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Is It Worth the Cost to Hire a Web Designer for Your Business?


A business-owner puts up a Hiring sign on their shop's window.

Image source: Getty Images

If you build it, they will click.


Key points

  • Plenty of tools exist to make a nice, functional website yourself. But it will take some time investment, and it’s best for those who don’t need complex layouts or designs.
  • Hiring a professional to build your website can be well worth the cost if you can use your time better elsewhere or need a site requiring advanced skills.
  • The cost of a professional site will vary a lot depending on your needs.

In today’s business world, customers expect businesses to have websites. That’s the simple truth. Across industries, across specialties — if you don’t have a website, your potential customers or clients may not take you very seriously.

On the plus side, it’s never been easier to build your own website. There are tons of affordable options for all-in-one packages that include web hosting, URLs, and handy drag-and-drop website builders.

So, if doing it yourself is so easy, why pay someone else to do it for you? There are a number of reasons hiring a professional web designer may be worth the cost.

Good, cheap, or fast

There’s a common bit of wisdom about quality, time, and money. It basically says you can get something good and fast, but it won’t be cheap. You can get it good and cheap, but it won’t be fast. Or you can get it cheap and fast — but it won’t be good.

Websites are often one of those things. With the quality of tools out there, you can probably build it yourself and get a respectable result (cheap and good). But that takes time. Even a basic website will require learning the tools, fussing with the design, and troubleshooting the inevitable issues.

If you go cheap and fast — doing it yourself without taking the time to do it right — you could wind up with something that looks like it came straight out of a 90’s search engine. You’d be one dancing baby away from social media mockery.

Then there’s the good and fast option — which isn’t cheap, since this is the one that involves hiring a professional. An experienced designer can do in days what would take you weeks (or months, don’t ask me how I know) to learn and build.

What’s your time worth?

So, when you get right down to it, the question of whether it’s worth it to hire a web designer comes down to how you value your time, as well as how much capital you can dedicate to your website budget.

Is your budget already stretched thin? Hiring someone may mean spending money you should save for other overhead costs. Or maybe the idea of spending a few weeks learning to build an adaptive online store for your business sounds like a fun time. In that case, hiring someone could be a waste of capital.

At the same time, don’t forget about the opportunity cost of that time. Any time you spend trying to build the perfect website is time you aren’t building your business in other ways. For example, maybe you’d make more money seeing extra clients than you’ll spend paying someone to build your site.

You also need to be honest with yourself about your own skill level. If you want to build a site with a complex design or complicated back end, a basic drag-and-drop builder isn’t going to do the job. It’s absolutely fine to admit this isn’t your area of expertise and hire someone better suited to the task. (Your mental health will thank you.)

Costs vary widely

Of course, another major factor in whether paying someone to build your site is worth the cost is, well, the cost. A professional website doesn’t have to empty your business’s bank account, but prices can vary widely depending on your needs.

The more complex your website is, the more it will cost to build. Setting up an online marketplace with hundreds of listings will be far more expensive than a one-page lander with a simple contact form.

This applies to the design specifics, too. Do you need custom graphics, or want a specially designed font? Looking for someone to take product shots or team photos? All of these things will cause your business’s web budget to bloat.

At the low end, you can find a well-reviewed designer on a freelance site like Upwork or Fiverr. You could get a clean and functional — but simple — site for a few hundred dollars.

At the high end, you could hire a web design firm with in-house artists and SEO specialists. You’ll get cutting edge design, a custom back end, and 24/7 support. Just don’t be too shocked by the five-figure invoice.

So, to sum it up, if you need a simple site, have some time, and don’t mind the DIY, there are plenty of great tools to make your own site that will save you the cost of hiring someone. But if you need something complex, don’t want to waste the time, or aren’t confident in your design skills, using a professional web designer can be worth every penny.

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