You didn’t go into business to faff around with websites.
But, you’ve kinda realised you need one ASAP.
Or perhaps you want to redesign your existing website because it’s looking a bit, ya know, 1990s.
The problem is, you don’t have a spare 10-15K lying around to hire a fancy-pants web designer.
So, you’re now left with two options:
➡️ DIY it
➡️ Or hire a cheap web designer
Question is, which one should you choose?
In this blog post, I’m going to go through whether you should hire a cheap WordPress Web designer or DIY your website.
By the end of the post, you will know which route to take. And you’ll get some tips along the way about how to make the most out of DIYing or hiring a web designer.
Just so you’re aware, we’ve also included some affiliate links with our recommendations throughout this post. These are products we use personally or that we know work extremely well for our clients. We don’t make much from this – it generally goes on toddler toys or cat treats 🙂
You ready? Let’s go.
What’s the Deal With Building Your Own WordPress Website?
The easiest way to DIY your WordPress website usually involves four steps…
- Installing WordPress
- Getting a WordPress theme
You can get themes such as GeneratePress, Hello or Genesis, and instal the said theme on WordPress.
- Adding ‘Drag and Drop’ Web Builder
To make it even easier, you can add an additional ‘drag and drop’ website builder, such as Elementor, Divi, or Beaver Builder. These builders allow you to drag elements and drop them where you like. And they also give you a front-end view – allowing you to see your changes live, as and when you make them.
- Using Page Templates for Extra Ease
Another great thing about using a page builder like Elementor is there are tons of available page templates that you can use throughout your website, so you don’t have to design anything from scratch.
Hiring a Cheap WordPress Web Designer – What’s Involved?
Hiring a cheap WordPress web designer often involves using a local freelancer or smaller web design agency (although, not always).
We know. We started out as cheap freelance web designers around 8 years ago.
Often, you’ll meet them face-to-face, or have a video call with them initially. They’ll ask you some simple questions about your business. And they may ask for website copy and images.
They’ll go away and design your website, usually communicating with you along the way.
So which one should you choose?
You may already have an idea which is best for you but read on, because there are some surprising results too.
In this post I’m going to break down by..
Setup and Ongoing Fees
Length of Time
The costs of building your own website can vary. But I’ll give you some approximate costs to help you.
WordPress (.org) (Free)
People always ask us if WordPress is free, and yes it is! Which is always nice. But from there you will have additional costs which we’ve outlined below.
WordPress Theme (Free – £100)
WordPress has a huge library of free themes that you can choose from. There are also many third-party companies who sell higher-quality themes for a premium price (usually around £50-£100).
An example of a popular free theme is the ‘Hello’ theme by Elementor.
An example of a premium theme is Authority Pro by Studio Press.
Page Builder ( Free – £50 per year)
A page builder, like Elementor, does come with its own free version but we’d recommend you invest in the pro license as it has so many more handy features. Such as a form builder or the ability to edit the header and footer.
Page templates (Free)
If you’re using a page builder, like Elementor, then you can grab yourself page templates for free as well (from Elementor’s free library of templates).
There are more free templates if you use the pro-license of Elementor.
Stock images (Free- £19)
In order to make your website look good, you may want to use stock images – just, please avoid all the cheesy ones.
It’s better, of course, to use images of you, your team, your products or office, or whatever, but sometimes stock images can come in handy. Particularly vector images for doodles or nice graphics.
Our favourite stock image website is Deposit Photos where you can get 30 images for £19, which should cover you for your entire website.
There are also free stock photography websites that you can use such as Pixabay.
Total cost – £19.00
Plugins/Additional Software (Approx. $20 per month)
You may need additional software or plugins depending on your business. For example, if you want to sell a ‘power hour’ for your business, and get your users to book an hour in your diary, you might want to purchase something called Acuity. This costs $15 per month, depending on what you need.
This is just an example. And it’s all dependant on your business. Other plugins have one-off costs.
Total Costs – free or up to £170 + ongoing costs
You can do all of this for free. Although you can get a far better website if you spend a little money.
Costs With Our Recommendations…
Below is where we recommend you invest your money (and save your money)…
WordPress – it’s free! Which is always nice 😍
‘Hello’ Theme by Elemenor – this is a free theme that you can use. We recommend it alongside…
Elementor Premium – this will cost you $49 per month
A Free Template that comes with Elementor Premium
This is probably the most cost-effective way of getting an attractive, easy to edit DIY website.
We class cheap as anything under £1000.00.
However, for a freelance local web designer, you may get a website for under £500.00.
This will generally include your standard pages – home, about, services, and contact pages.
It will also include stock photos (many agencies and freelancers have their own accounts with stock photography websites).
It’s worth noting that these web designers may also use the same tools as DIY designers. A lot of freelance web designers use drag and drop software or pre-made templates.
Again, if you want to use a particular software on your website, such as an online booking calendar like Acuity, then you will have to cover the cost.
A web designer charging very little for a website may cover the cost of some plugins, but they’re more likely to use free plugins – anything not to squeeze their profit margins.
Total cost – We’ll be fair and say on average, £500.00 + additional cost of any software you want to integrate.
The Winner – Who’s Cheaper – DIY or Hiring a Cheap Web Designer?
Building Your Own Website is the Cheapest Option
The DIY web designer wins easily on this one with an upfront cost of up to £170.00. With our recommendations, it would cost you just $49 to create your website (not including hosting/domain name – we’ll get onto that!)
Compared to approx. £500.00 for a cheap WordPress Web Designer. Even if they’re even cheaper than that, it’s hard to beat £170.00!
Whichever option you choose, our homepage blueprint can help. Click to download the blueprint so you learn how to maximise the most important page on your website!
We all know that, once your website is live, it still costs you money to run it. And there are big differences between DIYing it and hiring someone to manage your website. So here we go.
Domain Name Renewal – (£10 – £15 per year, ish)
Domain names are relatively cheap, which is why so many business owners buy tons of them they never use (I’m looking at you, Martin).
But this is an unavoidable cost. We usually use a company called NameCheap for ours. As the name suggests, they’re pretty cheap!
Hosting – £11.99 per month (get 50% for 12 months here)
We always recommend SiteGround for hosting as their support is fantastic (which is ideal for DIYers who need that extra help). There’s a live chat feature which is particularly handy.
Their hosting starts at £8.99 per month.
They also have a 19.99 per month package comes with some extra features that are worth investing in. Including on-demand backups, which is helpful when you want to make changes to your site and need a recent backup in case something goes wrong!
Security Plugin – Free plugin to $99 per year
To protect your WordPress website from hackers, we recommend the Wordfence security plugin. This is a free plugin that alerts you to breached passwords, hack attempts, and limits failed login attempts (from brute force attacks).
They also have a premium version, which will blacklist certain IP addresses. This costs $99 per year.
SSL Certificate – Mostly Free with A Good Host
You will often get a free SSL certificate with your hosting provider (Siteground also offer this). This is usually sufficient unless you’re taking payments over your website. We don’t do this. We actually use a company called Thrive Cart as the middleman.
If you wanted to purchase an SSL certificate, you might pay between £8-£12 a month. Some SSL certificates run into thousands a year. But, these are most likely reserved for banks and financial institutions!
Total cost – Up to £238.88 per year.*
This is where we recommend you invest your money and save your money!
Domain name – Name Cheap (£10-£15)
Hosting – SiteGound (11.99 per month or 143.88 per year) – get 50% SiteGround Hosting off here
SSL – get it free with SiteGround hosting
Security plugin – WordFence (free)
Total Cost Following Our Recommendations – £158.88
Often, cheaper web designers make their money from their monthly maintenance packages. They charge you a monthly fee to host your website and keep your security up-to-date. They may or may not include an SSL certificate (or this might be charged extra).
Monthly Maintenance Package
We’ve done some research and a lot of cheaper web design agencies don’t actually give their prices for their maintenance packages (but do for the costs of the website).
But, we’ve delved deeper (i.e. had a chat with some) and discovered that on average, maintenance plans cost £30-£60 per month.
Sometimes, web designers will also include 30 minutes of edits/development on the website on top of hosting and security. This usually costs between £50-£99 per month.
Most of the maintenance packages include an SSL certificate. We’re going to guess (and this is just a guess!) that this SSL is the free one provided by their hosting company.
Total cost – Approximately £480 per year.*
We’ve been ultra fair and used £40 per month as the basis of the monthly hosting/security costs as well as an SSL certificate.
If you’re planning on hiring a web designer, ask them what they charge for monthly maintenance. Also, ask them if it’s compulsory that you sign up to one of their maintenance plans if you get a website from them.
The Winner – Who’s Cheaper For Ongoing Website Costs? DIY or Hiring a Designer?
The winner again has to be…
Building your own website is the cheapest for ongoing costs.
Up to £238.88 per year for DIY website (or just £158.88 if you follow our recommendations)
Compared to £480 per year when you hire a web designer.
And this makes sense. We would expect to pay less when we DIY our website, right?
Time is money after all, and you want to make sure that you have your website up quickly.
So how long does it take to DIY your website?
Well..that’s a tough one.
Because it all depends on you.
Getting the Basics of The Website Up (10 minutes)
But let’s talk tech first. In terms of getting hosting, installing WordPress and installing a theme – this whole process can take as little as 10 minutes.
So you can have the basic bones of a website up relatively quickly.
Editing Each Page (30 minutes to 3 hours per page)
If you want to simply copy and paste your website text onto your WordPress theme, then that takes very little time.
But most of us want attractive pages, with nice images, colours, fonts and buttons etc.
With a website builder like Elementor and a template for each page, it could take as little as 30 minutes or up to 3 hours of editing. This is all depending on how advanced you’d like the page.
This includes adding images and text, changing your colours, changing fonts, and editing buttons and layouts. Essentially, all the elements on the page.
It’s fair to say that once you’ve done one page you’ll get much quicker too.
Additional Functionality And Tools (approx. 1 – 3 hours)
You may wish to integrate certain software on your website, such as MailChimp or Convertkit – making sure you capture emails onto your list.
It’s pretty straight-forward to do this. The service provider usually gives instructions.
The same applies to any plugins or software like Acuity.
We’ve suggested this will take 3 hours, although it could take a lot less.
Moving Over Content – such as your blog (10-15 mins per blog post)
Transferring blog posts from one website to another is a hugely time-consuming task if you have a lot of them.
Luckily, there are plugins that can help you migrate your blog content from one website to another if you’re transferring from WordPress site to WordPress site.
However, if you’re not migrating from WordPress you may have to do this manually.
To manually transfer a one blog post may take you around 5-10 minutes per post. Not bad. Unless you have 100 of them.
Testing (2.5 hours)
You will need to test your website before it goes live. You should test for…
- Contact Forms
This could take around 30 minutes of checking and then fixing if something isn’t working correctly.
This could take around 30 minutes of checking and re-linking if the link is incorrect.
With drag and drop software like Elementor, you can view your mobile and tablet website and make changes to it live. This ensures it’s responsive. This can take 30 minutes to an hour.
- General Errors
Spelling errors, usually! This takes around 30 minutes.
- Contact Forms
What’s the total time to DIY your website?
Approximately 8.5 hours to 28.5 hours (This is based on an 8-page site, with 20 blog posts).
So technically, you could have it done in a week (or even a day), but realistically, we see people do this over a two-three week period as they dedicate a few hours to it a day.
BUT, this is all dependant on you having content, a colour scheme, logo and images ready to go. If not, it’ll obviously take longer.
Again. This is a tricky one.
Because it’s all dependent on the web designer.
When we ran our agency, it would take 4-6 months to get a website live. In some cases, projects went on for 8-10 months.
That’s because we’d do a lot of preparation before we started building the site. We’d wireframe, work out the user-flow and then design each page of the site, wait for feedback and adjust according to the client and what they wanted.
This doesn’t happen with cheaper designers (otherwise they wouldn’t make a profit!) So they’re normally much quicker at designing and building.
After a quick Google search, some cheaper web designers promise a website in a week or even in one case, three days.
Total Amount of Time To Hire A Web Designer – One Week (this is dependent obviously on when they can start the project, and how fast you get feedback to them!)
The Winner – Who’s the Fastest At Building a Website?
And the winner is…
Hiring a cheap web designer*
It appears that the cheap web designer is the obvious winner at 3 days- one week to build a website.
*However, in reality, we know that web design projects take A LOT longer! That’s because the designer might not be able to start right away. They may need information from you. They may need your feedback. And they may have to wait for website copy.
You may also want to make changes to your website (nothing is perfect first time around).
So in theory, if you had no feedback for the web designer, they started straight away and you had all the copy they needed, then yes, they could get it done in that time.
Whereas if you did it yourself it would probably take 2-3 weeks.
It’s also worth remembering that once you get used to a page builder, the faster you get at using it.
Some of our members in our membership, for example, can get our sales page up and edited on a Friday evening over a glass of wine!
It’s relatively cheap to set up a website by yourself.
But there’s also a lot of time involved in doing it.
But in that time, you gain a lot of knowledge, perspective on your business, and an understanding of how websites work.
That’s worth its weight in gold!
Making Edits to Your WordPress Website
It doesn’t matter if you build the site yourself or get someone to do it for you, every business owner should know how to edit their website.
At a minimum, you should know how to edit the text and images, change the menu and add new pages.
Because we should constantly tweak our websites. Especially in the first 6-24 months of starting a business, when so much is changing – like your target audience, offering and positioning.
In fact, this is the exact reason we wrote a blog post about why new business owners shouldn’t spend thousands on a website.
When you build your own website, you become adept at making changes.
This is hugely important. When lockdown started, we had a lot of business owners asking us to design sales pages or just make general edits to their websites.
We didn’t have the capacity to do this.
They had to wait or find someone else.
In the meantime, those who had the knowledge whipped up new pages and made edits in a flash.
Their business could adapt and change, and they could start selling much quicker.
Gain Clarity on Your Business
Not only that but going through the process of designing your website yourself gives you a huge amount of clarity on your business.
You focus much more on…
- What you do
- Who you help
- Which services are more important
- How to get the end-user to take action
- The content on each page
- On-Page SEO
People who design their own website take much more care.
They want their URL to be SEO friendly. Or their images labelled correctly for search engines.
The process of DIYing your website is hugely valuable. And offers a huge return on investment – in terms of costs, new skills and business clarity.
This is a huge problem with cheap web designers. They won’t do much research on your company. They’re not going to explore your ideal clients and their problems or goals.
They (probably) won’t wireframe your website. And they may not build your website with conversions or SEO in mind – they might not even have much knowledge of conversions or SEO.
And this isn’t a criticism of cheap web designers.
When you’re paying someone £300-£1000 for a website you can’t expect them to deliver a service worth £10k.
They’re there to build a site that looks nice, that the client likes. And get it live.
That’s not a bad service at all. It’s just a question of whether it works.
Does it rank on Google?
Does it get traffic?
Does it convert visitors into leads?
Our Website Failure
In 2011, we invested in a cheap(ish) website designer who charged us £1400.
We didn’t get any rankings, traffic or sales.
Was that his fault?
It was ours. Because we had a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.
Design is Only 1/6th of Website Success
The problem with investing in cheap web designers is that you STILL have to do a lot of work to get your website right.
Design (or appearance) is only 1/6th of what will make your website a success.
A lot of work needs to go into it – such as the website copy or SEO.
When you design the website yourself, you do a lot of this at the same time. It makes sense to optimise pages as you’re working on them.
Or you can easily edit your website copy that’s not working as you go.
Or you can figure out how to maximise conversions on each page by adding forms, or particular lead magnets – a cheap web designer might not think to do this for you.
The Winner – Who’s Gives a Better ROI?
Building your own website gives you a better ROI.
And not because it’s cheaper.
But because it teaches you how to edit your website in the future – adding new pages, changing menus, taking payments – this is all vital stuff for your business. And you need to do it quickly.
Also, because DIYing gives you clarity on your business. Going through the process of designing your website can help nail down your goals.
Finally, if you’re DIYing your website, you’ll focus on things like on-page SEO or copy as you go along. You’re more careful, considered and thorough than perhaps a cheap website designer would be.
For the ultimate return on investment (whatever option you choose), check out our homepage blueprint, which tells you exactly what to put on your homepage to build trust, get people to the right place on your website and ultimately increase leads and sales!
Now, you may think that when you DIY your website, you’ll get zero support. But that’s not necessarily true.
There are many ways you can get support with your website. We’ve listed these below.
‘Oh, sh*t, I’ve messed this up and need to undo it!’
The first thing you can do when something goes terribly array is to install a previous backup of your website via your website host.
That’s why we recommend doing a manual backup of your site before you start major work on it – just in case!
A hosting provider like SiteGround allows you to make a backup of your website as-and-when-you-like.
If you forget to do a backup, then any good host will do automatic ones every 24 hours. And these can be reinstated.
What If I Just Want Someone to Fix An Error That I Can’t Fix?
Ugh. Sometimes, you end up having an issue that drives you up the wall.
Rather than hit youtube or Google for five hours, we recommend a company called WPFixIt for support.
They can take any WordPress issue and fix it for $39.00. It saves you a lot of time.
Yes, it’s money out of your pocket, but they can also do it quickly too (their average resolve time is 30 minutes), and they’re open 7 days a week.
So there are certainly many ways to get support with your website, even if you’re DIYing it!
Again, you may think that because you’ve hired someone to build your website and you’re paying them for maintenance, that this should come with support.
The fact is, it’s hit and miss.
‘Oh, sh*t, I’ve messed this up and need to undo it!’ – Hiring a Web Designer
When you pay a web designer for monthly maintenance, they speak to the website host on your behalf.
This may sound good but it all depends on the web designer as to when they do this.
If it’s something minor, and someone emailed us on Friday at 9 pm, they wouldn’t get a response until Monday.
Of course, if it was urgent and would impact sales then we’d get on it quickly.
But every web designer is different.
The good thing about doing it yourself is that if you need support at 3 am, you can usually find it. Whereas web designers (understandably!) don’t like getting calls at 3 am!
What If I Just Want Someone to Fix An Error That I Can’t Fix?
If you pay for a maintenance plan, sometimes you get an added 30 minutes of web development a month included. However, this can cost quite a lot (usually around $99 a month for cheaper designers).
Often, you won’t have development included within your maintenance package. That means that you’ll have to pay the web designer to fix your issue.
This could potentially cost you hundreds of pounds.
The Surprising Winner of How Much Support Do You Get?
It’s quite surprising that building your website gives you faster and potentially cheaper support.
It all comes down to you having control over your website. You speak to the host or you approach a company like, WP Fix It, to help you with a problem.
When you’re in control you can get things done quicker and often cheaper too.
Which Option Should You Choose?
If you haven’t guessed already, I recommend that the majority of small business owners should build their own website.
The entire process will give your business clarity. It will also improve your website skills immensely, so if you need to get a sales page up quick, or make a change to your site, you can do it without relying on anyone else!
Just remember to spend your money wisely in certain areas, like good hosting or the premium version of Elementor. Or asking for help from WPFixIt when something will take you too long.
The only exception to this rule is perhaps businesses who are so busy already!
Plumbers is a good example. Plumbers often have terrible websites (sorry, plumbers), but they’re always so busy. So it might be worth chucking a little money at it, hiring a cheaper web designer just so people can find you on Google.
What Should You Put Your Money Towards Instead?
If you’re now wanting to DIY your website and you’re thinking ‘Hey, I now have an extra £500-£1000, what should I spend it on?’
It doesn’t matter if your DIYing or hiring a web designer, what makes a HUGE difference to a website is the photographs.
Professional photos of you, your team, where you work, your products can make or break a website.
Now you may only get a few hours for your money with that, but it will be worth it!
It’s Time to Get Started With Your Home Page
Whether you’ve decided to go ahead and hire a web designer or build your own website, you’re going to want to know how to create a super-successful homepage.
Download our Ultimate Homepage Blueprint for everything you need to include on your homepage.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.