If there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic taught us this year it is that having a website is an absolute necessity for businesses, regardless of industry. Having an online presence is not only a massive contributor to businesses’ marketing and sales, but it is also a hallmark of their professionalism and credibility. In fact, 75% of consumers admit they judge companies’ credibility based on their websites.
Moreover, websites also allow businesses to communicate their values and showcase their brands. It is an opportunity for businesses to convey the messages that fully represent them. On the customers’ end, they benefit from 24/7 access to the information they need, without the effort of calling or visiting the business. The strengths of having a website are apparent, as 55% search for reviews and recommendations online before making a purchase, 47% of consumers visit the company’s website, whereas only 26% visit the physical store.
Especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses seek to harness the advantages of digital marketing to their benefit, while only a few others are still hesitating. Indeed, having a website is not sufficient to make your business thrive, some work is needed to ensure the content is powerful and the design is beautiful. However, building a professional website nowadays is easier, cheaper, and faster than ever.
This article will walk you through all of your options. We will discuss the merits of hiring a remote freelancer to do any task (including website design and development), point out important shortcomings and pitfalls, explain how you could build a website yourself (DIY style) with the help of online website builders, and make sure you are equipped with all the knowledge and skills you need to ensure the quality of your website and the success of your business.
Building a quality website DIY style
Building your own website is the option most business owners like the best, as it gives them complete control over the website’s design and content. With DIY website building you get to decide how the website will be organized, what would it look like, and which messages will be delivered.
Although building your own website is the cheapest option, the quality would not be compromised if you use professional website builders. These are easy-to-use tools that allow you to construct your website without learning code writing. Most website builders use a “drag and drop” interface which is rather intuitive to use. All you have to do is to click on the object of interest (say, a text box) and to drag it to the designated location on the website. By unclicking, the object will be “dropped” and stay in its new location. Pretty simple.
Another useful feature website builders have are website templates, which are, practically, premade webpages that could be easily edited, using the drag-and-drop interface. The template ensures the entire website has a unified design, that the font and layout fit, and that the website looks overall professional. It is often still possible to modify the templates, making little tweaks and changes to your liking.
Which website builder is the best?
We recommend wix.com for various reasons. First, it is easy to use. It uses the drag-and-drop interface which makes it very easy to use. Wix also has a “publish” button, so you can practice and make multiple changes without destroying the website. And even if you published by mistake, they have a strong backup and restore feature, so you can retrieve your website with no harm done.
Another important feature Wix has is an easy-to-follow search engine optimization (SEO) feature which is essential to help people find you online. Google, the most popular search engine, averages 40,000 searches every second, so it is rather important that you will rank high on these searches. Wix SEO feature makes it easy for you to do the little actions that matter the most for your rankings. Wix also offers a blog function, which allows you to keep your clients up-to-date with the latest news of your business. The blog section is also vital for your SEO.
The options to upgrade your website with Wix.com are almost unlimited, as they offer 250+ additional apps such as Wix Bookings that help to manage your bookings and Wix Chat, a build-in chat feature on your website.
Many of these apps have a free feature, which brings us to the final point, money for value. Wix.com offers various plans, starting from €4.50 per month. Our recommendation is the Business Unlimited plan (€25 p/m) which provides you with a domain, allows online payments, has sales analytics and reports, and plenty of storage space.
Hiring a Professional Web Designer
If you are looking for a more professional way of building your own website, this is the option for you. Not only that professional web designers have knowledge and experience with website’s style and design, but they could also use more advanced technologies than website builders offer, such as WordPress for example.
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, with over 33% of the world using it to power their websites. WordPress had 15.5 billion page views, in 2018 alone. Because WordPress is a CMS, it requires users to install it on their own web hosting, which is complicated enough.
Moreover, users need to make sure to keep WordPress’s software updated, to back up their data, secure their website from malicious parties, and so on and so forth. In addition to these, the interface of designing websites with WordPress relies on themes and plugins which control the website’s looks and features and come from different third-party developers. These do offer the benefit of flexibility in designing the website, but also make things more complex.
In addition to themes and plugins, there are many more terms to learn when working with WordPress (such as permalinks, widgets, blocks, etc.). All of these features and terms make it complicated to learn using WordPress, but also make WordPress the most flexible and professional tool web designers have.
Learning WordPress is doable, but definitely takes considerable time and effort which most business owners rather spend elsewhere. It is surely easier to hire a professional web designer, rather than learning the profession yourself.
But where can I find a freelancer I can trust?
Still, finding good freelancers is not an easy task. While searching amongst your network is always a good idea, it does limit the talent pool. Luckily, the internet has plenty of freelancing platforms on offer. These are basically marketplaces where you can find thousands of freelancers for any kind of task.
Whether you are after a WordPress website designer, a graphic designer, or a content writer, freelancing platforms are the go-to place to look in. They allow you to filter your search, limit the price range, read reviews of freelancers’ previous work, and see how many works they are doing at the moment. Whilst there are plenty of options online, we will elaborate on our top two platforms: Fiverr.com and Toptal.com.
Fiverr – efficient under budget
Fiverr is an extensive marketplace with thousands of freelancers from various domains. The major advantage of Fiverr.com is that they offer quality services at every price point. They work with project-based pricing, so you would not have to deal with your project being delayed or payment for extra hours.
Another advantage of Fiverr is that their platform is really easy to use. Their search function allows filtering for any attribute you would like, their interface is user friendly and information is presented straightforwardly. Importantly, Fiverr has a transparent seller ranking and feedback system, so you could see the ratings and reviews of freelancers before handing them your project. To make things clearer, here’s a case study of hiring a freelancer on Fiverr.
Fiverr made an effort to consider potential pitfalls, and they seem to cover it all. For example, it is always clear how much you have to pay upfront, with no small print. And, your payment is not released until you approve the work. This provides you with the safety and certainty that you will be pleased with the project’s outcome, something that most freelancers cannot guarantee without Fiverr. Fiverr also have a round-the-clock support team, who is available for questions and help 24/7.
Overall, for its price flexibility, ease-of-use, support, and safety, Fiverr is our number one choice, especially for gigs with a relatively low budget.
Toptal – Top Talent, High-end Freelancers
The main focus of toptal.com is finding talented freelancers that fit your company. For them, it is about quality and not quantity. Freelancers who work with Toptal had gone through a 5-step, highly-selective screening process, after which Toptal hires only the top 3% of all applicants. You can imagine, then, the level of performance you can expect from their freelancers. The talents on Toptal often master more than one programming skill, so they are more equipped in building a website that corresponds to your needs and liking.
Toptal also saves you much time and effort in selecting the best freelancer. The hiring process is quite easy, as Toptal carries most of the work. All you have to do is tell Toptal the kind of job you need to get done, with as many details as possible. They will find you a match, introduce them to you and wait for your “go”.
Another feature Toptal offers is a no-risk trial period, which allows you to work with the talent first, before deciding whether you are 100% happy to keep on working with them. If you are not satisfied with your match, you would not be liable for any payment, and you can ask Toptal to restart the search process at no cost.
Toptal talents pool includes experts from all around the world, and they offer both remote and on-site work. Overall, Toptal may not be the cheapest option for building a website, but it is certainly guaranteeing world-class quality work. If quality is what you are after, Toptal is the platform for you.
To wrap things up
Having an online presence in nowadays world is absolutely crucial. Having a website is not only a new marketing area that allows you to expand your current cliental but also a way to establish credibility and communicate your business’ mission and values. The benefits of having a website are massive, and the costs, as we have seen, can be rather low.
Building a website DIY style is so easy with website builders such as wix.com. Wix offers plenty of templates you can choose from, and with the quick drag-and-drop function, you can build a professional website in no time, with no expertise.
If you do not have the time or want to make an even more professional website, hiring a freelancer is the way to go. With Fiverr.com you can swiftly choose amongst a large talent pool even with a small budget. Some gigs may even cost as low as $5. Yet, Fiverr’s feedback and rating system ensure the quality of the work, and that the work will be delivered on time.
If quality is your top priority, Toptal is the go-to platform. With an exclusive network of top talent freelancers, Toptal guarantees work quality second to none. Toptal does the work of hiring for you, matching you with the freelancer that fits your job description the most, and even offers a no-risk trial period to ensure your satisfaction.
With all of these tools under your belt, we are confident you now have all you need to have a strong online presence, reach more clients, and step your business forward.