Every business needs a website. If you’re serious about being successful and more than just survive, even the smallest of businesses should have a website - whether you’re selling pickles at local markets or are an electrician servicing the local community. That’s because no matter where you’re based or what goods or services you provide, a growing percentage of your customers will find you first online. And if you are not online, your competition will benefit! 
Almost everyone is using the internet to find the things they are looking for. The Federation of Small Businesses puts this number at around 97%, with over 80% of people using their phone to look up the products and services they require. Since Lockdown it stands to reason that these behaviours will have been further entrenched.  
What these revealing statistics tell us is that your business needs a website, and it needs to be optimised for use on mobile phones and search engines (SEO), particularly with relation to your local area. This will make it easier for customers to find you. 
Furthermore, it needs to be an effective website too, through visitors benefitting from the experience, with information easy to find and calls to action throughout. It has to engage quickly, within a few seconds, if not that potential customer will move onto your competitors. 
And of course, it should also be designed to work effectively for you and your business, facilitating a sales funnel and reinforcing the branding strategy you may have in order to maximise impact.  
Please remember, a visitor will quickly make a judgment of the ‘reputation’ of your business by looking at your website. If it looks dated, hard to read, with content which does not inform and a poor layout, these will not have a positive impression and will probably lead to a lost sale! 
So, once you have understood what is required from your website, you need to decide the best and most economical way of achieving it. There are two routes you can go down. One is to use one of the DIY/self-build website platforms out there. The other is to work with a professional website designer. But which is right for your business? 
Both have their pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at which option is best suited to your needs. 

The DIY approach 

The main benefit of going it alone and using a website building platform to create your own website is the cost. Some of these platforms offer a basic free service, or very low cost options. You can pay extra to add on plug-ins, creating a bespoke site for a minimum outlay. 
Web design platform sites declare themselves very easy to use and come with thousands of templates, frameworks, design and colour options. It is relatively easy to make a distinctive looking site, even if you think you’re not very tech savvy. There’s no coding to worry about – it’s mostly just clicking a button or drag and drop options. 
In fact, some of these sites claim to be able to get your site designed and up and running in under an hour. 
The reality, however, is slightly different. Despite claiming to have thousands of templates and design schemes, often these websites can end up looking samey and under-designed. There are ways of using plug-ins to create professional looking sites, but for first-time users this can often be out of reach. 
Functionality is not always great either. Sites can be glitchy and if you try to change your template or design it often means starting again from scratch. The really simple design packages leave you with unspectacular results and the more complex are not generally beginner-friendly. 
Then there is the issue of support. Doing it yourself very often means just that – you’re on your own. Something happens to your site or an issue arises, and it will be up to you to fix it. You might find an FAQ section or chat option but basically, you’ll be doing the repairs yourself. And this can be time-consuming and frustrating. 
So, what about the alternative? 

Working with a designer 

Many people are put off working with a web designer because of the perceived cost. For a small business or start-up, the idea of paying for external design input can be scary. But it might be more affordable than you think. One does need to shop around and do some research. 
Going for the DIY option might look like the more cost-effective choice but when you factor in the time it will take you to do it, as well as the ongoing maintenance issues and loss of efficacy then it may be a case of false economy. Afterall this is an investment in your business. 
A professionally designed website with a functioning sales funnel can easily pay for itself within months or even weeks of launch. 
Plus, you get the ongoing support of an expert who can help you to keep your website in top working order. Issues can be fixed quickly to avoid downtime and usability will be maximised for customers on your site. 
As we mentioned above, your site also needs to be SEO-ready in order to really connect with people in your local area. If you use a DIY template site, then you will need to do all of this either manually or by using a plug-in. This can be complicated and not always effective, and difficult to measure too. Use a professional designer who knows their trade, and you can be sure that your website is as visible as possible to the right search engines. 
Another reason people might have to choose the DIY option is that they want to retain control over their site. They think that a website built around code can be confusing, which leaves you in the designer’s hands – not ideal when you want to make changes or upload content. 
However, if you work closely with a designer then this needn’t be an issue. They can create websites that are user friendly, with content that’s easy to manage and edit as and when you need to. 

The right choice for you 

Here at it’seeze Web Design Watford, we create bespoke websites that work for you. Our personalised service means you get your own personal designer working with you through every step of the project. You’ll be kept in the loop at all times and will have final say over every decision. 
Plus, we offer ongoing support so we’ll be there to help should any issues arise. 
To find out more about what we do and why you don’t need to do website DIY or spend a small fortune, get in touch with our team today. 
We build websites that aim to help small businesses grow – both locally and nationally. We look forward to hearing from you. 
Tagged as: web design
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