If you’re starting a new business, you can quickly get caught up in developing the visual aspects of your concepts. Branding and having a web presence are important (and exciting!), and there are thousands of designers out there who have created beautiful products for their clients.
But do you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a web design made from scratch? If you’re bootstrapping, that kind of investment might be out of the question right away.
If you’re not sure if you should spend money on a web designer or DIY, think about these three situations where doing it yourself could be a great option.
When you need it quick.
Working with a web designer can be an amazing experience, but that quality work takes time. Consider your upcoming product launch or special event before you get quotes from a designer. From concepting to wireframing to content development, the process of taking a website from idea to live site can take weeks or months.
If your deadline is approaching and you need a web presence, it makes sense to take the DIY route. Even grabbing a domain and putting up a landing page can help solidify your web presence.
When you want something simple.
If you’ve thought about your future web presence and don’t expect it to be very active, the DIY route might suit you well. If you primarily communicate through social networks like Facebook or Instagram, consider still setting up a website as a hub for the various ways customers or clients can reach you. Even a simple WordPress-based site can accommodate an events calendar, news page or basic blog format.
When you don’t need ecommerce.
Here’s one to think long and hard about: Will you ever consider offering ecommerce for your products or services? Depending on the complexity of your sales funnel, adding ecommerce to your website down the line could present big challenges for a web design novice. Simple web sales setups like Big Cartel or Squarespace can satisfy a lot of ecommerce needs you may want to add to your site; if you’re using a platform like Etsy, you may not want to integrate ecommerce at all.
A few more things to consider before you start laying out your DIY site:
- Are you patient? DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Virb look easy, but it still takes time to master the learning curve and get your site looking just right. These platforms offer helpful tutorials to create a visually pleasing website and work through some of the common kinks, but it may still take some trial and error — or even time consulting forums — to overcome any tricky obstacles.
- Do you have an eye for design? With all the possibilities available in a plug-and-play web design tool, you might be tempted to get carried away. Make sure the colors, style and navigation of your site match your brand and the goals of your organization. Putting together a website is the perfect time to remember the saying, “When in doubt, leave it out!”
- Do you have time to make changes and updates on your own? Now’s the time to schedule regular updates to your website, or assign this task to someone on your team. Even if you’re not posting to a blog regularly, you’ll need to make sure your hours, contact information, policies and other pieces of information are accurate.
Not sure how much time or money you should spend building the online presence for your new company? Talk to a SCORE mentor who can guide you through this exciting time.
by Bridget Weston Pollack
Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services.