Why pay for a website when I can use a free alternative?

Why pay for a website when I can use a free alternative?

It’s a question we come up against a fair bit: “Why should I pay for a website when there are free options available?”.

You’re right – there are plenty of free options out there. Wix, Squarespace, Godaddy, Yellow Pages – they’re all offering DIY websites instead of a full-service approach. And for some, they’re a good fit. They enable people to make a quick, fairly professional looking site for little money – all you need is the time to make it.

But, there are plenty of reasons to enlist the services of a digital marketing agency to build your website, instead of going it alone. We know what you’re thinking – “Of course you’re going to say that” but we think the reasons why you should choose an agency instead of a DIY option are worth looking into.

So, let’s take a balanced approach. What are the pros and cons of both? And more importantly, which is the best option for your business?

The pros of a DIY website service

Here are the reasons why a DIY option is a good choice if you’re looking to make a website:

  • They’re cheap – From buying your domain to finding a hosting provider to downloading your website theme, there’s no doubt that DIY sites are cheap to pull together. All you need to do invest is your time.
  • They’re proven – WIX, Godaddy, Squarespace – whatever you’re building your site in, they’ve done it for lots of other people – they can’t all be wrong. But, will it be tailored to your specific needs? Or will it be an out-of-the-box approach?
  • They’re a space to practise your skills – If, as part of your business, you’re looking to improve your understanding of how websites work then a DIY option is a good idea. However, if you can’t afford to waste time or experiment on business time then handing it over to professionals is more sensible.

The cons of a DIY website service

And here’s why a DIY website may not be right for your business:

  • There’s no face-to-face help – If you’re really stuck and you need a problem solving quickly, are you willing to wait in line on the phone to get an answer? Do you want to talk to a chat bot instead of a real person? Your business is important. With a personalised service, with real people on the end of the phone, you’re more likely to get an answer quickly and your problem solved professionally.
  • You’re not a designer (we’re assuming) – Figuring out how to present your company, position your products and translate that into a functioning, eye-catching website is a skill in and of itself. By partnering with an agency, you’ll have a designer on tap to ask questions and create a stunning brand for you. With an out of the box service, it’s hard to create something unique to you and your business.
  • Out of the box lacks options – If there is a specific type of functionality you want for your site, there’s no guarantee your out-of-the-box option will cater for it. By teaming with a skilled agency, and their army of developers, you’ll be able to get exactly what you need, not what someone else needs.

Who should use a DIY service:

  • Those looking to broaden their skills and experiment in an easy-to-understand platform
  • Those who have the time to build a site from scratch and have experience doing so before
  • Those working on a micro-budget

So, now that we know the pros and cons of making a website yourself, let’s look into the benefits of working with a digital marketing agency and what it is they bring to the table.

James looking at Twitter feed

The pros of working with a digital marketing agency

Here’s how a digital marketing agency will add value to your website build –

  • They’re skilled – If you choose the right agency partner, you’ll be working with skilled professionals who will work hard to understand your needs and build something with you in mind. It’s their skills that will make the difference.
  • They’re invested in you – Your success is their success. The work they create for you can be used as a case study and will help to promote their services to more clients. They’ll try and do the best work they possibly can so they can help your business achieve what it needs.
  • They’re at the end of the phone – You’ll be dealing with real people you can pick up the phone to – not a call centre with a queue. With dedicated account management your business, and its challenges will be given the attention it deserves.

The cons of working with a digital marketing agency

Of course, there are sometimes when using an agency isn’t right for you. Some of these reasons might be –

  • They’re out of your price range – Building your site yourself can cost as little as £100, so if you’re working on a micro-budget, then an agency probably isn’t the best fit.
  • They’re new and unproven – You may be hesitant to work with an agency because they’re a new setup and they lack the case studies to prove their mettle. It’s a fair concern to have. But if they’re new, they’re hungry – and willing to work hard.
  • They lack clear pricing – Depending on the type of build you’re carrying out, you’ll need a bespoke quote for your site. After assessing your needs and creating a quote to reflect your requests and budget, you may feel the pricing is unclear – or there could even be hidden costs. Some agencies offer package deals that present clear pricing without the hidden costs.

Who should work with a digital agency –

  • Businesses lacking the time to create something for themselves
  • Businesses wanting to present themselves professionally
  • Those looking for something that is unique to them
  • Those that lack the digital acumen to create something for themselves
  • Those that have a specific challenge in mind and need to draw on a number of skills, including branding & design, web development, SEO and content marketing

DIY sites vs digital marketing agencies

Ultimately, the person who best knows what you need is you. If you want to experiment and play with the options available to you, then going for a DIY site is a solid choice.  If you’re not confident in making a site, or want to lean on the experience of professionals, then an agency is a good choice.

Want to know if we’re a good fit for your business? Great, get in touch with our team and we can assess your needs. Don’t forget, you can get even more insights into digital marketing by signing up to our newsletter.