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Should you build a website yourself or hire a pro?

A common question asked is, “should I hire someone to build my website, or should I simply build it myself?”. There are many tools online that make building a website yourself easy. There are, of course, many factors to consider when trying to decide which path to take.

There is no shortage of online tools to create a modern website, and they make it easy. Companies such as Square Space, Wix, WordPress, etc create an interface that simplifies the process a lot. The downsides, and there are many, are what you need to consider. Do you want to essentially “lease” your website, or do you want to actually own it? If you go the route of an online service such as SquareSpace or Wix you will be leasing your website for F-O-R-E-V-E-R. If they go out of business, so does your website, and if you miss a payment, there goes your website.

“If you go the route of an online service such as Square Space or Wix you will be leasing your website F-O-R-E-V-E-R.”

Aside from the serious downside I just mentioned, there are a few more you should know about. Web hosting costs can change with the market, and the all-in-one web building services vary in cost with the changing market. What you started off with paying $25/mo can change to $30, $40, $50/mo. The initial promotional charge those websites will usually include are a free domain a year, and maybe an SSL Certificate if you’re lucky. However, what they don’t mention is that those two things have to be renewed yearly and it isn’t free to do so.

Website SEO

Let’s say you go with an online service such as Wix, they have a couple of little tools to help you with a a few SEO items. However, it simply scratches the surface of what you need to do in order to get your website on the first page of Google. SEO requires a lot of expertise, and regular maintenance. There are many aspects that the average do-it-yourselfer does not know about when it comes to advanced SEO such as keyword research, backlinks, competing websites, content gap, metadata, alt text, image captions, image optimization, blog entries, sitemaps and the list goes on. Maybe you have time to throw together a one-page website using a service, but do you have the hours per week to dedicate to keeping it updated so your website doesn’t land on page 250 on Google?

Hiring a Website Developer

The other option is hiring someone like myself. Personally, I have 20 years of web development, marketing, and data analytics experience and feel I am qualified to build your professional website. I charge upfront. Yes, it’s a much higher fee than one of those online services. I require half upfront so that I don’t come out of pocket for all of the individual tools that have to be purchased such as hosting, domain, SSL certificates, SEO tools and other site add-ons to make sure your website is fast, secure, and slick. I don’t ask for the last half of that fee until you are happy with the initial build.
 
Once I finish your website, it’s yours. If you don’t want me to maintain it (for a small quarterly or monthly fee), I’ll set up the tools that have to be renewed on your payment card of choice and I happily bow out. However, if you want to keep my professional services for maintenance and SEO I’ll be more than happy to quote you a price and we will agree on a maintenance schedule.
 
How is this different than paying an online service you may be wondering? Well, not only are getting website maintenance and SEO, but you are also getting professional marketing services. When you contact me you will not get an answering service, or put on hold, or have to “press 2 for english”…you will get a real person that will get back to you in real time here in the United States, and I’m local if you reside in Louisiana.
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