How A Web Design Agency Is Different From The Free Website Building Platforms

Many startups and small businesses will consider building their own website. It is a way to save a little money if you are willing to invest the time. This a simple but big decision. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

If you don't want to use a professional web design agency then there are many free and low-cost tools for the do-it-yourselfer (DIYer). The following are low cost, or in many cases free solutions that allow a user to build a template-driven site:

  • Wix.com
  • Squarespace.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Google Sites
  • GoDaddy
  • Web.com

These DIY solutions are great if you have the time to learn all the different skills you will need to have an effective web presence and the accompanying online strategy.

I love to use the drywall mud analogy. I know, I know, you are thinking, how is applying drywall mud like a custom website design agency? Well, I am going to share this story with you.

Drywall mud service = Website design service

If you have ever had the opportunity to watch a professional apply drywall mud on the seams and nails of sheet drywall, you will have to admit that they make it look very easy. Each time I see guys and gals like this at work it always amazes me. I think to myself, “Self!” I say, “This is easy. You could do this!”

In fact, I recall that one time my wife even said to me: “John”, she said, “you are a handy guy, you can do this drywall mud stuff and save us a few dollars.” So, I try. It turns out the same every time: my seams don’t look professional, it's messy, I get dust and drywall mud everywhere.

Then I remind myself, “The pros are pros for a reason, they do this every day for many hours, and they have been doing it for years.”    They have smooth applications, they don't sand much, the finished product looks professional, they walk around on stilts and they move at the speed of lightning.

You can do a website as a DIY project, but for most businesses, a professional web design service will give professional results. It's just like drywall mud. Professionals at an agency can build your web presence efficiently because they do it all day, every day, and they have been doing it for years.

The custom website design development process is always changing. There are many nuances that will affect the performance of your website, including responsive mobile design, search optimization, conversion and calls to action. Hosting and domain name configuration is its own area of specialty and a professional can save your company hours.

Here is a breakdown of the things you might consider before you set off on a DIY website design project. 

Advantages of DIY Web Development

  • These solutions are cheap and most are quick and work well

Disadvantages of DIY Web Development

  • DIY means you need to do it all yourself
  • Limited or no call centre support
  • Limited functionality
  • Limited or no search engine optimization
  • Limited to templated web design

A do-it-yourself solution means that you will need to develop basic skills in a wide variety of areas:

  • DNS and Hosting
  • Responsive Design
  • Content Writing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Social Media
  • Photography
  • Videography

If your site will include e-commerce, online shopping, membership, or registration you will also need additional skills:

  • Database Design
  • Cloud Provisioning
  • Credit Card Integration
  • Software Programming

A full-service web design agency will bring a complete solution and team of experts to the table to build an engaging online presence.

An ideal team includes the following roles:

Online Strategy Specialist
Many businesses start building their online strategy with a website and possibly a Facebook page. A complete online strategy is about ongoing engagement and creating top of mind. How will your site attract visitors and convert them into customers? This is the key question for your web strategy.

Branding and Design
The design team will work with you on a design and visuals. Using HTML and CSS, they convert these into a website and graphic elements for social media.

Content Writing
The writer is one of the most critical members of the team. They will craft your message. Often clients have much of their content writing already done, but in some cases, a writer will need to create it all from scratch.

Database Code and Software
The site, content management system, content database and any custom code will be deployed to a web server. This work is done by the software engineering team. This team will have experience developing custom code for web-based applications including database and deployment to cloud services like AWS and Azure.

Search and Online Marketing  
Search includes the ability to get found and also to build engagement. A search marketing specialist is critical to your project.

Analytics and Reporting
After your site is live, an analytics professional is who you want to measure performance. Where is your traffic coming from? What keywords are attracting traffic? What traffic converts into leads and customers?

Thanks to my team of professional web design agency guys and gals.

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