Freelancing

Pros and cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design Vs. Hiring a Web Design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

We’ve all seen commercials for web builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Wordpress. They lead with a promise of creating a great website at lightning fast speed... even if you have no previous experience. It almost sounds a little too good to be true, right? 

It all depends on your needs. While web site builders make it easier than ever for non-designers to pull together their own website, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re a tech savvy business owner who needs a simple site, they might be a great option. But, if you’re tech-challenged, short on time, or in need of a more custom site you probably need to consider hiring a web designer.

Anyone can point out a website they like or select a template – but designers are the ones who can identify and execute all the elements needed for an on-brand, functional website. From color palettes and font pairings to white space and photography, there are some things a novice just won’t be able to execute on their own. 

Before you decide which route to take, let’s run through some of the pros and cons of DIYing or outsourcing your design: 
 


Outsourcing design: pros

Professional end product

There’s no denying that the end result of hiring a web designer is inevitably going to be stronger than what you’ll be able to create on your own. A strong website design will inevitably help you achieve your website goal, no matter if it’s more email opt-ins, a higher conversion rate, or more brand exposure.  

Functionality aside, did you know that 75% of consumers judge a brand’s credibility based on their site’s design? Web users are savvy, and they can sniff out a homemade website from a mile away – which in the long run could translate to a lot of missed opportunities. 
 

Saves you time and stress

Pulling together a list of your website needs and handing it over to a third party saves you immeasurable amounts of time and stress. You’ll be able to skip the hassle of doing background research, brainstorming concepts, refining ideas, finding your way around unknownsoftware, and making endless tweaks to the site. 

You can simply put your wish-list together, pass it on, and then get on with the rest of your to-do list while your designer handles the creative.
 

It’s a long term investment

Every business’ end goal is to generate revenue. But every good business owner knows that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. While you’ll pay a greater upfront cost to hire a web designer, you’re going to be walking away with a high quality final product that will serve your business for years to come. 

Creating your website yourself has the potential to open you up to issues with data security, mobile responsiveness, search optimization, and more – which long-term could lead to spending more than the cost of hiring a web designer.  

 

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design Vs. Hiring a Web Design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Outsourcing design: cons

It’s more expensive

The price you pay will vary from designer-to-designer (we would estimate anywhere from $500-$8,000 based on the complexity of your site) but it’s certainly more expensive than what a DIY tool will cost you. If you’re a brand new business or start-up with a limited marketing budget, the cost of hiring a web designer may feel prohibitive.  

Although we’ve listed this as a con, we urge you to think of the bigger picture, and your return on investment down the line.
 

Less insider info about your business

Every business has their own way of working, their own personal preferences, and their own knowledge of what’s worked in the past. Understandably, an outsider won’t possess nearly as much knowledge about your business as what you have. It make take a few meetings to educate them on the ins and outs of your business so that they’re able to create an effective website for you. 

If you feel like your designer isn’t listening or doesn’t have the time to talk through the backstory of your business, we suggest finding someone else who will. 
 

Finding the right fit

You do your research, talk to a number of potential designers, and still you feel like you can’t find the right fit. Keep on looking! 

Settling for the wrong designer is going to cost you more time and money in the long run, so be sure to do your research and settle on a clear scope of work before agreeing to anything. 

A good designer should ask you a lot of questions before providing a quote, should explain the process to you, be able to answer your questions, and will outline a clear scope before the project kicks off. If you feel like you’re in the dark about what you’ve agreed to or you feel like they just don’t get your business, then we suggest looking elsewhere. 

Ask for referrals, get the designer to provide ample work samples, and check out the quality of their online presence to get a good idea of their working style and final products. 
 



DIY design: pros

Save money

There are lots of online tools that let you create artwork for free, or offer additional features for a low fee. Either way, it’s likely to be cheaper than onboarding a designer. 
 

Total control

Working with a designer means having to make compromises based on their expertise, and we’ve seen first-hand how hard this can be for some business owners. If you think you’ll be unable to work with an outside party on your website, you may want to consider keeping the project in house. 

 


DIY design: cons

Compromised quality

Design is a skill like any other. The same way you can’t waltz onto a construction site and expect to be a builder, you can’t start using software and expect to be a designer.

Imagine you had to build a brick wall right now. Now imagine what the end result would look like. Compare that to what a professional mason would be able to build. The world of design is no different.
 

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More time, more limits

We’ve already mentioned that there are various cheap and/or free design tools around. But with their cost-saving benefits come limitations – both on what free software can do and what you’ll be able to execute with your limited skill set. 

There’s only so much you can do on basic design tools, and by limiting the flexibility of your designs, you’re essentially putting a cap on the potential quality of your finished product.

 

Tunnel vision

After working solo on your marketing for so long, you think you know exactly what works best and what your customers want. In some cases this might be true, but in a lot of cases there’s value for bringing in a fresh perspective – especially someone who is a marketing expert. Bringing in a web designer will help you get a fresh perspective and some new ideas. 

An expert designer will be able to take your marketing materials to a new level that you’ll never be able to execute with in house design, making you more competitive and more likely to stand out from the crowd. 
 

Loss of expertise

Last but not least, is the loss of experienced, tried and tested expertise. Let’s stick with our construction analogy. If someone asked you to build a skyscraper, you wouldn’t know where to start, or what best practices you need to follow, would you? Nor would you be expected to.

Professional designers have spent years mastering their trade. They’re hot on the heels of current and emerging trends. They’ve had past success and failures to learn from. And, they’ll be able to translate your ideas into something that works well for you while still fitting in with current trends. 

What does all that mean for you? A stand-out final website.


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design for the Triad

Now convinced you need to hire someone to help with your new website? Give us a call so we can see if we're a good fit for designing your new site or sprucing up your existing one. From web mockups to executing the final design, we want to be your go to partner for all things web and design. 

To office or not to office?

                      Hue & Tone's New Space

                      Hue & Tone's New Space

Anyone following my start-up journey on social media has probably noticed I’ve been posting almost non-stop about my new office – that’s because I’m insanely excited about it! After freelancing from home part-time for the past few years one of my biggest hesitations working for myself full-time was the prospect of having to work from home.

Now, everyone’s different. But for me, a brief stint of working from home (when I was in between jobs) left me scarred for life – I literally went a few days without human interaction, my outfits had devolved into mismatched athletic wear and I was working completely irregular hours.

If you’re as extroverted as me, renting office space or looking into a local co-working space is going to be a major factor in your ability to be successful. If you’re just starting out, the low commitment option of co-working may be a better fit – your own office often means committing to a 12-month lease for both the space and the Internet. 

I’ve tried co-working in the past and was ready to try out my own space, but after weeks of searching I was worried my own space would be completely out of my price range. While the sticker price looked completely doable at first, there are a few additional costs to take into consideration: 

1-  Business Internet: Pricing for Business Class Internet is considerably higher then residential service. For a creative business that typically deals with large files, we needed a slightly higher speed -- this started in the $140 range and was priced into the $200s for turbo speeds. 

2- Commercial Renter’s Insurance: Expect commercial renter’s insurance to cost significantly more than the $10/month policy for your apartment. Before signing a lease, ask the leasing company for a copy of the minimum insurance requirements (these will be different everywhere) and be sure to price out a few different policies. Depending on the company, you may be able to get a lower rate if you use the same company you already have a policy with.

Be prepared to answer questions about your equipment, how many clients will be visiting and your day-to-day business operations so you can receive an accurate quote.

QUICK TIP: If your office is smaller, make sure to take careful measurements to make sure that the furniture you have will even work in the space. Having to crawl under your desk to get to the printer gets old…

3- Furnishing your office: Thrifting and shopping for furniture at Goodwill can take a considerable amount of time and luck. Before committing to a space, be sure to take stock of what you have or can borrow. If you have to start from scratch, thrifting, Ikea or Walmart are probably your best bet! Take into account the cost for a few basic decorations, window coverings, rugs and consider if you need a lockable filing cabinet for confidential billing information.

4- Office supplies: Working in your own space means you’ll need to purchase everything from sticky notes and pens to a new printer. These costs can add up to hundreds of dollars for even the thriftiest, most selective shoppers.

5- Common Areas: Find out whether your office building will be offering a break room or shared kitchen. Eating out every day is a major expense when you’re just starting out – so you may be looking at making the investment in a mini fridge, microwave, bottled water, dishes, plastic silverware, or a coffeemaker.

After weeks of crunching the numbers, I was able to find a cozy, 230-square-foot office to split with another start-up business. Halving the costs of everything with an officemate left me with a much less intimidating monthly cost. For me, having my own office space was a necessary investment in my happiness and the long-term success of business, but like everything else, it’s necessary to weigh the cost and make the best decision for you. 

Are You Ready to Work for Yourself? 5 Questions to Ask

hue&tone_workforyourself

Working for yourself full-time can be a great thing. There’s nothing like striking out on your own to develop your skills, and the freedom you’ll gain over your time, income, and opportunities is incomparable.  

Still, working for yourself is hard – in ways you don’t always imagine when you’re starting out. So how do you know if you’re ready? Start by asking yourself these five questions.

Why am I doing this?

What’s going on in your life that makes you want to take the leap? And if all those situations suddenly changed – if you had a brand-new boss, a raise, and a corner office – would you still want to work for yourself? Pay attention to your answer. You should be ready to make a commitment that lasts through changing circumstances.

How long could I realistically live on the savings I’ve built up?

Figure out how much you think you’ll need…then double it. Particularly in creative industries – where you’re offering a service, rather than a product – the line from successful client acquisition to actually seeing a check in your bank account can be a long one.

Am I ready for EVERY aspect of owning a business?

Making a living from the creative work you love doing is great. But remember that you’ll also have a whole new list of responsibilities aside from the creative stuff. Make sure you’re ready to handle more complicated taxes, find a space (or work from home), and – of course – get out there and find some clients.

What’s unique about me? How can I brand that?

You know you’re a great copywriter/graphic designer/web developer. Remember, though – there are a lot of talented creatives out there. What sets you apart? How can you cohesively and visually represent – aka brand – the things you alone can offer?

Who’s in my corner?

Although you may now be a business of one, success doesn’t happen alone. Think about the network you’ve built over the years…who do you know whose skills are the perfect complement to yours? Now’s the time to brainstorm the partnerships you can build based on those relationships.

Need help figuring out how to brand your services? I’m all ears! Drop me a line: hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

Something new, something old: Establishing Hue & Tone

Welcome to Hue & Tone! The new, relocated home of Hannah Pomphrey Graphic Design, with expanded capacity and a whole lot of new ideas. As I return to full-time design + creative, I wanted to share a bit of my freelancing story.

I fell into freelancing by accident…actually, I didn't even realize I was falling in.  When a friend’s parents asked me to create a logo for their new business, I jumped at the chance – I had just finished my first internship at a graphic design firm and was eager to have a project all to myself.

It wasn’t until my first “client” gave me a $100 “tip” that I realized I had just found my new side hustle. After a little bit of planning, I set out with my VistaPrint business cards in hand to find myself some new clients. I cold called and did pro-bono work for local non-profits until I found enough momentum to begin working almost solely on referrals.

Recently, I took a break from freelancing full-time to try out a 9-5 as a Marketing Specialist. I packed up my mismatched furniture and my massive shoe collection and relocated to Greensboro, NC with the intention of settling into my much more “normal” 9-5 job.

Turns out, this 9-5 thing isn’t for everyone. Even the parts of freelancing that I thought weren’t for me – the irregular income, quirky clients, and doing my own taxes -- were some of the things I missed the most. While some might call irregular paychecks and lulls in work terrifying, it now seems like some much needed work-life spice.

After only four months in my regular 9-5 job, I’m excited to establish my freshly rebranded business in my new hometown.

Follow along on Facebook and Twitter as I continue to chase my small business dream!