay thousands of pound out to a web design agency, and then a week later completely change your business direction because you’ve decided it’s not what you want to be doing. And you have a tendency at the start of the process to sort of change your mind more frequent than when you do later on.
The Risks of Hiring a Web Design Agency if You’re a New Business
Martin: So, with a brand new business, like a business coach, take your time. You’re not in any rush. Or you might feel like you are, to start generating some money, and that’s exactly why you should be careful on what you spend your money on.
Lyndsay: Yes. Definitely, I agree. And I think when we … I mean, for example when we started Jammy Digital, we offered everything didn’t we?
Lyndsay: We were social media management. We offered search engine optimization-
Martin: Graphic design.
Lyndsay: Graphic design. Logo design. We’d of done anything. We’d of took your bins out for you.
Martin: Yes. We’d have sent you an invoice, and we’d have done it!
Lyndsay: An optional service. But yes, exactly. So, I think that you do find that the longer you are in business, the more you sort of tailor exactly what it is that you offer. So, If you’re spending thousands upfront, you might need to change that in six months. Or that money is just gonna be wasted.
Martin: Of course.
Should a More Established Business Invest in a Local Web Designer?
Lyndsay: Yep. That’s a really good point. Okay, so let’s say for example I’m sort of 12 months, 18 months, or two years, whatever it is down the line with my business. I’m doing quite well. Maybe I’ve got sort of 500 Quid, or 1,000 pound to invest in a website. Is that really the point? Where I should I sort of invest, and maybe go for sort of a freelancer locally or something like that? What do you think?
Martin: Well, again the tendency really is to spend money when we have money. So, if you’ve got a little bit of money coming in, and you can afford 500 pound to spend on a website. Should that be what you spend that money on? I don’t think that it is. I mean, again we’re not trying to put you off from hiring a web designer agency at all. But, 500 pound or even 1,000 pound isn’t going to go very far if you’ve already had some success in your business. So, if you’ve already sort of done it yourself, and you managed to work out how to do it with some free software. Or you’ve paid a little bit to do it yourself. Paying 500 pound isn’t necessarily going to elevate what you have to get it to a substantially better level than what you’ve probably got already.
Martin: Yes, you might be able to get a more professional design, but 500 pound actually isn’t a lot of money. Especially when we build websites, or bigger agencies build websites, they tend to spend quite a lot of time on the research phase of your website. So, who is your target audience? They try to incorporate a little bit more about your branding. All of that takes time and money. And, you’re just not going to get it if you’re spending out 500 pound or 1,000 pound even on a local web designer. They don’t generally have enough wiggle room to be able to justify spending all that time on the discovery process. What they’ll do is you’ll give them your 500 pound or maybe they’ll split it into two payments or whatever; and there’s just not an awful lot that, that money that you’re spending, is just going to cover that time.
Lyndsay: yes, definitely. yes, I totally agree and I think it is something that we recommend to people that the actually do hold off and keep sort of developing their own DIY website really. I mean, there’s plenty things, if you’ve got 500 pound or 1,000 pound to spare to spend. Perhaps, spend that instead on actually marketing your business in a different way. Or, actually improving your DIY website. So, that could be … you could invest in a professional photo shoot. Because, new images for your website can make a huge impact. So, yes there’s definitely sort of new things that you can do, and new areas you can invest in.
Tips for When You’re Building Your Own Website
Lyndsay: So if someone wants to DIY their own website, what would you recommend they do? How much should they invest? Should they sort of go the Wicks route? Or you know, and just invest a little bit? Because, we know that people that have built their own websites have had to invest even up to 500 pound themselves. And, they’re actually doing it themselves. So, what should they do there?
Martin: Well, we have a couple of sort of rules to follow if you are wanting to build your own website. Now, there’s so many new tools out there. I mean, every time you go on YouTube, I’m getting advertised to buy Wicks. It’s understandable why so many business owners just jump on whatever, the first thing that they find. So, we always recommend to keep the costs as low as possible. Now, I’m not saying for free. So, you can start for free, you can get a Wicks domain if you really wanted to, and try it out and play around with it. Or, you can pay between 10 and 20 pounds a month to actually get something decent like Shopify, if you want to sell shop items on your website. That’s what a lot of people do. But, we actually recommend that if you are going to do it yourself, try to stick with WordPress.
Because, that’s the most recognized platform of it’s kind. It is the most widely used and widely recommended platform, and for good reason. I mean, we actually use WordPress exclusively within our business. So, we don’t build websites for people unless they agree to use WordPress because we trust in it so much.
Martin: What that means is with WordPress, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a website built. Because it’s so popular, there are lots of sort of frameworks to use. Like templates that you can buy for sort of less than 50 pound. And, you can spend quite a lot on templates and there’s lots of plugins that you can have. But, anyone with 100 pound to spend on a template and some hosting for the year, you’re pretty much covered. I mean, you can do a lot with that 100 pound.
Lyndsay: So, another good point is that obviously with WordPress being so huge and you know, having such a big following; is that because so many people use it, there’s so much support out there. And more importantly, if you’re a DIYer, there’s loads of free support out there, isn’t there? All you have to do is go on YouTube and generally you can find the answer to any issue that you might have.
Martin: yes, how to configure this contact form to-
Lyndsay: yes, how to move this image over there? Or whatever it is that you need to do. You know, there’s plenty of support out there with WordPress. So, that’s another reason why it’s good for DIYers to go to. It’s interesting you said about a theme. Obviously investing in a theme. Is there any sort of advice you’d give to people, what they should do when they’ve got the theme. Where do they go from there? Do they change a lot of it? What would you recommend?
Should You Use a WordPress Theme/Template?
Martin: Well, it’s worth pointing out that some people get a little bit nervous about using templates. They feel like it’s cheating and it’s really not. I mean, these WordPress themes have been developed because most of the time, they’re really good. They look good, they’re professional, they work well with search engines. Not all of them, but a lot of them if you keep an eye on the reviews, can be really really powerful little templates.
Martin: The important thing that we want you to understand is that, rather than the development of the coding or the aesthetics of your website. The best thing that you can do to have an effective website if you are building it yourself. Is to stick with the framework of the theme. So, find a template that works with … And we say template, we say theme, we mean the same things really. But, WordPress generally uses templates and themes sort of along the same page. So, don’t get too caught up in the technicalities. But, if you can keep the template as close to what they provide as possible, then that’s what you want to do.
Martin: So, keep your messaging clear. That’s a really important element. Make sure your content is nice and easy to understand. Make sure you get your point across. Don’t worry too much about how to change everything, and how to reconfigure it so that this is on this side. If you just install a WordPress theme, you can have your website up in 10 minutes. Follow a quick YouTube video if you really want to and you’ll be in a good position to have a nice, clean, and simple website. And, one that doesn’t take that much time. Don’t start looking under the bonnet and messing around with all the code. It’s just not necessary. Get your messaging across and stick with the framework of the theme. And you’ll be on to a real winner.
Lyndsay: yes, I mean I think that’s a really good point. And, we do see people who have tried to take a template and then spend a year trying to change it. And, it’s just … it’s just silly. Get a website up and start making money. Then you can start focusing on perfecting it as you go. Okay so we’ve really sold the benefits there of building your own website. We’ve totally put off anyone to ever come to us. But, at what point what someone have to be at to maybe think, “Okay, I’m ready to invest now in a web design agency. I’m ready to invest thousands.” When would that be?
When Should You Decide to Hire a Web Design Agency?
Martin: I think this really has to do with where you are in your business. So, if you are generating customers, you’re getting lots of traffic to your website, and you’ve … up to this point you’ve only built your own website. If you want to hire an agency, you have to think about it from a financial perspective firstly. So, when you hire an agency, you’re going to be handing over a certain amount of cash for that website. You need to be sure that you can generate that money back. We all need to make sure that we’re keeping an eye on the financials. And, if you can see that a 5,000 pound website is going to make it’s money back in six months, then it might be a good idea to hire one. If you’re selling a book at 10 pound and you’re only planning on selling 100 or 200. Then, you’ve got to be careful about paying thousands for a new website.
Martin: So, you’ve got to be careful. It does depend on your scenario. Another reason you might need to hire a web design agency is if you have a serious lack of time. So, many of the clients who hire us, they haven’t got the time to be building their own website. They might understand about what needs to go on a website. What’s going to make if effective, what’s going to drive traffic. But, they might not have the time, nor the expertise to actually create that new website. At that point, they might need to hire a web designer.
Martin: So, it’s that time and money scenario, really. If you’re a successful business, and you’re generating lots and lots of money. Then, why would you build your own website. You just wouldn’t. You’d rather just hire an expert and have it done for you.
Lyndsay: yes, or why would you continue with … if you’ve got a DIY website, you know and you’re becoming successful. If you’re spending your evenings trying to google why a plug in isn’t working, or get things working on your website. That’s just not a good use of your time. When you’re speaking here, there, and everywhere. Or you’re promoting your book. Or whatever it is that you’re doing. You want to be doing that. Not kind of messing around with a website like you did at the beginning of your business, which is fine.
Lyndsay: I think another things is that when you hire an agency. They should be able to identify sort of where you can increase profits. Where you can increase traffic, increase conversions. They should be asking you those questions and being able to figure that out for you. So, that’s to the point of your business where you think, “I Can take it to the next level.”
Martin: yes, it’s about investing in the knowledge and expertise of the web designer as well. I mean, we pride ourselves in the fact that we love learning more about online marketing. So, when somebody asks us a question, we’re able to advise them about how to grow their email list, for instance. And, you don’t generally get that knowledge just hitting you in the face when you’re trying to build your own website. That’s another reason why you might want to hire an agency. Because, you really know that that knowledge and that experience is valuable. And, you’re happy to part with your cash for an agency that specializes in that kind of help.
Lyndsay: Absolutely. So, I think that was a really good sort of synopsis there of when you should invest in a website and when you shouldn’t. So, just to summarize. I mean, I think if you’re sort of starting out in business, we would definitely recommend that you do a website yourself. Build it yourself. Certainly, if you are two, three years into your business, and you’ve got a little bit to invest, say 500 to 1,000 pound, and you’re thinking, “Maybe I should go to a freelancer.” Again, we would recommend you actually continue to develop your own DIY website and perhaps invest in something that will bring some money in. It might be a photo shoot, it might be a Facebook ad, whatever that might be. I think the point where you should invest a lot of money into a website, and go with a web design agency is as Martin said, when you’re becoming quite successful. You’ve got that audience there and you can see a return on investment.
Martin: Yes, definitely.
Lyndsay: Brilliant, okay. So, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you would like our advice on anything web design related, we do have a free Facebook group. And, you can join the free Facebook group by visiting JammyDigital.com/Facebook. Now, I’m not sure how long it will last but as we’re recording this, we’re currently doing free website critiques. Where we tell you exactly how to improve your website. So, please join our Facebook group for that as well.
Martin: Yes, people are really enjoying that aren’t they?
Lyndsay: They are, and we’re really enjoying it aren’t we. We actually look forward to it.
Martin: Exactly, every Wednesday-
Lyndsay: Every Wednesday it’s like, “Yay! It’s critique time.”
Lyndsay: So, yes and please, please do join it. Another thing that we would love, love, love you to do is to subscribe to us on I tunes. And, leave us an honest review. It really helps us to reach more people and deliver lots more content if you do. So, yes that would be really great. See you next time on the Make Your Mark Online Podcast.