When you’re looking to have a website built, you’re going to come across many different options available to you. The most common options you’re going to see to make a business website will be WordPress or doing it yourself (or hiring someone) to build it with code. Suppose you happen not to be tech-savvy or prefer to focus on running your business instead of the overhead of trying to build out a website yourself. In that case, you’ll ultimately start looking for a website developer, but you may be asking yourself – which should I choose?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer because it will center around the type of website you need. In this article, I’ll give you some scenarios to try and help guide your decision. So let’s get started!
What is WordPress?
Inevitably when you start to look into building a website for yourself or your business, the first thing you’re bound to see is a builder called WordPress. If you’re not familiar, WordPress powers 39% of the web. It is the most known and long-running webpage builder on the market. Over the years, it has built quite the community of both users, educators, and things called “plugins” that add more functionality to the core of the WordPress environment. With WordPress, you can quickly get started on a simple website, an eCommerce store, a blog, or just about anything else you can imagine. There is a vast collection of free and paid pre-built templates or one of the many 3rd party sites that provides templates like Divi – but it comes with a bit of a learning curve.
You have a brand new WordPress instance set up, connected to your unique business domain name, and you’ve just logged into the dashboard – now what? If you’ve never worked with the platform before, you may feel overwhelmed at the number of settings and options available the first time you log in. This is normal, believe me! The platform has been around for a long time, meaning more and more settings have become available. Finding where you need to go can be difficult sometimes, causing some people not to feel capable of building a website on their own. They would have to spend learning the platform that can (and should) be put towards building their business.
It’s built on PHP
Make it past the daunting nature of the Dashboard and seemingly endless settings to customize, and you’ll begin to wonder how much you can customize. If there isn’t a plugin built for what you want to achieve, you’ll need to go behind the curtains and work with the platform code itself. WordPress is called “open source,” meaning that the code it is built with is freely available to view and change. In WordPress, it is built with a language called PHP. One perk is that the WordPress documentation is very detailed. If you can learn PHP with a resource like FreeCodeCamp, you can quickly jump in and change some things around to get your desired outcome.
Looking for a WordPress website? Logan Poynter Development has you covered!
Another option you’ll have for your website is a custom-built website using pure code. This will either be using HTML and CSS or a newer framework like React or Angular. Having your website built from the ground up comes with pros and cons, so it’s imperative to weigh all factors in determining if this is the best route. Some pros are that a custom-built website will allow you to be flexible as you want with features and performance benefits with server-side rendering (SSR). On the other end, a custom build requires a lot of time to build, so you’re going to have a long wait to go live. If you don’t have the time to devote to learning code yourself – it can come with a significant price tag for an agency to build for you.
Considerations for which to choose
Now that we’ve covered the two most common choices for building your business online, we should talk about some of the considerations to keep in mind when making a decision. Note, these considerations will be one’s that we at Logan Poynter Development often find businesses ask when discussing their website builds.
The first consideration any small business owner should account for is how quickly you’re looking to bring your website online – often called “go live.” The timelines below are based on a standard small business website of 6 pages with high-quality content and basic SEO practices, and no extreme customization or special features.
- For a custom-built website, you can generally expect 4-6 weeks for your go-live. Adding in multiple revision rounds, or if more information is required from you at any point, this time goes up.
- On the other hand, a WordPress website can be built in as little as 1-3 weeks, again allowing revisions or necessary information to be collected to complete your project.
As you can see, a WordPress developed website allows you to hit the market far quicker and start bringing in revenue for your small business.
The next consideration to keep in mind is the price tag that comes along with each option. The price will vary per agency, and it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. These prices are also solely for building your website and do not include any support plans, maintenance, or additional benefits (these cost extra at nearly all agencies)
- Suppose you’re looking to have your website built from scratch. In that case, you can expect, at minimum, to pay around $8,000-$10,000 for a high-quality website due to the amount of time put in by the team of developers assigned to your project.
- On the other hand, for WordPress, you can get set up to build it yourself for around $100 (domain, hosting, and getting set up on a WordPress account). This does not include the time it takes to learn the platform and get the site built. If you hire an agency to develop your website, your price tag can be about $4,000-$6,000.
Again WordPress comes in as the better choice for small business owners looking to outsource their website development.
DIY or Hire
The last consideration that should be at the forefront of any small business owners plan for their website is which option is better. Should you build it yourself and sacrifice the time involved that could be spent elsewhere, or hire a team to work for you? Let’s propose the following scenario: You have no experience building a website, and you want to have a website up and running within two weeks so you can start marketing your new product. You choose to go with WordPress as your platform. Hypothetically your time is worth $40/hr.
- DIY; you need to purchase a domain, hosting, and get set up on a WordPress account – (~$100 and about 5 hours of work). Next, you need to find a theme or template you want to work with, which for good quality can range from $50 – $300. Another 5 hours of looking through options, and you decide on one that is $150. After that, you need to put in the time to learn the platform and start putting your website together. Let’s say it takes you a week (40 hours) to get an initial creation because you’re also working on establishing your business still. What if you want some certain functionality like a chat option on your site? You learn how this is done and where the code is placed to work – another 5 hours spent. Next comes testing, and you find that a page has mobile formatting issues or an image isn’t loading correctly. Add on another two or three days (10 hours – 15 hours) of troubleshooting.
At this point, you’re in for 70 hours – just shy of your two-week deadline. 70 hours spent * $40/hr = $2,800 + $100 for your domain setup + $150 for the template, and you’re invested at $3,050 and still not satisfied with how it looks, so the clock keeps ticking.
- Hire; The agency you decide to work with handles domain setup and has a thorough onboarding process. They collect everything you want on your site – like the chat feature – and get to work. For the next two weeks, you can focus on your business while they build your website. They charge you $5,000 and get everything delivered in your two-week period, and precisely what you wanted. In that time, you’ve built out your marketing strategy and get straight to work promoting your product with your new site.
For a difference of $1,950, you were able to focus where you’re more passionate – building your business. Again this price does not include any hosting, maintenance, or other features; this is solely developing your website.
In the end, your final decision on how you want your website build will only be one that you can make. My goal for this post was to provide you with food for thought based on the two options you’re most likely going to see when you start exploring an online presence and breaking down the two so that you can make an informed decision that is both beneficial and cost-effective. If you have the time to devote and are a DIY’er, then building it yourself can be the better route for you to go. If you’re looking to take out the overhead and can afford the price tag, then go with hiring a team (or person) to build your site for you.
Disclosure: This article contains “affiliate links,” meaning we receive a portion of the sale if you choose to complete it on the affiliate website.