Should I hire a web designer or build my own website? This is a common question. When I first got started in the web design business, my daughter pointed out to me the fact that she had seen an ad on T.V. about how easy it was to build your own website. She wondered how I expected to make money building websites for other people when they could just do it themselves.
First of all, I'd like to clearly state that you certainly can build your own website. There are all kinds of tools today to help you with this task. You don't have to build everything from scratch. You can use programs like Dreamweaver, WordPress, and others to create sites much quicker and easier than you could in the past. There is abundant information on the internet that will teach you how to build and develop a website. So learning how to build a site yourself is definitely possible, and you don't have to be a computer genius to do it.
However, just because you can build your own site doesn't necessarily mean that you should. I personally started building my own sites years ago out of necessity. I have been a professional musician most of my life. Years ago I felt that I simply had to start doing business on the internet, but I didn't have the money to pay someone to build a website for me. I therefore started building my own sites from scratch. It was a frustrating and time-consuming experience. When I was done, my websites looked really awful, and amateurish. I didn't know what I was doing and didn't have time to really learn how to build a site correctly. I know that I lost a lot of potential business as a result. I also lost a lot of time as a result, time that I could have spent pursuing gigs at country clubs, etc., work that I was already experienced in and qualified to do. In the long run I didn't feel that I'd saved myself any money. I actually cost myself a lot money in lost income and time.
As mentioned before, today we have tools to help us like Dreamweaver, etc. As we all know though, nothing is free. The Adobe package that most professional web designers use that includes Dreamweaver sells for over $1500. And even though these type of tools make things easier than building a site from scratch, there's still a steep learning curve. You don't just pull Adobe Illustrator out of the box and start designing amazing logos or graphics for your website. People go to school to learn to use these programs correctly, or they spend hundreds of hours and many years studying instructional videos and practicing design techniques to become proficient at what they're doing. That's why a professional web designer can usually tell immediately whether your site was build by a pro or an amateur. The public can tell too, they just do it on a more subconscious level when they choose the lawyer with the professional site over the one with a terrible looking website.
There are many other issues along with the appearance of your site. There's the issue of security for instance. In the past, I personally had once of my sites infected with a virus because I didn't know at the time how to secure the site against attacks. This virus was so bad that everyone who visited my site got the virus too. Think how much your customers would appreciate that!
And that my friends is how I answer the question, "Why would someone pay a web designer to build their site when they could do it for themselves?" People pay someone else to do things for them all the time. People pay a landscape service to take care of their lawn because they either don't have time to do it themselves, or they know the landscape company knows better than they do how to get their lawn looking immaculate.
I currently make most of my money redesigning or rebuilding sites that people have built for themselves, or their 2nd cousin built for them for free. The free site looks terrible, and they're presenting a very unprofessional image to the public when they find their organization or business on the web. They're losing customers to their competition as a result. I come in with my expertise and save the day. Not a bad gig.
If you just need a simple site, that's an even better reason to have someone do it for you, because it shouldn't cost you much! Most web companies won't charge anywhere near as much for a 2-3 page site as a 15-20 site, complete with e-commerce. So why would you bother learning to do it yourself?
S0 to answer the question," Should I hire a web designer or build my own website," ultimately you have to decide for yourself. Obviously I have a somewhat biased opinion. If I didn't believe my services as a web designer were valuable, I wouldn't be in business! But I also speak from personal experience, having built my own sites in the past before I knew what I was doing, with terrible results, and today making money fixing all the sites that other people have built for themselves.