How to go about designing a website is a common question, but the answer isn’t always one-size-fits-all. Often, for small websites and similar projects, one can get by just fine on the basics.
But if you're looking for a bit more detail, have a project with a large scope, or need some kind of custom functionality, the process of designing and developing a website rapidly starts to move out of DIY territory and into the area best handled by the professionals.
At the end of the day, you have to consider whether keeping the project “in-house” is cost- and time-efficient or not. You must also take careful stock of what you need the final product to be—and how custom it needs to be in order to function as a useful business tool.
Consider Your Budget
Money is always a consideration, and keeping a project cost-effective while still getting all you can from it is a delicate balance.
If you have it in your budget, hiring a digital agency for your web design is well worth it in the long-run. While the initial outlay may be a bit painful, the long-term benefits of having a functional and attractive site that fits your business perfectly far outweigh it. Having that professional touch can go a long way toward helping your business gain and keep customers.
Consider Your Timeline
Time is another important factor when it comes to whether or not to tackle web design yourself. While a simple design and a few modifications can usually be done without too much hassle, implementing new functionality or radically altering a site's existing look or flow is going to take more than your lunch break and a few weekends to get done.
All of that extra time has to come from somewhere, of course. Insisting on sticking to the DIY side of things will likely slow development to a crawl and require your team to work in their spare minutes, pulling attention away from other aspects of the business where they could be of more help.
If you're heading up a large-scope project, or one that requires a very specialized site in terms of layout and functionality, it would best to enlist a more experienced team right out of the gate. Starting with a good team and a clear vision will help make the entire process go much faster and much smoother.
The functionality of the site is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to web design. If your project requires any kind of custom functionality in order to deliver the proper experience, hiring an agency is a very strong investment in the business.
Say, for example, you have a site for a gaming company. You hope to set it up to look like the website of a futuristic government in order to cement your brand in people's minds, complete with an effect for retina scans and other security clearances. Maybe there are even “restricted areas” that players can access only by clicking hidden points on certain screens or by typing the correct pass code on a screen that doesn't call for one.
Sounds amazing, right? Right. It's also a prime example of something that is, in most cases, not a DIY job when it comes to web design.
The odds are that your projects aren't quite so ambitious, but regardless of the nature of your specific project, you can see how something of this magnitude would be best left in the hands of an experienced agency. While there's really no hard-and-fast rule for when web design stops being a DIY job, keeping ahead of any potential issues by understanding your project scope, budget, and timeline will help you make the right call.