Professional design or do it yourself?
With the internet giving you all the information you possible need just at your finger tips, it is possible to do almost anything yourself if you invest the time and money.DIY is not only the domain for projects around the house, today everything is DIY and far from least is web design. However, just with most DIY projects there will come the question, is it not better to get professional help? This is what I will try to explain in this article.
Why would you consider a DIY approach?
The first thing would be the cost involved in getting professional help. Hiring a professional web designer can run into thousands of dollars, and if you can’t afford that you are left with no other option but to do it yourself!
Doing it yourself also allows you to have complete control over how you want your website to look, and you are not forced in the end to pay for something you may not like. But I’m not creative? There are thousands of templates available for you to make use of, all which look extremely professional and you can plug directly into a content management system. All of these themes are completely customizable, with very manageable learning curve. You can have your website up in a matter of days.
Do I have to learn HTML?
Contrary to what most people think HTML is not programming, it is a simple markup language. Have a look at First Steps in Semantic Web Design if you want to make this a career choice! But if you simply want to create a website for your business, you don't have to learn HTML. There are countless tools on the internet to help you get started.
This short list of tools are all WYSIWIG. They allow you to create your website in much the same way as you would edit a Microsoft Word document. The great thing about this is that you don't need to know any HTML or CSS as all of the code will be generated for you. WYSIWIG editors have come along way, with their code generation improving and becoming more semantic all the time.
A great tool to quickly get started is XSite Pro, which creates many of the sub pages for you automatically, such as the links, sitemaps, and products pages using a simple template. This can however become inflexible over time as your skills improve, and so I would therefore suggest Kompozer which provides you with an extremely easy to use interface for creating professional looking websites. Kompozer is also open source which means that it is free to use and is constantly being updated, which is great because it compares to Adobes Dreamweaver which is very expensive.
Another great tool is to make use of your hosts free website builder, they are extremely easy to use offering you great results.
Editing photos and creating web graphics
You don’t have to be a Photoshop guru to do this, millions of people around the world are making use of the many tools around the web to do this themselves, and with very professional results.
All of these tools are free and allow you to edit photos and create graphics in a much easier less complicated way then the expensive tools like Photoshop. If you find you aren’t getting the right image with your branding, which is very important, you can always outsource your logo design, and then build around that to create your website. 60minutelogo.com offers very professional results, at a very low price and to boot they are extremely quick!
So in the end, going with the professional route, may result in getting your website up a bit quicker, but how much will this cost you? You may opt to have certain elements of your website created professionally, but in the end, the majority of it can be done by you, giving you the opportunity to create something that you are really happy about, and can be proud of.