If you are thinking about getting a website, you are probably wondering if you should do it yourself or if you should hire someone.

With modern tools anyone can make a website. It just takes several hours.

In this quick guide I will share what you need to know to make this decision and the various options you have available.

If you are not sure, find an expert you trust to guide you.

Even if you choose to make the website yourself, remember to always make a backup for your website. Especially a backup for any customer information that will be stored on your website, and your website’s content.

There are experts that will provide maintenance and support to any website, regardless of how it was made. This guide will explain how to choose an expert.

 

Quick table of contents
a. Making a website on your own

b.Using tools to make a website: tools for beginners and for experts.

c.Hiring an expert: with the different types of website experts and the insights about each expert type

 

1. Making a website on your own

You should only make a website if you feel confident enough in your skills.

The skills you need to make a website on your own include basic website management skills, understanding of hosting and security, as well as basic design skills.

Your website represents you/your business. It is more important than any other marketing you will do. It is key to have a website that has solid user experience (desktop and mobile). Your website needs to look clean & modern. Some industries/businesses have user expectations on how the website needs to look or what it needs to have.

web design
web design

2. Using tools to make a website

There are many websites building tools.
They range from free to hundreds of dollars per month.

Most of these tools offer a variety of options based on skill and need.

Most tools have limits on what can be done with them.
These limits only matter when one wants a very specific design, or a very custom behavior or some advanced functionality (mobile app integration, multi-user portal, etc).

When choosing to use a tool to make a website it is IMPORTANT to remember that you won’t own the website, you are just paying a subscription to the tool and when you stop paying you can lose your whole website – including all your content and client information.
Which is why I am repeating what I said in the introduction: ALWAYS make a backup of your website!

i.Tools for beginners

There are many website building tools that are very easy to use and require no design and no code.

There are many website builders to choose from. An expert can guide you on which tools is best for you.

Here are a few of the most popular website builders: Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy’s website builder.

For beginners there are also landing page builders that create a single page or a micro site of up to 3 pages.

Landing page building tools are heavily focused on creating micro sites that convert visitors to leads and are meant for marketing campaigns. Whereas website building tools are designed to make websites that would last beyond a marketing campaign.
Landing page builders can make micro sites that would last, but they usually have limited capabilities.

Some landing page builders can even be integrated into regular websites.

Here are some landing page builders: Unbounce, Instapage, and Leadpages

ii.Tools for intermediate to advanced users.

Some “tools”, such as Shopify and WordPress, have a range of options suited for both beginners, and for advanced users (developers, designers, and others) to customize them as much as they want.
I call these “tools” as they are content management systems (CMS) and not just website building tools.

I mention Shopify and WordPress because they are proven best-in-class. WordPress has as much as 62.8% of the global website market share according to W3Techs and Shopify has as much as 28.1% of the US eCommerce platforms market. Also, Shopify is a Canadian success story.

 

c.Hiring an expert

If you are thinking about hiring an expert to make you a website, then BEFORE reaching out to experts first decide what kind of website you want and come up with a budget range that you can afford. Also think about other things that may be important for you when choosing an expert, for example they must be local.

 

Even when an expert makes the website for you, you will need to spend some time with them to ensure they are giving you what you want. Therefore, before you hire an expert make sure to be available to meet with your expert for at least 1-2 hours per week.

 

To prevent being scammed, never pay for the whole website upfront. Always start with a deposit and then pay the expert as the work is done after they show you progress.

 

Don’t work with anyone unless they guarantee you regular updates and that they are available in your time zone!

 

There are different types of website experts:
i.Marketing experts

Marketing experts could be a digital marketing agency or a digital marketing consultant, or even a designer.

A solid digital marketer with real client references should be able to help you with your website.

 

If getting short-term results from the website you are looking to build, is more important than having the best possible website, then choosing a marketing expert over any other type. Because a marketer is driven by selling marketing services.

Therefore, some marketing agencies and consultants offer to make the website for free if a client signs up for a specific term with them.

 

Developers and IT consultants can also optimize websites, but they are not experts on delivering performance as marketing experts are.

Marketing experts specialize in knowing the most about marketing, and often their website knowledge is limited. Meaning, if your website has something technical and very specific about it, don’t go to a marketer unless they are also a website expert.

 

But if you are choosing to engage with a marketing expert, start the conversation talking about the performance you can expect from their services.

 

3. Developers and General IT

There are many types of developers, development agencies, and IT consultants.

All types have technologies they are stronger at and technologies where they have less experience.

All developers and IT consultants should be able to intelligently advise on making a website. But remember they will usually push you towards the technology they are strongest at.

 

To avoid being sold on something that may not be the best for you always get advice from at least three different experts. Ideally, you should ask different types of experts, e.g. a digital marketer and a web developer or a couple of different web developers.

Developers

iii. Low-cost experts

Prices vary greatly as web development is not regulated and it has global competition.

 

If price is the most important to you, and you have a budget of under $2,000 for your website, then start with freelance websites where you can find international experts at almost any price.

Freelance websites allow you to vet freelancers based on reviews and submit projects that freelancers will bid on. The best freelancer websites by far are Fiverr Pro and UpWork.

 

4. Local Experts

Local experts usually charge more than those listed on freelance websites.
Local experts also offer better communication and the best customer service.

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Expert local web developers are in very high demand. Therefore, many local experts outsource web development to increase their capacity and lower their own costs.

 

If an expert tells you they are local, and local is very important to you, then ask them what that means and how local they are. You can also request to work with only local team members.

 

Local experts usually know about grants and can help you get a grant for your website work.

If the website’s quality is the most important to you then always choose a local expert!

If you are unsure if you are getting a good quote, check out this blog post: link.