It is a truth universally acknowledged that a freelancer in possession of a good business must be in want of a website. Even if you’re going great guns promoting yourself on social media, the fact is you need a website. It provides authenticity and suggests that you’re a solid business. That’s even before you start toying with the dark delicious magic that is SEO. So it’s a given that you need a website. But now the question is: do you have a go at building your own, or should you let the experts take over? We’ve got a good idea about this sort of thing, so here’s our list of the pros and cons of building your own website.
Pro 1: It’ll be free
Hiring a professional web developer is going to cost money. Depending on whom you go with, it could cost a LOT of money. Even the cheapest could potentially be out of your meagre business budget. So if you can do it yourself, you’re potentially saving yourself a lot of money. Yay!
Pro 2: You get to work at your own pace
You can therefore decide what’s a priority, and what you need to spend more or less time on. Sometimes employing a professional means you get a bit swept away on the tide of their enthusiasm and end up agreeing to things you might not want or need. Doing it yourself means you can prioritise and work at your own pace. After all…
Pro 3: You know your own business best
So you can skip the preamble you’ll have with a web designer. You know your own brand, and what your brand voice sounds like. In that respect you are absolutely the best person to know how to translate that online. You also know what your customers need, so you can make decisions on the website content and layout that reflects those needs.
Alas, there are definitely downsides to building your own website. In fact, there are quite a few. We’ll stick to the main ones, from our perspective.
Con 1: Can you actually build a website?
We know there are website builders online that provide frameworks but to truly build a great website you have to keep in mind things like content creation, SEO, marketing. The actual nuts and bolts of web design. It’s brilliant when you’re spending four hours choosing your font but if the site looks like it was built by an enthusiastic amateur then that’s going to undermine your business.
Con 2: Building a website takes a lot of time
And all the savings you’re making on building your own website could end up being lost in the time YOU lose building it. A good rule of thumb (always!) is to know what your time is worth. If you charge £20 an hour, how long is it going to take you in cash money terms to build a website – and is that amount more or less than the amount you’d have paid a professional to build it?
Con 3: You can’t see the wood for the trees
The problem with being a freelancer, on occasion, is that you get so bogged down in the little details that it becomes hard to take a step back and see the bigger picture. A good example of this is using technical language; second nature to you and anyone in your field, but doesn’t translate to the layman. This is the peril of knowing too much and not being able to zoom out. A good website developer will help you to do that.
Ultimately, you have to do your research. If you don’t know a wireframe from your elbow and think Comic Sans is a viable font option then it might be best to hand the mouse over to a professional. But if you’re creative and confident, and have a handle on the tools out there, then you should definitely give it a go. And if you do decide you’re going to go for it, then pob lwc! It’s a great feeling creating something new.