If you require a website for your business or organisation, there are a ton of ways to go about creating one. In this article we discuss The Different Ways to Design a Website.
From DIY platforms to massive enterprise-level bespoke web applications, what you’re looking to produce will largely impact how you approach website design. We’ll explore the options including the upside and downsides of each.
Overview of Website Design Options
It is possible to create a basic website yourself using a website builder tool and your skills. This is the cheapest option by far, but the most time-consuming.
At the high-end, you could have a design agency handle the end-to-end build and project management of your website. This is necessary if you have extensive copywriting, imagery, functionality or inter-connectivity requirements for that website.
Website design options increase in price as they reduce your (the client’s) time investment and increase in complexity. Very complex websites require a raft of specialist skills which usually mean DIY options are out of the question.
Overall, you can design a website using a website builder, offshore support, local freelancers or design agencies.
We’ll break down the benefits and dis-benefits of each approach. Who you choose to design your website is only the first layer of costs, however. Your total budget should take into account running costs, licenses, functionality, extras and support as well.
If you’re trying to budget for your build, try a website cost calculator where you can input your must-haves and walk away with an estimated cost.
This is your DIY option. It’s the cheapest option available and is often integrated with your hosting platform. You can still get a good website when you build it yourself, but it takes a lot of your own time.
Modern platforms from companies like WIX and Squarespace do offer a range of easy to edit templates to start from. And when you manage the whole build yourself, it makes it easy to implement any changes.
But the downsides are the loss of your time, hidden costs that might pop up and lack of ownership. When you use an integrated web publishing tool, you’re just renting that website which means it never becomes an asset.
This might play a role in your valuation when it comes to selling your business. Lastly, you are limited overall by the functionality of your builder.
If the platform doesn’t provide for it; you probably can’t do it. You will likely find SEO, lead gen and other functions harder to manage.
And, if you’re not comfortable with data and payment processing regulations, you may implement solutions or plug-ins that are not compliant – creating financial risk.
Hiring someone from overseas to build your website is a pretty cost-effective option. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a team with the same mix of advanced skills as a top-tier UK design agency at a fraction of the cost.
Plus you won’t have to lift a finger throughout the project, saving you time. However, you might not get lucky. You might find the project rife with missed deadlines, communication challenges due to language barriers, a struggle with time zones or misrepresentation of skills.
Because a lot of website design is coded behind the scenes, you may not know something is incorrectly configured for months or years after you’ve already paid for it.
If it does go wrong, you may not have any legal recourse at all or find yourself managing that process through another country’s civil court system.
Lastly, without direct oversight, you can never be 100% sure that any personal data of customers and clients is secure under EU regulations.
This can lead to costly fines if a breach is detected.
Getting the support of a local freelancer is more expensive than offshore support but without any of the challenges faced by different rules, languages and time zones. UK freelancers are easy to find on sites like People Per Hour or Freelancer.com and usually must meet SLA’s for delivery, response times and pricing to give you peace of mind.
Communication is direct and they provide a personal touch; usually because this work is their livelihood. However, there are some downsides.
You can’t be sure of their work quality until they commence the project. While many post a portfolio, that’s no guarantee you’ll often find that work has been stolen from other designers and passed off as their own, and some freelancers even subcontract to overseas talent anyway.
Experienced freelancers may be as expensive as an agency but provide support with only a few skills, requiring you to manage multiple work-streams.
Lastly, even when you find a great freelancer there is no guarantee they will always be available for your projects. Since they set their hours, they might be less reliable than a more formal agency setup.
At the end of the day, they are not required to take on any job. So look for a freelancer willing to commit to recurring support retainers if that’s a concern.
Thankfully, their inherent comfort with EU regulations means you’re less at risk for potential data breaches when you use local talent.
This collection of purpose-selected specialists represents the creme de la creme of website design support options.
Generally, you will pay the most for a local design agency’s services. But for that cost, you get high-quality results with nearly no time investment on your part.
An agency can meet much tighter deadlines than other options because they have all the necessary skills in-house. You can also be confident that whatever they produce will function well both at the front end and the back end, with all relevant security in place.
This is particularly important for e-commerce and web application development. That’s because these kinds of websites require layers of inter-connectivity and bespoke development to handle customer data.
In Europe, at least, GDPR and other regulations greatly restrict who can process what personal information. But local web design firms are comfortable navigating complex integrations and understanding how to provide for that data handling under the law.
Lastly, you can create nearly any type of website function with the support of an agency. This allows you to compete at the same innovation level as multinationals even when you operate a small or medium-sized business.
Regardless of what option you choose, design costs are determined by a range of factors including size and functionality.
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