How to Build a Website: DIY vs Hiring an Agency vs Your Friend Bob
You’re after a new website. But after price-matching on Google you’re seeing higher costs than you expected. Every second ad on YouTube is from a DIY website company though so that option looks quick and easy. Then again, your cousin Bob said he’d knock up a site for $300 – $500 bucks. So what’s the best option?
Well, it depends what you want from your site. A DIY site is quick and easy to make, but will you will have a learning curve with SEO. And hiring an agency can cost more, but professional websites also make more money for your business. As for your friend Bob? Read on to find out what you should tell him…
One of the hardest pills to swallow as a tradie is to quote a well-built, professional and sturdy project – only to have your lead turn around and say “Nah, I think I’ll just have a go at it myself”.
Unless it’s a simple project like installing a bird bath or clearing the gutters, your lead with DIY on the brain is asking for trouble.
As you’re well aware – When you think about a customer who wants to DIY their own job. You know the MANY pitfalls – but they have no idea.
You also know it will cost them likely far more down the track in lost time and effort. It’s typically the same with websites.
In either case, we’ve crafted this article to help you choose who you should choose to do your job, and also if you’re going to DIY, how to avoid the most common pitfalls.
From remodelling the kitchen to retiling the bathroom, some jobs require a little investment of money from your customer upfront to ensure there are no catastrophic problems in the next few months that end up costing them double or triple down the line.
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Everyone wants to save money – but not everyone thinks ahead and weighs the potential costs of a DIY project gone wrong.
You KNOW your skillset is better for the customer in the long run, but there’s no convincing them.
No matter what you tell the average Joe about tackling a project that’s beyond their skill level, there are people who want to pick up the tools and give the DIY a red hot crack.
Building websites works the same way.
There are times when a simple DIY website can do the job, and there are times when collaborating with an agency is the right choice. As for your cousin Bob who says “building websites is easy” and watched a few YouTube videos on how to make websites…well we’ll get to him shortly.
In this article we’ll compare the 3 most common ways of building a site:
You build it yourself
You hire an agency to build it for you
You trust your optimistic cousin Bob who claims he’s “pretty great with websites”
Read on to learn the pros and cons of each choice, and what steps to take next if you’re thinking of upgrading your website in the coming months.
Let’s talk about building your own website. It can be quick. Real quick. (But you can also screw it up – for the long term).
If you DIY your own website, you’ll might be able to have a site up within a few hours (if you pick the right software), or it might take you a learning curve of 3-4 weeks once you get used to a software. How do you choose the right DIY website builder – go here to learn how to choose.
That benefit alone is enough to convince plenty of time-poor tradies that the DIY route is the way to go. As long as you have a working internet, a computer, and a rough idea of what you want to say on your site/the pictures you want to use, then you can have a website done in the time it takes an apprentice to realise there’s no such thing as a left-handed screwdriver.
Do you value your weekend? Probably best left to an agency..unless you use Pedestal (the custom website builder for tradesperson, contractor or home improvement businesses).
Even better, the DIY route can be cheap.
Depending which website builder you opt for, you could pay zero in account fees, zero in choosing a website design, and less than $100 a month in hosting costs. But with cheap comes a few classic problems you’ll recognise from running your own business day in and out.
“How could a FREE website be a bad thing?”
Because there’s always a catch.
Website builders throw the word ‘FREE’ around to catch attention, but to unlock more features on your ‘free’ website you’ll usually need to open your wallet.
If you want to remove branded ads or ugly branded URLs like www.johnsmith.wixsite.com/yourbusiness, you’ll need to pay more. Same goes if you want your own email address. In short, a free website is never 100% free.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep costs low. It’s 100% possible to get a DIY website up and running for under $500. When you pay this ballpark figure you’ll get your own URL, your own email address, and no ugly ads, all at a budget price.
Whether you’re building your first website or switching from a tired, old website, we recommend Pedestal. 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.
All Pedestal sites are designed to help you get more customers online, with in-built SEO functionality and marketing.
“What type of tradie should go for a DIY website?”
DIY websites are simple – and that’s the best and worst thing about them.
If you want to save time and spend under $500 to get your site online, you can choose from existing templates and paste in your text/images to have a finished site in no time.
This is great because you can see the finished product the same day you start building your site. There’s no need to learn about coding or understand the latest web design trends because your site is so easy to put together.
On the downside, the simple approach is appealing for a ton of time-poor tradies, so there’s a risk your theme will look exactly like the theme one of your local competitors picked. This could make people feel like you don’t stand out – which costs you leads. Or, they could confuse your website with your competition and get in touch with the wrong business – which costs you leads.
The biggest benefit to a DIY website is always going to be cost-savings
Remember, you’re not just trying to save money when you run your own business or work on the tools, you’re trying to MAKE money as well.
A DIY website won’t have the same level of SEO-friendly features or design choices hand-picked by conversion experts to help you get more leads.
For advanced SEO perks and in-built conversion strategies, hiring an agency is your best bet.
“Why would I pay an agency to make my site if you already told me I can do it for $500 bucks or under?”
Because you’ll end up making MORE money when their services help your home sell for a higher price.
It’s natural for your outgoing costs to be the first thing you think of, but don’t forget to think big picture and take into account what your investment is paying for.
When you pay an agency to build your website you’re saying “I know I could do this myself, but I’m asking you to build it because you know how to make a website that’s SEO-friendly and designed to attract leads”.
Any tradie that rolls his eyes and thinks all website building agencies are a scam is wearing blinkers, maybe because they’ve been burnt by an agency before. This makes sense, but it means they’re blinded by their past experience.
A web building agency is packed full of SEO experts, design experts, conversion experts, copywriters and graphic designers
Instead of pocketing your money and building you a simple ‘drag-and-drop’ website, an agency creates a fully custom website from scratch that’s built to rank on Google and help you get more customers.
Each page is created using keyword research to help boost rankings
Each page is designed to funnel site visitors towards a call, quote or sale
Each page is optimised for mobile phones to attract customers on the go
Each page is written to help people solve their problems and trust you
In short, you pay an agency because you want to make more money, not save more money.
A fully custom website is easier to get on Google, attracts site visitors around the clock, and turns those site visitors into curious leads who call you for quotes or to chat about your services. The result? More revenue and more money in your bank account.
Anyone can dig a hole in your yard, but it takes skill to avoid cracking open a sewerage pipe and getting in a crap situation
On the same logic, anyone could build a website for you, but if they don’t have a strategy to make your website SEO-friendly and a design to convert people into customers, there’s no benefit to you.
Your site will exist, but there’s a good chance it’ll be a lemon that doesn’t earn you a single new customer.
If the thought of a custom website with an agency doesn’t feel right for you, you’re better off playing around with a few website builders yourself instead of paying old mate.
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At least if you’re the one in charge you’ll have control over how your site looks, be able to use your own natural business voice for any text, and choose the pics you like. Plus, if something goes wrong, it’s nice to know your website builder of choice offers support.
If friend Bob builds your site and it crashes the first day it goes live, there’s no guarantee he’ll pick up the phone to help you – or know how to fix the problem at all!
But you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to fund a new site. The DIY option works for plenty of tradies who want a good looking site up in a few hours (or weeks). You can choose from pre-made themes to suit your trade, and with trade-focused website builders like Pedestal, you’ll have built-in marketing and SEO features.
Like any service, the professionals tend to get better results. You can spray 10 cans of Mortein at the roaches behind your fridge but a pest control expert is more likely to clear your infestation in one go.
Hiring an agency will cost you a little more than the DIY route – but you’re getting a site with advanced SEO features, conversion optimised design, and marketing strategies that can earn your investment back 10x over.
If you’re on the fence, weigh up how much time you have to spend, and whether you want a website that has earning potential or not.
Curious how a Tradie Digital website is built to make you more money?