Myself or Agency?

Here’s your case: your business needs a new website or it’s time to redesign your existing one.

By now, you have already get in touch with several agencies in your local area that will be able to help you set up your new WordPress website.

While waiting to get the estimates, you’ve done some research on the topic yourself and it seems that in 2018 it’s not that complicated to make the website anymore. There are so many tutorials and video guides on the web on how to setup WordPress, buy a hosting, a theme, configure some plugins and voilá, you have a brand new website. But is it really that easy?

Three agencies you’ve inquired for the quote replied with their estimates and it seems to be even higher than you’ve anticipated. Looking at the quotes, you are asking yourself what’s the real value of hiring an agency to create a website for you if you can do it yourself?

I have seen this situation many times before. Hundreds of business owners like yourself have reached out to us in the past, asking if our themes are easy enough to use if they can pull up a website together. We’ve seen thousands of sites using our themes done both by DIY-ers and those done by professionals.

In this article, I will cover all the positive and negative aspects of doing the website yourself versus hiring a professional (i.e. web design agency) do it for you.

Reasons for Creating a Website Yourself

Let’s take a look first at the reasons why you’d like to do it yourself.

First and foremost, the price. By looking and reading the tutorials on the internet you will get the impression that setting up a website is easy and this is true. The technology available today allows you to create a new website without the in-depth technical knowledge or coding skills. There are many builders and platforms available. If websites were a luxury back in the days, today they are a commodity. WordPress is the most popular CMS out there, but there are others as well, each of them with their strong points and weaknesses.

Why then pay someone to create a website for you, if it’s easy enough we can do it ourselves? The magic ingredient we’re missing is effective. That said, it seems to be easy to create a website, but very hard to create an effective website which is generating new business for you. You should treat the price of the website as the investment which will eventually pay off.

Setting up a website without thorough research and planning is a waste of time and money, no matter how cheap it was to set it up because, without a proper strategy, planning, and execution, your efforts will NEVER pay off.

By creating a website yourself, you’re wasting your time doing the things that are not the core of your business and that others can do better and more efficiently. You will have to invest lots of time and resources to familiarize yourself with the web technologies: hosting, domains, WordPress itself, plugins, security, backups … the list is long. It’s not worth it going through this process for only setting up a single website for your business.

I’ve started this paragraph with a single benefit in favor of doing it yourself – the price. If you’re a business owner and creating websites is not the primary focus of your business, it’s not worth it.

Knowing that, let’s take a look at the reasons for hiring an agency to do it.

Reasons for Hiring an Agency Creating a Website for You

There are many, so let’s get straight to it.

First, every decent agency (or freelancer) will not jump in and start designing or programming, but it will be your consultant and together with you plan your online presence. They will put themselves in the role of the advisor first, then executor. If that’s not the case, most probably you are not working with the right people and it’s time to rethink the selection of the agency you choose.

With the plan in place, they will make sure that your new website will look professional. This means a professional design, tailored to your existing brand. What ‘professional design’ means in this context usually depends on your budget and importance of unique design. Most of the small to medium business websites today are based on premium WordPress themes and that’s perfectly fine. By using a theme, the agency will be able to deliver so much more for a given budget in other areas and not on the designing and development from scratch. Moreover, most premium themes available today are very customizable so there are slim chances two websites will look the same. However, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s easy for someone without proper knowledge of web design to destroy the professional look & feel of the theme when choosing the wrong images, copy, color scheme and typography.

The agency will make sure that even when using a bought theme, your site will still look professional and unique. If necessary, they will make additional adjustments to the theme’s existing design and functionality via a child theme.

At the planning phase, you’ll find together a good content plan for your website and work from there backward – a good website is about good content, not about code or design. I’m sure that everyone is daily using at least one website which is ugly, but the content there is good and you don’t mind the design. I know that for me, reddit.com is one of these sites.

Speaking of copy, the agency will help you to prepare a good copy for your website. Still, remember that your website should have a purpose and bring you new customers? Almost nothing on your website is as important as good copy, supported by images and videos. So it’s much better to explain your business and your goals to a copywriter which will provide you a compelling copy for your WordPress site which will convince your website visitors to get in touch with you or even buy your products or services online (if you have an eCommerce site).

The copy of your website should first and foremost be written for your target audience in mind. But people who are writing copy also have another important aspect at the back of their mind all the time – the search engine optimization (SEO). WordPress is an excellent choice for the SEO and Google loves it because it allows for easy crawling of the content. But all this doesn’t make any sense if the content that is presented on your website doesn’t follow some rules that help Google understand what you’re trying to say on your website. And this is another aspect you’ll benefit from hiring a WordPress agency – they will optimize your website for SEO. And again, returning to the importance of the purpose of the business website, one of the most important things is that potential customers can find you on Google when they search for your services. This is especially important for local SEO.

There are hundreds of factors that impact your Google SEO rankings. The copy is one of the most important ones, but a good agency will take care that your website loads fast, optimize the images on it and recommend you a good hosting, preferably one with the servers located in the same country where your customers reside.

If everything above goes smooth and the agency did the job well, you will be rewarded with a new, beautiful, effective website! Time to open a champagne and celebrate! 🍾

However, it’s not that simple. Websites are never ‘done’ but they need to be kept updated, both tech-wise as well as content-wise. WordPress, the theme, and the plugins are getting updates over time and if you don’t want to wake up one day to realize your website is not working anymore, you should keep maintaining it. A good agency will get you covered, so you don’t have to do it yourself, but they will regularly maintain your website on the long run and give you peace of mind.

Conclusion

At the end, if the agency has done the job as it should, the website will start generating more business for you soon after launch and some of the revenue generated through the website should be invested back in keeping it in a good shape. Progressively improving your WordPress website over time and letting it grow together with your brand will be far less costly (and more efficient!) than investing in the whole website redesign every 2-3 years.

To go through the list again. The benefits of going through an agency than pulling the trigger yourself:

  • They will come up with a plan and a strategy for your new website.
  • They will make sure that your website looks professional and functions flawlessly. Even when using pre-made premium themes (like the ones we create at ProteusThemes), they will customize it to match your brand.
  • They will help you prepare the content for your website – copy, images, videos etc.
  • They will optimize the site for performance and ensure that it ranks well on Google.
  • Once finished, they will help you maintain the website on the long run and let it grow with you.
  • All this while you can focus on the core of your business – be the best at what you do!

Of course, at the end of the day, it might seem that it might cost you more. But as I’ve put it at the beginning – it’s hard to build an effective website that will bring you new business. Make that investment and hire a professional who can deliver you such a website!

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About the Author
Since I built my first website in primary school I've had a strong passion for web development. When not visiting conferences, giving talks or organizing local development related events, I focus on fast and highly optimized online solutions. I'm a windsurfer, snowboarder and beer lover in my leisure time.