Done For You Vs Do It Yourself Website & Marketing: What Should You Choose?
What is the difference between a done for you website and marketing and doing it by yourself? Which one is better for you? In this post I am trying to answer the question:
Should I design my website or should I outsource it? And if so, how much will it cost?
And also, how hard is to do my own marketing? What do I have to lose?
Ok, there is no easy way to say this… but I have built all the websites I needed myself. Coming from a marketing agency owner, this may be a counter intuitive thing to say. After all, we sell websites, right?
Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but we don’t.
We were a marketing agency and we remain a marketing agency. We only recently started selling (semi-custom websites because everyone who comes to us is asking for a website. And we are a marketing agency. So you give people what they want.
But I am writing off topic again (but it was necessary to explain why I have built any website I needed myself)
In this post, I will give you my personal experience in building websites myself (i.e. DIY) and doing my own marketing vs having professionals do it for me, and my opinion on which you should choose.
Done For You Website vs Do It Yourself.
Obviously, you are not an idiot. You do not want to pay 1,000, 3,000 6,000 or even 10,000 Euros (or any other currency) for a website. So what you want to do is do it yourself.
This is exactly what I was thinking a few years back (before I started my own agency). I had gotten a terrifying quote from a London web design agency, and then I was pressured to buy. The price tag? 3,500 for a 10 – page website. This was back in 2015.
Fast forward to 2019, while I was helping a client in Athens, Greece with their marketing, they introduced us to a web design agency. The price tag? 6,000 Euros for a 10-page WordPress website.
These people are mad!
To be fair, we have also quoted this amount to clients. But here is what differentiated me from the rest of the web design agencies: I run a marketing agency, and we did not do web design. It was referred to a third party web designer.
We spend three – four weeks working on the text, the images, and the conversion optimisation – where the design agency was focused on beautifying our rationale.
Anyway, let’s go back on topic (we kind of are):
For example, I am currently learning robotics using Raspberry Pi. I am trying to build a robotic lawn mower, and probably attach a tennis ball thrower on top for my dogs to play with (I am dreadful, I know).
I totally understand where you are coming from. Building a website yourself has never been easier. With a dozen of tools now that allow you to drag and drop elements (text, video and images) in a blank area, you can surely build a site on your own. And you do not even need to know how to code.
But first, you need to ask yourself a few questions (and I know I will be boring here, but follow me for a bit.
1. Do you need something simple, or do you require something more complex?
The reason I am posing this question has to do with your time. I remember when I was trying to build eubusinessforums.com, I wanted something simple – at first. All I needed was WordPress and a forum plugin.
But fate had other plans 🙁 While I was installing the plugins, I had the idea of open membership. Of a job board. Of a monetisation structure. And what about a newsletter? An opt-in form? And do we need graphics? Logo?
Of course, I needed all those things, in my mind. Or I could simply install a WordPress and a Forum and be done with it.
Case in point: the website was supposed to be finished in a day. At the time of writing this, which is three weeks after, I still haven’t finished the home page, because I keep adding stuff. This goes back to the lack of planning from my end.
Now, if I go to my web designers for help, two things will happen:
1. They will throw me a monitor
2. They will not deal with it
(all because I didn’t plan out the website)
Anyway, my point is: You don’t need to hire a web developer to create a simple one-two page website for you. There are many website building tools and one-page templates available to help you get started quickly. Sure, if you haven’t the slightest idea on how to even install WordPress, this changes things and you may need to spend a good amount of your time learning WordPress, Elementor/Divi/Beaver Builder (these are all drag and drop plugins that make a WordPress website building a breeze)
Some other advanced functions other websites have are:
- E-commerce – you will most likely need WooCommerce, Payments, and more
- Bookings – you will need a calendar and a booking plugin
- Forms: how complex or simple will your forms be? So is the plugin functionality and coding behind it.
- Will you need a Wiki, or a FAQ (A frequently asked questions page): there is a plugin and a separate setup for that.
- Memberships? Will you be selling content (like a course for example – i.e. you are a chef, or a yoga instructor or even an electrician and you want to take your expertise online).
Depending on the functionality of the site you need you can get plugins or hire someone to install things for you. The first is free (excluding the cost of the plugins) but it costs you time, and the second costs you money, but you have a website up and ready in just a few days, not weeks (as I am).
Anyway, if your needs are not complex, I highly recommend WordPress for your website. The reason is that it is super-easy to learn, you have complete control over it (in the sense that you pay a low-cost web hosting service to host it, and most likely they can set up WordPress for you for free) and then you start getting the plugins you need.
There are also other services like Wix or GoDaddy, for which you pay a monthly fee and you design your website with their ready-made templates or on a totally black canvas. But I have found that you do not have control over it. If you want to move it, if you are not happy with their customer service, things get complicated.
To build a website without coding based on WordPress, I highly recommend a plugin called Elementor not only which is free for its basic version, but it also has embedded templates which you can import, customise and have a website in a few days (again, provided you know how to work with WordPress and Elementor).
2. Do you have time to spend?
This is critical. As mentioned above, you will either spend time to make something or your own, or spend money to have something built for you. If you have other things to do, and have some money, you can get a full website developed in as little as 5 -days with just €129/mo. You do not have do do anything except select the design, send the assets (images, text) – or have us create them for you, and just advertise it (more of it later).
Time is essentially divided into two parts: having more time and using it wisely. First, you need to be able to take things slowly and build them yourself. It will let you create a more complex site without having to rush. The second factor is the fact that even if you’re going to pay someone, the time involved will mean that it will actually end up costing less than doing it yourself.
Think about it.
Let’s say that you charge €100/h for consulting, or to teach someone something or to fix something.
If you decide to build this yourself and takes you 20 hours, yes, you have spent 20 hours learning and building a website, but you could have this time be put in more productive areas, like finding new customers, learning something about your skillset or spending quality time with your wife and children.
This means that you probably invested €100×20 = 2,000 Euros to create a website (as simple or complex, doesn’t matter). So the question is – do you have time or money, and what does this essentially cost you? And yes, you could get the same website with just €129 and not waste 20 hours.
3. Do you like learning new things (that are irrelevant to your skillset?)
This has nothing to do with my skillset. I am essentially wasting three hours of each week (on Saturday or Sunday) to learn how to program and piece different electronics components together, for the sole purpose of not having to lawn the grass myself (I could always hire someone to do it for 50 Euros, but the thrill of building something – and possibly exploding) fascinates me). These three hours (x 250/hour I charge for consulting) could be better placed in finding leads, connecting with people on LinkedIn, or learning a new skill and then training my team.
Same with the website. Eventually, you will need to code, or at least learn how things work, in order to build it. Your website has everything to do with MARKETING your work/skill, but nothing to do with your expertise.
Learning to code, even a little bit, is like learning a new language. It opens your mind, forces you to think logically (it worked wonders on me!!) and it’s a great skill to have. All you need to learn is basic HTML and CSS, which can open up some possibilities, like customising a template from Elementor or even creating a simple HTML website from scratch. Just saying.
4. How important is it for your website to look professional?
Ok, do not get me wrong. A website CAN look professional if you do not hire someone to do it. But chances are if you do not really know what you are doing, not only you are going to waste a lot of time figuring out things, copying other websites assuming they work, but you will have a poorly made website.
Here is my rationale: If your website must be a finely-tuned conversion machine running fast as a Roadrunner, then more times than ever, you should entrust your hard earned money to hiring a professional. These days, services like Centis make it very low cost to create a website – just a measly €129/mo AND with a custom-written newsletter, CRM and analytics.
Most amateurs often do not understand how to do optimisation like slow loading times, making conversion optimisation mistakes, wrong content, 404 errors, security issues, certificates and other vulnerabilities that can impact the performance of your website.
Do It Yourself Website Is:
When you have no money to spend, but you have plenty of time to learn a bit of code and new tools and generally experiment.
Done For You Website Is:
When you realise that creating a website will actually cost more than building it yourself, so you allocate a budget towards a design agency.
Done For You vs Do It Yourself Marketing.
Ok, we pasted the most critical part, the webdesign phase. And now here is the question. Do it yourself marketing or Done For You?
Welcome to hell.
Not very inspiring reading this from someone who runs a marketing agency, right?
Let me explain why I am saying this.
You see, the marketing “landscape” has changed a lot since it was before the internet 🙂 Back in the day, (and I mean in the 70s & 80s and before that) your options were to place an ad on a newspaper, magazine, TV or radio, or send a press release.
Today, the internet has “democratised” marketing (in a way), giving you more control and many more platforms to advertise or promote your products and services, even for free.
But at the same time, it becomes chaotic. Your promotional workload is immense. Attention spans are becoming smaller and smaller. Advertising messages increase by the day.
As an entrepreneur, do it yourself marketing entails that you need to know:
1. How to attract prospects with earned media (i.e. blogging, writing content, posting on social media, shooting videos, writing press releases, making relationships with influencers, SEO etc)
2. How to attract prospects with paid media – in this case, you need to know how to write an ad and how to create it on various platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Adroll and many more.
3. How to stay top of mind – it’s not enough to attract people, you need to learn to be in front of them every day. You need to learn the best ways to capture their attention (as above) convert them to become subscribers to your list and then email them frequently or retarget them in order to stay afloat. Otherwise, your competitor will simply grab them.
In other words, it is a jungle out there (I wouldn’t say war).
Before I write this post, I had a look at the keyword “Do It Yourself Marketing”. I had the pleasure (or should I say a good laugh) with the amount of information that is presented like it is something easy. It isn’t.
Why I am saying this?
Because there are no step-by-step instructions taking you from A to B. Simply because there is no one-fits-all solution.
Here are some article headlines that I read and made me laugh:
“Define your brand”
“Set key goals and metrics”
“Know your stuff”
“Become an expert”
the worst: “Determine your marketing strategy”
Seriously? These articles will help me do marketing by myself? Especially for the “Define your brand” and “determine your strategy” you need books and books and books to simply understand the brand concept and how to create a strategy (which many authors confuse strategy with tactics!).
In other words, do it yourself marketing is not only something that will drain your energy, but you will keep forgetting to do it as you have other things to do, leaving your marketing tasks behind.
But I do not want to discourage you. When I first ventured into consulting, I created my website (took me two months) then I had to promote it without spending money (hey I was a bit broke!). So the first thing I did was to start writing content and promoting it.
If you had to start somewhere, the very first thing I would advise you to do is to start putting your thoughts and expertise in writing (or in a video). I would start creating content with the keywords that you want it to rank for (there, another skill you need to master – SEO) and push it out there; blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Reddit, Quora, groups, forums etc.
Then the absolute next best thing (actually, I think it’s the first, but) is to learn how to write emails that engage your subscribers – the ones who will come from reading your content and subscribing to your list. Create a sequence of 12-20 emails and let it run.
Use Mailchimp which is free, or Klaviyo if you sell products. SendFox is also a nice entry level solution.
Do It Yourself Marketing is
When you have no money to spend, and as above, you have plenty of time to experiment, make mistakes and lose both money and time (learning). Prepare for a steep learning curve that will take years to master, not just one channel but several, like Facebook, Google, blogging, video, ads, etc.
Done For Your Marketing is
When you realise that you do not have the time to sit on a computer all day and post on Instagram, or you do not lose money from day 1 with your Facebook ads, so you allocate some budget to a friendly marketing agency.
Deciding whether selecting the Done for you vs Do it yourself website and marketing is a tough call. It all comes down to your personal beliefs, your budget, your time and how professional you want things to look.
Our advice? Experiment. See what can you accomplish on your own if you have no budget, and if you do, don’t waste your time figuring it out on your own – you will lose more money than you think.
However, a done for you website doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – you can get a world-class, professional looking website that reflects your brand, values and personality with just €129/mo, including email marketing (done for you as well.