Should I build or buy a website?
As a small business owner, your time is money and you’re focused on building your business (as most small business owners are) then it’s probably most logical to hire a professional web team and here’s why.
On average, it will take about 150-200 hours to build a SIMPLE website that works on both desktop and mobile responsive.
Some of the biggest time consuming tasks include:
- Deciding who to target your website for
- Deciding your CTA
- Writing the copy/content for every section
- Image editing and touch-ups
- Formatting the elements of your website correctly
- Understanding how your page builder will work
There are thousands of minute items that go into making a website. Do you know how to handle things like a call to action, web hosting, headlines, and mobile responsive design and coding? That’s just the beginning! Let’s say that you worked on your website for 5 hours a week…(which is more than most busy business owners have available as it is) – your website would be done in about 35 WEEKS! If you hire a professional team, your website can be done in as little as 2-4 weeks. Another element is to consider the cost of lost business, not only for the time you spent on the website and not on your core business operations, but also the 31 other weeks where your website could be up and running, generating leads and revenue for half of an entire year.
So… If you value your time at around $100 an hour and it takes you 175 hours, then it would cost you roughly $17,500 to develop your own website (in the most basic format for desktop and mobile). All this goes without factoring your opportunity cost as a business owner. If you are a small business owner we suggest BUYING a website. Not only will this save you time and frustration, but the design quality and functionality will almost definitely be more comprehensive than a DIY build. Additionally, to maintain your website, you will need to spend ongoing time to care for it, completing security updates for plugins and themes. Check out our article to learn more about WordPress website maintenance plans.
But what if I want to try to build my own?
If you want to build your own website, know that it is possible and with the help of youtube and a user friendly website builder, it can definitely be accomplished. Our four favorite DIY website builders are Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and Weebly. Each has their own benefits and disadvantages.
Should I build my website with WordPress?
In general, roughly 40%+ of websites on the internet are built using WordPress.com and WordPress.org. First, we should distinguish that when we say WordPress, we are referring to WordPress.com and not the open source software that can be used to build your website. These are two different things.
The primary differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org are related to the incorporation of third party software, site theme options, and ecommerce functionality. WordPress.org is a CMS or content management system tool while WordPress.com is a website builder. With WordPress.org, you can download the software, but have to establish hosting and organize everything associated with your website on your own. With WordPress.com, is a service more closely related to the other website builders where you pay a fee for the service and you can build and host your website through WordPress. The options for customization are much less through WordPress.com since you cannot utilize outside plugins and software. While this is a negative of the .com version, it is still much easier to edit, update and manage your website through WordPress.com.
WordPress.com pricing ranges from a few dollars a month up to $25 per month for a business website and $45 per month for an e-Commerce website. The business or e-Commerce plan provides access to premium themes and live support to assist you in building your website. With WordPress.com, the initial cost is often higher due to the need for a web development team. With this being said, if your website requires advanced features like login portals, scheduling and more, then WordPress.com will not be the best option.
- Modified version of WordPress.org
- Good user interface
- Good for those looking for basic website or blog functionality
- Limited additional features (unless using WordPress.org)
- Does not allow third party themes
- Billed annually
- Ample storage for hosting
Should I use Wix to build my website?
Wix is one of the most popular and well known DIY website builders. You can purchase a domain, build and host your website all in one. Wix will provide you with hundreds of template options to build your website. Depending on your plan, templates will range from E-commerce to basic service and information oriented templates. These templates are great for small businesses who are looking to launch a new online store, or businesses who want to begin to share their services online. Wix has a lot of creative flexibility and is best suited for those who have an idea of what they are looking to create, rather than someone looking for a premade structure or website. Wix allows you to place any elements on the page exactly where you want them. On other page builders, moving an element over one pixel may not be possible like it is with Wix. When you are building your website to be mobile optimized, Wix does not automatically do this for you like some other builders. You will be required to update the mobile formatting separately from your desktop design and layout. Depending on the plan you select, Wix offers up to about 250 additional applications or pieces of software that can be used to improve your website like booking features, live chat on your website. While there are a lot of options, this is relatively limited compared to some of the other website builders.
Wix pricing starts at around $16 a month for a basic website, to display services and information and around $27 for business or E-commerce websites. Each tier provides slightly different features with the more expensive plans providing more extensive flexibility. If you’re interested in looking at the most up-to-date plans and pricing for a Wix website, you can visit their pricing page. Note: Wix does offer free plans, however they are not suitable for a professional business website.
- Very user friendly(Can generate unique site for you based on features)
- Moderate amount of additional features
- Pixel perfect placement (Place elements anywhere on the page)
- Less structure (pro and con depending on who you are)
- Design is not immediately mobile responsive
- Once template is selected, you can’t change it without recreating the content again)
- Marketing tools are available within the platform itself
Should I use SquareSpace to build my website?
SquareSpace offers over 150 template options for design that can be adjusted to fit your business’s needs. Similar to competitors, they aim to offer user friendly page editing to assist you in customizing any template to your specific business needs. Some of the more advanced features include allowing customization of the code to add specific design elements, booking features, and the ability to sell products or services (and see e-Commerce analytics) completely through your website. Depending on the plan that’s best for your business, SquareSpace offers additional software or applications which can plugin to your website to further increase functionality. SquareSpace also has intuitive page layouts that do not require the user to know exactly what sections to place where, but provides guidance by organizing them in the template. The organized templates are great for building guidance, but do not allow placement of items anywhere, rather in a grid layout.
Pricing for SquareSpace is comparable to the other website builders, starting at around $16 a month for personal use and $23 a month for business use. While a personal use site may cover the basics, business plans offer additional CSS customization, more advanced analytics, ecommerce capabilities and more. It is important to consider the functionality that your business needs not only now, but in the future as well. To view more about SquareSpace pricing, you can check out their pricing page.
- Structured templates
- Grid based design, cannot move elements to exact pixels (less clutter, less freedom)
- Easy user experience
- Integration of outside application and softwares
- Store/e-Commerce functionality is a premium feature
- Built in marketing tools
- SEO Experts (For hire, not included in plan)
- Stock photos available in editor
Should I build my website using Weebly?
Weebly is a great option for beginners. While there is less flexibility in design compared to other builders, it is one of the most user friendly and intuitive website builders. Weebly does offer custom code options to further develop and design your website, but this is often not intuitive and typically not very useful for beginners or those looking to quickly build their own small business website. The templates that are provided are relatively basic, but there are a good number of applications or additional software that can extend the features of your weebly website. Weebly offers extensive customer service through chat that is available during regular business hours and a chatbot to help you outside of those times (phone support is available on some premium plans). It is important to note that Weebly provides a lot of the base tools included in their plans, but many of the advanced features are only available on premium tiers or behind an additional paywall all together.
There are free and personal cost websites for Weebly, however for business or professional use, their plans start at around $12 a month, offering basic capabilities, site statistics, an ad free environment, and unlimited storage. Weebly’s more advanced plans feature faster website speeds, advanced e-commerce analytics, additional payment options and more. It is important to note that there are email marketing features that come at an extra cost and can be a limit on the number of transactions per month based on your plan. If you are interested in reviewing Weebly’s website plans, you can take a look at their pricing page.
- Great for beginners
- Limited number of templates available
- More structured design
- Extensive applications that can be implemented on your website
- Ability to manage and customize website from Weebly’s mobile app
- Great for simple e-Commerce web builds
If you’re willing to put in the extra effort and spend time building your website, doing it yourself website builders can be helpful. We do recommend working with a professional team to make your website’s design and function match your goals for your business. You will most definitely save yourself time and (probably) many headaches. If you need help building a website, click the “Get Started” button or Chat With Us!