Can I build my own website?

The honest answer to this question is yes, yes you can build your website. Anyone can build their website if they use the tools available to them, and thankfully creating your website has become a lot easier than it used to, although it can still be a complex process! 

But something to consider when you ask yourself this question is the time involved in building a website, the level of expertise required, as well as the experience and knowledge needed to make your website successful. This article is going to expand on those areas to help you make the best decision for your personal circumstances.

Has building a website become a lot easier?

Rollback 10 years and the answer to this question would be very different. Creating a website 10 years ago meant it was essential to have a lot of technical knowledge and it was essential for you to be able to read and write code confidently, because you would have had to write all the code yourself, on your own, with no other tools available.

Thankfully today, there have been many tools developed that allow you to create your website without even having to write a line of code, meaning that it has opened up the world of owning websites, and more people can build them. 

But does this mean that the roles of web designers and developers are becoming obsolete? 

There will always be a need for designers and developers to create sleek, fast and user-friendly websites, so thankfully the answer to that question is no - web designers and developers won’t become obsolete. The knowledge and skills we possess mean that we can craft high-quality websites that actively convert those browsing your website into a client or customer. Also, in most cases, a website built by a professional will likely look, function and convert much better than a DIY website, but that does not mean you cannot create a beautiful website on your own.

So should you build your website? Here are a few pro’s and con’s to help you decide. 

Cost

Let’s be honest, having a website built by a professional costs money, sometimes a lot of it, but the cost does vary depending on the skills and experience of the designer and platform that it is being built on. For a Shopify website built by an experienced designer and developer, you are looking at a starting cost of around £2,000, but you can easily add on more zeros to that price if you choose to use an agency or a designer at the top of their game. 

Control

Sometimes you just like to do it yourself, you don’t like to rely on developers or external agencies to make small changes to your website. By building the website yourself, you will gain the confidence to make these changes when you want to. You also don’t have to try to communicate what vision you have and then get disappointed if your developer or agency doesn’t meet your expectations. 

It’s Fun! 

This isn’t a tangible benefit, but building your website is fun! Being able to bring together different components to create something that’s yours, there’s just something special about it. So, if you enjoy being creative, and enjoy solving problems, then you may enjoy the process of building your website. 

But

Time

While it is a lot of fun, without the skills and knowledge of a designer/developer you’ll probably spend a long time getting your website to a stage where you are happy to launch it. There are a lot of different factors to consider when building a website, and if you aren’t familiar with the process, then you’ll end up spending a lot of time googling and watching tutorials on how to do a lot of things. As professional designers, for a simple e-commerce website we allocate 2-3 weeks to build it, so how much more time would you, who doesn’t build websites as a day job, spend on building your website? 

Opportunity Cost

Closely linked to the last paragraph, you then have to consider what are you missing out on by spending countless hours building your website. Every hour you spend on your website is an hour you are not spending on your business. Could you be doing something else that will bring in ROI (Return On Investment) of your time, such as making products, working on marketing materials, etc? It may end up being that you lose more money than you save by spending the money on having the website built for you. 

Limited Design

The issue with a lot of website builders is that you are often heavily limited to the templates and sections that are provided to you, meaning that if you want something that is not already built into the template or section, it is often impossible to do so unless you know how to code - if the platform you choose allows custom code. If you hire a designer then they should have the knowledge and skills to code these sections for you, meaning the design options available to you are near limitless.

User Experience

When building a website there are a lot of factors that users come to expect when browsing your website, and if there are any mistakes or things that break the norm they are more likely to leave your website rather than stay on your website and proceed to purchase. Through design, you are also able to affect how likely a user is to make a purchase on your website. As designers and developers, we have the knowledge and experience to be able to make sure that the experience of browsing your website is both pleasurable and encourages the user to make purchases. 

While this knowledge is no secret, there is a lot to learn, which again takes more time that could be better spent elsewhere on your business.

An Example

We want to have a beautiful custom-built wardrobe fitted into our new home. We might ask ourselves if we can build it ourselves, the answer? Probably, as we have some idea on how to do it. But, an even more important question to ask ourselves is do we have the time or expertise? The answer to that question is also easy, no, we definitely do not. Meaning, without that time or expertise it’s highly likely that we will end up with something far from the finished product we desire.

To build our custom-built wardrobe, we would need to dedicate ourselves to researching and practising our technique before we can even consider using those techniques in an attempt to create our wardrobe. And let’s face it… we would still run the risk of it not functioning properly, it not looking perfect, or it possibly even falling apart! Because in all honesty, we aren’t experts and have next to no knowledge in comparison to a professional.

So, just like building a custom-built wardrobe, there is much more to it than what you see on the surface. Yes, your website should be beautiful and draw in customers, and you might be able to achieve that, but there’s much more to it than that. Your website needs to do its job properly, just like my custom-built wardrobe needs to do its job properly too, otherwise, the result can be far from what you had desired.

Conclusion

So what do you think? 

While building a website yourself is possible, it is not the best option for everyone. 

Cost should not be the only factor that makes you decide whether to do this or not, so be sure to consider every factor before diving in and making your final decision.



Alex McLean

Co-founder of E-commerce Artisans. Experienced in web development. Passionate about books, DIY and gardening. You may find him hugging a tree every now and again.

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