Web design is a crucial consideration for any business these days. Even before the pandemic, online shopping was growing rapidly across the country, a trend that has only increased in 2020.
It’s more important than ever before to have a well-designed website that promotes your business and encourages people to buy from you — especially if you’re a small business.
And when it comes to small business web design, you have two basic options: do it yourself (DIY) or have someone create a website for you.
How to decide
Factors that should influence your decision about which web design option to choose include:
- How much you’re willing/able to spend
- How much time you can to commit to it
- Your level of comfort with technology
- What features you need for your small business website (e.g. database integration, a secure vendor portal, etc.)
Let’s look at both the DIY and outsourcing options in more detail to help you make the best web design choice for your small business.
Doing your own web design
There are many small business web design tools available online these days. For example, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing is very popular, easy to use and can provide you with a great website or online store.
Key considerations for choosing a web design tool are its ability to:
- Look great on any device. Recent data shows that 48% of web page views worldwide are on mobile devices. It’s crucial for your website to work just as well on smaller mobile screens as they do on desktop computers.
- Help your site to get found on Google via search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Integrate your website with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- Create a site that loads quickly, regardless of the device it’s viewed on.
The general pros and cons of the DIY approach to web design are outlined below.
Reputable DIY website building tools have a number of benefits. They can be:
Some are even free. However, whatever web design tool you use, you will still need to pay for web hosting to make your website visible on the internet.
Easy to use
The best web builders now require few technical skills beyond point, click, drag and drop.
Quick to get started
You’ll want to choose a builder with a range of prebuilt design templates that you can choose from to suit the look and feel that you want for your small business website.
If you don’t use a reputable web design tool, you’ll likely give yourself some headaches in terms of cost, time and your overall satisfaction with the end result. Your site could also have issues like:
- Poor page display on mobile phones and tablets
- Slow loading speed, causing visitors to quickly click away
- No SEO optimisation, resulting in poor search rankings
Any of these can harm your business in terms of lost leads and sales.
Handing your small business web design off to a pro
Outsourcing your website design to a professional is the alternative to DIY. This option has the following plusses and minuses:
While hiring it out does require your input — you’ll need to supply photos, videos and often written content — it’s the easiest option of all.
If you don’t have any web design expertise yourself or within your team, hiring a pro can save you time and hassle. Instead, you can focus on what you do best.
A highly customised website
A pro may be able to give you a more sophisticated website with database integration, say, or one capable of high-volume eCommerce, than you can design yourself.
Your web designer may be able to provide you with ongoing support as your website grows. You should ask about this possibility before you hire a designer.
There are a couple of downsides to hiring someone to build a website for you:
Outsourcing web design can be expensive. Factors that affect cost will include the complexity of the design and the functionality that you need for your site, as well as the total number of pages.
If you and your web designer don’t communicate well, your website may not necessarily turn out the way that you hoped. You may end up paying for design or functionality that you don’t like, want or need.
A few tips on hiring a pro
If you want to outsource your web design, make sure you get quotes from several providers before making your decision. A reputable designer should be able to provide you with samples of their high-quality web design work, as well as recommendations from their satisfied clients.
A good designer will take the time to understand your needs and budget by asking you questions about your business and digital goals.
This is the only way they can provide you with useful web design ideas and options. After all, no one can know the strengths of your small business better than you do! It’s important that you communicate those strengths and what you’re trying to achieve to your web designer.
The bottom line
If you’re a small business, your website is often the first impression that your potential customers get about the products and services you provide.
As the old saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! That means it’s crucial to have a great-looking, easy-to-use site for your business. If your website gives your potential customers a bad impression, they’ll simply go elsewhere.
If you want to take the DIY web design option, make sure that you use a tool offered by a trusted source. And if you want to outsource, choose wisely to get the functionality and the design quality that you’ll need to justify the cost.
One final point to remember: just because you can outsource, doesn’t mean that you necessarily should, especially with the range of easy-to-use web design tools that are available today. The choice is up to you!