The Great Debate in Web Design: DIY versus Bespoke Professional
August 14th 2016 | By Steve Grant
Is there a right way or a wrong way to design a website? We say, in a way, yes. But the right or wrong way is very much dependent on a number of factors: it’s certainly not a straight yes or no answer.
Whether to do it yourself, go the template route or opt for full-on bespoke professional design very much depends on your resources, and your objectives. But the decision making process absolutely must include careful consideration of all your options, because what you don’t want is to find yourself dealing with a regrettable false economy.
So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of DIY and template website design, and the same for bespoke design. That way you can apply it to your situation and hopefully you’ll arrive at the right decision for your business.
DIY and Template Website Design
There are numerous ‘drag and drop’ website builders out there now offering businesses the chance to build their own website in ‘just a few clicks’. Whilst these tools started off somewhat, shall we say, ‘clunky’, they have improved recently and are a bit more user friendly than they used to be. They also offer the benefit of being economical – often free with a hosting plan – so if budgets are restricted, it can be a good way to achieve an online presence without too much expense.
Website builders use ‘skins’, ‘templates’ or ‘themes’ which form the basis of the design. These can look fairly appealing and offer the benefit of not having to think too much about the structure and layout of your website; however the issue is that in choosing one, it is likely that another business is going to have the exact same look as you. If being unique and standing apart from your competitors is important to you, then this is obviously not the route to take.
Templates and themes are also limiting, and this can prove quite frustrating if you have something in mind you particularly want to achieve design wise. Yes you can choose colours and there are layout options. But these options may not suit your needs and unless you know how to fiddle around with code (if indeed the builder allows that), you’re probably not going to get very far if you want to vary your starting blocks.
You may also find it difficult or even impossible to move the website to another hosting provider once you’ve built it, which could mean completely starting again if you decide to switch down the line.
Also think about additional costs. You may start with a free or low cost plan, but if you want to add features such as mailing list sign-ups, enquiry forms or an online shopping function, you will likely find yourself paying extra. It may even work out that your intended savings aren’t actually amounting to much at all.
Professional Bespoke Website Design
Let’s start with the downside: it’s not going to be cheap, and it could take a while to complete. But for what you pay, you are going to enjoy the benefits of experience, expertise and marketing knowhow. You’ll get a website that is crafted around your business objectives, and that fits perfectly with your brand and your audience.
When you set up a website using a DIY builder package, you have to expect to spend a fair amount of time on it. You’ll also need to spend time keeping it up to date and making sure it’s functioning properly. If it’s not working properly, it is likely you may have to get through a menu of automated options before you can actually speak to anyone to try and resolve the issue. That could easily eat into your precious time: time you really should be spending on your business.
None of this is going to happen if you opt for professional bespoke design. What you will get is a single point of contact: the human touch. You will enjoy a personalised service from people who value you as an individual and who will have the hands-on knowledge to sort any problems out for you as they arise. They’ll also advise you on an individual basis as to the structure of your website; the pages you need and the best way to approach the layout so that the end user experience is optimised.
One thing though that you will need to ensure is that if you want to be able to edit certain parts of your website yourself, that this is possible. Whilst the main content elements and images of a bespoke website are usually editable, other areas of the site may not be, which means you may have to request the designer to make changes when required. This is something to be aware of at the start of a project.
So – to DIY – or to go Bespoke?
Only you can make that decision. Just bear in mind what you are looking to achieve. If it’s a simple online presence that doesn’t cost you too much, and you are happy to work within the restrictions of a template, then by all means go the DIY route. But if you are looking for something unique and tailored to your business objectives, it has to be bespoke.
Interested in finding out more about bespoke website design? Get in touch with Figment!