The Continuum - DIY Website or Hire A Designer

January 22, 2018

Do-it-yourself versus hiring a designer. D.I.Y. versus H.A.D.

It’s always interesting to hear people's differing opinions and the reasons why they think you should or shouldn't hire a professional designer. I like to transfer the idea to some other area of life and see how it fits in there. It allows me to think about a topic in a different way or in a new light. The question is: “Should you design your own website?" 

You’re a business owner and you want a new website. Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? So, for example this particular topic I found myself thinking about the question; “Should I cut my own hair?” That's an interesting question as well. If you're honest I think that you would have to admit sometimes the answer to that question is: “Yes.”

Sometimes you should cut your own hair. Sometimes, in fact, that is the better option. Rather than go pay a professional to cut your hair, you should do it yourself. So, when would some of those times be? Well, for example, I have four young boys. The youngest one is 4 years old. His hair is pretty messy all the time whether it's cut well or not. If we take all four of them to the barbershop it can cost us quite a bit of money.  My wife doesn’t mind cutting their hair and they don’t mind if she cuts it. And honestly, you can’t tell a difference one way or the other. So in that case, cutting your own hair sounds like a pretty good idea.

Another example is when I was in college. For about a year during college I kept my head shaved. Well, at that time if I went to the barber shop it cost me about $15. Or, I could go to my friend's house and he could use his own clippers to shave my head in 10 minutes for free. So again, it made sense to do it myself.

Now on the other hand, let's say that you are about to get married. You've been dreaming of this day your whole life. You want to look your absolute best. Probably not the best time to cut your own hair.

Or, if you have reason to believe that having a nice haircut can actually help you make money. For example, someone who's trying to be a model. If you’re going to get some new head shots taken, you want to have your hair looking its absolute best. So you're probably going to be willing to pay a premium for a really good styled haircut. You know that haircut is going to make you look good in those headshots and help you make money as a model.

I think it’s very similar for web design. There’s a whole gamut of qualifiers that you need to look at when trying to decide if you should build your own website or hire a professional designer.

Think of it as a continuum or a spectrum. On one end you have the D.I.Y. - do-it-yourself and on the other end H.A.D. - hire a designer. And depending on where you fall on that spectrum that can help you decide if you should in fact do it yourself or if you should hire a designer. So the obvious question is: “How do you know where you currently land on that Spectrum?

Check out the graphic below to help figure out where you are.

The more of the these that are true, the further to the left you are:


  • No money
  • Just starting out/new business
  • Little or no cashflow
  • You have some free time
  • Business is not dependent on a website
  • You are UNABLE to identify specific goals and objectives for how a website will increase profitability or enhance and improve the customer experience

The more of the these that are true, the further to the right you are:


  • You have a significant budget already set aside
  • You’ve been in business for more than 2 years
  • Consistent positive cashflow
  • You do not have any free time
  • Business is dependent on a effective online presence
  • You are ABLE to clearly identify and articulate specific needs for a website will increase profitability, drive sales or enhance and improve the customer experience

You can see there's no right answer for everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all method. You have to look at all those things on the list and realize that it is a Continuum. It’s not a check list, it’s a spectrum, a continuum.

If most of the things on the left are true about you then it's probably a good idea for you to build your own website. If most of the things on the right are true about you then you probably should hire a designer.

If you’re somewhere in the middle that means there’s room for interpretation. It probably means some healthy back and forth discussion, a little bit of guided discovery and some focused strategy may be just what you need.

Chris Fikes

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