Should You Build Your Own Tradesperson Website? Pros and Cons
You’d think building a website in 2021 was easy, but if you’ve spent any time in a free website builder, you’ll understand it’s a time-consuming and steep learning curve. To help save you the 2-3 weeks you’ll spend before you have any idea how to get your website live, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of building your own site!
Building a site isn’t like installing a shelf.
It’s not a matter of doing A, and ending up with B. You’ve got to figure out how to use your chosen website builder, where to get new photos, how to write content, where and how to transfer your domain, how to connect your emails, how to get your site live – the list goes on.
If you’re anything like most tradesperson businesses, you probably just want to get back to running your business.
But if you’re going to outsource your website build, you’ll have the challenge of who to get to build your website.
Your mate John can do it down the road for a case of beer, or a few hundred dollars. Agencies are quoting you $3,000 – $15,000. And you end up feeling confused and tired about all your options.
If you want to read our full article on how to decide who should build your website go here.
“How can I decide if building my own website is the right choice for me?”
The right answer for your business comes down to 2 things.
Whether you value time or money.
If you’ve got time, an interest in web design, and a lot of patience then building your own site can save you money.
But if you’d rather leave it to the pros you can spend a little more to save time and end up with a site that’s optimised for Google and designed to attract leads.
Tradies: Don’t Invest a Dollar in Digital Marketing Until You Read This!
Here’s the catch – not all websites are built the same (so don’t get ripped off)
Just because an agency builds your website and you pay a lot for it, that doesn’t mean your website will be any good! (If you’d like to learn more about how to build a great website for your trade business go here.)
Websites often cost thousands of dollars for NO results, especially if the agency doesn’t know what they’re doing.
By the same logic, just because you can pay someone from Timbuktu or your mate Billy to build a site doesn’t mean it’ll help you get more leads. In fact, a cheap website can turn off potential customers who think your handiwork will be as shoddy as your site design.
Type “how much does a website cost” into Google and you’ll see everything from a cut-price deal on Fiverr to a $15,000 website built with all the latest bells and whistles.
With such a price range, it’s natural to wonder if you can build a website yourself and save all the hassle.
Site builders like Pedestal, Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace say they make it easy to stand up a website in a few hours* and some of them do.
We’re not going to tell you there’s no value in building your own site because that would be a lie. You can build your own site if you’ve
Got the time
Got the patience to learn
Got a small budget
If you tick any of the above boxes then building your own site may be the perfect option for you. On the flipside, when you pay for a pro website you save time and there’s a greater likelihood your site will recoup its cost because of the experience of agencies.
To help make your decision easier, let’s answer a few key questions first.
Do you really have the time to build your own website and learn about digital marketing?
In life, everything has an opportunity cost.
That means if you do one thing, you’re trading the resources, time and energy to do the other. For example, if a landscaper lands two jobs at the same time, he’ll have to use half of his equipment on each job. When you make a decision about your business, you’re also giving up something in return.
When it comes to building your own site, it’s important to recognise you’re going to be giving up time.
Trying to build your own website may seem like fun, until you actually try and write a page of quality content. Then you realise it’s not worth the hassle. If you want to learn the most common mistakes most tradespersons make when building their websites go here.
To help you make an informed decision, here are the pros and cons of building your own website.
Building your website – Pros
✔ You save money
Let’s be honest, the #1 motivator for you is to save money. And rightfully so, the more you can keep costs down while still bringing in leads, the more profitable your business is. Hiring a web developer can be expensive, but building your own site can cost a handful of dollars – or nothing at all.
You can sign up to Wix or WordPress for free, pick a theme for free, and publish your new website within hours. Unfortunately, the TRUE cost of a DIY website isn’t always obvious.
For a start, most website builders run on a freemium model. That means you get limited access to certain features, but you’ll need to pull out the credit card to unlock more advanced features. This isn’t a matter of accessing extra colours or fonts either. It’s likely you’ll need to pay to add crucial features like contact forms, or even a personalised email address. And if you want extra support to help iron out a few kinks, well that’s going to cost you extra too.
But if your goal is to get a simple website with some basic info about your business and your contact details, building your own site can save you thousands of dollars.
✔ You’re in complete control
Your business is your baby, so who better to turn it into a website than you?
Handing over control can be a challenge for plenty of tradies. Your business needs you, and by building your own website you’ll be making sure everything is done your way. You don’t have to sit down with a web developer or agency and explain what you do, you just start writing about your business and putting content together that you know your customers will like.
If you’re not confident in the look of your site, or you’re not sure what your customers want to read about, creative control can become a double-edged sword. But if you’ve got a genuine interest in learning about websites, then being in charge of the process from start to finish is exciting.
✔ You learn how to market your own business
Spend a week working in the garden and you’ll start to pick up a lawn maintenance trick or two. The same goes for building your own site.
The more time you spend putting together your website, the more you’ll learn about digital marketing and SEO. If you’re interested in marketing your own business as well as taking care of all the work, this can make you a more rounded business owner.
Let’s face it, guides with tips and tricks for tradies might as well be written in another language sometimes. But when you start to go from page to page on a site build and you’re forced to learn about optimising page titles, or how to make a website mobile-friendly (which is crucial if you want to rank on Google), it becomes easier to handle your own marketing.
Over months and years, being a business owner as well as a marketer can help you attract more leads and make more money – as long as you have the patience to stick with it.
Free templates are used all the time – because they’re free. This makes it easy to pick a template and publish a simple website, but it also means your site ends up looking like hundreds, or even thousands, of other sites online.
This might not mean much to you, but to a potential client who’s looking for help it can make your site disappear into the crowd. People recognise a professional site when they see it. Even the best free templates going around stand out like a sore thumb.
Imagine if every ad for local plumbers used the same script, the same actors, and the same footage. No one would stand out, and 99% of people would ignore those ads. The first plumber to try something new would be instantly memorable, and likely to get more work from people who need help with their plumbing.
When you stand out, your business can expand out. Building your own site puts you at risk of blending in.
✘ It takes up your free time
There’s a reason you wouldn’t trust a first-year apprentice to handle the most difficult task on-site. They don’t have the experience and the risks far outweigh the rewards.
Building a website runs on the same logic. It takes time to build the knowledge and skills required to create a fast, mobile-friendly and professional site. Career site builders often achieve degrees and qualifications before landing agency jobs and being paid to build websites. To build your own site you’ll need to invest hours of your time.
This time has to come from somewhere, and since you’re working a 40+ hour week, your site building time is going to come from your weekends and nights off. Ask yourself, where is my time the most valuable?
You could spend 2-3 hours each night setting up your website, picking the right colours, getting your website copy perfect. Or would you benefit more by investing that extra time in your business?
The answer to that question is up to you.
✘ You risk a low-quality website
Let’s be honest, you’re great at your job, but that doesn’t make you an expert at all things. There’s no shame in a bricklayer not knowing how to exterminate termites.
Making a website is a career for some people, and while it’s possible to put together a simple site yourself, you don’t have the skill set to create a site that ticks all the boxes on your own.
Your site needs to have features like:
SEO optimised page titles
Speed optimised pages
Simple contact forms
Professional site architecture
You can stand up your own site, but getting all those crucial features right is probably out of reach. If you just want a site you can send to referrals where people can see your phone number and a gallery of your client work, then you don’t need to worry about these features.
But if you want a site that ranks on Google and attracts inbound leads, and convinces site visitors to request quotes, you may need to consider going with the pros.
Building a website is a personal decision that comes down to your goals as a tradie
Building and deciding on a new website provider is a challenging task.
There’s a myriad of information out there, and it’s hard to know who you can trust.
If you want to try and build your own website, we’d recommend trying out a few website builders, like:
Have a play for an hour on each site building platform and see what you can achieve.
Pedestal is an industry-specific option for tradespeople as everything in the website is built and pre-optimized for tradesperson businesses. The Pedestal team can also help you build your website for $990 within 7 days or it’s FREE. While Wix and Weebly cater for all business types, meaning there’s less focus on your trade and more on being simple and easy to build.
Regardless of deals and value, it’s worth playing around on each platform to see which one you like.
The problem with building your own site (if you’re serious about growing your business)
Most website builders don’t come with a marketing service (so you’re left to fend on your own after setting up your website), which is a whole another set of knowledge you’ll need to acquire.
9 times out of 10 you’ll likely still need an agency to help you with your ads, your marketing, and your lead gen. Some agencies are good and some agencies and bad, even really bad.
The other problem with building your own site is if you haven’t thought about your marketing strategy. If your agency is any good, they’ll likely tell you to make changes to your website as your website design itself will form an integral part of your strategy. Without an experienced marketing team on your side you can end up with a site that’s bleeding leads – without you ever realising.
Quick recap – this is the best thing you can do right now
As always at Tradie Digital, we believe the best thing you can do before building your new website is to get educated. That means taking a couple of steps before you settle on your fav website builder.
Step #1 – Understand how to build your marketing strategy here
Step #2 – Learn about digital marketing for your tradesperson business here
Educating yourself will help you avoid most of the mistakes most tradesperson businesses make when building their new website.
Bottom Line – should you build your own website?
If you want to rank on Google and attract organic leads 24/7, speaking to a professional web design and marketing agency, or using a service like Pedestal, is your best bet.
But if you’re happy with your current leads and revenue and just want to send potential clients a link to a site that has your business info and a gallery of your work, a DIY website build is your best bet.
The major advantage of building your own site is the money you save – but you end up paying in time and a steep learning curve.
While the major advantage of outsourcing your website build to a pro is the time you save and the increased lead-gen optimisation – but you end up paying more in fees.
It’s up to you to determine which of those outcomes is more important to you.
Keen to learn more about building a website?
Our websites have generated $200m worth of leads to trades companies just like yours.