Web designer or website builder: Which should you choose?

Whether you are selling products online or are trying to get more customers to your brick and mortar store, a website is essential for any business in 2019.

There are a flurry of website builder platforms out there, from WordPress to Wix and Go Daddy, boasting that building your own site is now easier and cheaper than ever. But the real question isn’t ‘can you’, it’s ‘should you’?

In this post, DLZ Design answers all your ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘how’ questions around web design to help you decide whether you should go it alone or invest in a web designer.

Should I take my business online?

Of course we believe that every business should have an online presence, because the benefits are so far reaching. While a lot of people still spend money in physical stores, the amount of spending online is increasing at an impressive rate.

Why your business needs an online presence

    • Become part of the decision making process: over 80% of shoppers carry out research online before investing in a large purchase. If you aren’t there then you will surely miss out.
    • Maintain and manage your online brand visibility: Whether we like it or not, people always have something to say; especially online. It is important that you are part of this discussion and are actively interacting with your loyal and potential customers, meeting them where they are; which is online.
    • Increase trust in your brand: 81% of people start their business research by looking online. By not having an online presence, you are missing out on a massive chunk of opportunity.
    • Keeping track of your audience: Traditional marketing efforts are a fantastic strategy to build authority for your brand, and when paired with a digital strategy can be immensely effective. But the results don’t come cheap and it is difficult to measure the impact. It is much easier to track these metrics online. When a website is linked to Google Analytics you can see how many people are coming onto your site, what pages they are interacting with, how much money they are spending (if you have an eCom site) and how many visitors are getting in touch with you either via contact forms or calling your directly. And did we mention that Google Analytics is free?

OK, I’m convinced. But can I build my own website?

The simple answer is yes, you can. Today, building a website is easier than ever thanks to a wide array of websites offering site building services. They all claim a simple build process to help people find your business quickly online.

Great, so what is the best website builder?

That is a fantastic question. Every web build site out there boasts that theirs is the best platform to opt for. For us, the best website building platform (whether building your own or investing in professional help) is WordPress.

The internet became public in 1989, and WordPress isn’t much younger. WordPress have had 16 years to really nail down their service and are constantly working to improve the ease of creating a website and managing it.

Top reasons to choose WordPress when creating a website

        • WordPress has SEO in mind:Whether you are planning on optimising your site yourself or are entrusting your site to an experienced SEO agency, any developer or digital marketer worth their salt will understand and be able to use WordPress. There are a whole host of plugins built by WordPress to make optimising your site quicker and easier than ever. Other web build sites can limit what you can achieve through SEO.
        • WordPress customisation is simple: Grab an off-the wall theme and make it your own with WordPress plugins. Or even better, choose a web design agency that is deft at WordPress builds to customise your site without the use of plugins to keep your page speed in the sweet spot.
        • Most WordPress themes are automatically responsive: If you keep your ear to the digital ground, you will most certainly have heard the words ‘mobile first indexing’. This basically means that Google has started to predominantly show ‘mobile versions’ of a website in their search results. Historically, companies have had two versions of one site – a version for desktop and a version for mobile. With wordpress, you only need one site with the majority of themes being ‘responsive’, which means your site will shrink down to the size of the device being used and still maintain its aesthetic layout.
        • You can run ecommerce through WordPress: There are multiple wordpress plugins that will turn your WordPress site into an online store. These include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify and more.

We could go on, but you get the idea. WordPress is the best option for both service-led and eCommerce websites.

The self-build or web designer debate

The final question we hear all the time is whether you should invest in a web designer or try to figure it out for yourself.

Building your own site can be tempting, but the truth is that investing in a web designer to take the web build off your hands is the best option; especially if you want your website to stand the test of time and reduce the risk of things going wrong.

Top reasons to invest in a web designer

          • A quality website guaranteed: Let’s face it, you wouldn’t try to install a boiler yourself, or use a disposable camera to take your wedding photos. You should have the same outlook for your web build. Your website is a like a storefront for potential customers. It should be crisp, easy to navigate and have a layout that guides people down the sales funnel and towards a desired conversion. You are guaranteed this when you invest in a knowledgeable and experienced site designer. So, if you don’t have an in depth knowledge of coding, sitemaps and robots.txt files, then we recommend investing in a web designer.
          • Speed up the web build process: Whilst we have no doubt that you will be able to build a website through WordPress, we can guarantee that this will take a lot longer; particularly if you aren’t experienced in style sheets or coding. Investing in a web designer may not cost as much as you think it does and it means that your website can be up and running much faster than if you try to build it yourself.
          • Invest in you future time, not just the present time: The best web designers will be able to offer support after the site has been built. Like a new build home, you are sure to experience some sort of snags down the line. A professional web designer will considerably decrease the amount of snags you will experience once the site has launched. And they will be able to identify the cause of these snags if they have built the site themselves.
One final piece of advice from us

Our final piece of advice is to make sure that your web designer also has a good understanding of SEO. If your site is not optimised then your site will be extremely difficult for your customers to find.

Make sure that your designer understands how people are looking for your site, what type of language / terminology they are using and that this is reflected in the site content. All images should be optimised and you should have an internal linking strategy aimed at both your site visitors and search engines for a start.

Whilst a web designer may cost a little more in terms of hard cash in the short term, the long term benefits far outweigh the cost of investment. A web designer will use years of experience to create a quality website to your specifications with a reduced risk of major snags later down the line.

If you have any questions or would like to know how we can help you create a stunning, functional and optimised site then get in touch and we will be more than happy to offer helpful advice and a competitive quote for our services.