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You’ve heard the modern art critics that say my kid could paint that. As a web design agency, we don’t get that critique too often, but sometimes we do hear something along the lines of my nephew says he can build my website for free.

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This is a fair question worth addressing: Why should you hire an agency when there are free website builders on the internet? And such web design critics have a point. Every year, these online tools improve, getting easier to use and offering some pretty snazzy visual results. But there’s a lot more to a business website than how it looks. And those “free” online website builders aren’t actually as no-cost as they seem.

Here’s why a business owner like yourself should choose to hire a web design agency to build your website, and what hidden benefits come with working with a professional agency.

When One Size Doesn’t Fit All

There are some good use cases for using a website builder, whether one goes with WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. Each of these products offers templates that could be used to build a website for an e-commerce store, a coffee shop, a professional service provider, and so on. For a small business in these targeted categories, running on a shoestring budget, a website builder could be a good first step.

Even for these businesses, there would be concessions to make. Agencies consider web design templates a starting place from which to change and adapt to suit the uniqueness of your business. With website builders, business owners are usually stuck with the template they choose. You can add your pictures and text content, but you won’t be able to make big changes without more technical know-how.

Most businesses need a design that’s unique to their company. Through experience and testing, agencies know which colors, layouts, and call-to-action button positions work for a particular industry. Plus, if something doesn’t look or work just right, we can change it to suit.

When Time Is Money

“Free” always sounds like a good idea. But when it comes to your business website, it may not be the bargain you’re imagining. It’s true that website builders are free tools. But what about purchasing your business website’s URL address? Site hosting? Site backups? Cybersecurity? Purchasing and implementing these solutions piecemeal can be frustrating for a CEO — to say nothing of the time you’ll spend doing it.

In our experience, most CEOs aren’t technical whizzes or design experts — which is fine; you have other very valuable talents and skills. It can be frustrating for some to sink time into a website project that’s outside your wheelhouse, neglecting other important areas of your business. Even if you put one of your team members on the website project, it’s still going to take away from their primary work. And your nephew that offered to build you a free website? He might find out there’s more work involved than he first thought.

After it all, you still may not have the website you envisioned for your business. And though the design tools were free, you’ll find the time sunk into the project might’ve been better spent elsewhere. Designers are professionals. They know what questions to ask, what features to implement, and what processes to follow, all to get you the site you need as quickly as possible.

When You Need Agency Service, Not Just a Design

In the simplest terms, a website design is a product. But in the hands of a competent agency, a web design project is much more than a pretty website. A DIY solution often doesn’t take into account how a website becomes an integral part of your business. An agency solution does.

When a web user fills in a lead magnet form on your website, you want it to appear in your CRM database. When a user sends a message through a form, you want to receive an email notification. You want a site that integrates properly with your social media accounts, that syncs with your e-commerce payment and invoicing system, that shows up in Google searches and other online directories, that works as a piece of your marketing and branding, and so on.

You may also find in the course of creating your website that you need additional services, such as marketing, copywriting, video or photographic asset creation and editing. An agency solution makes sure that your finished website has all the parts needed to take your business to the next level, including website content, website integrations, and website marketing.

Final Thoughts

DIY solutions like free website builders do have use cases that work for some small businesses. Still, many small businesses find the better option is to invest in a more permanent website solution. To be sure, there’s an upfront investment. But that investment produces a website that’s specifically geared to help you run and grow your business over the long term. Working with a web design agency reduces stress for business owners. You continue to run your business, while professionals build your new website. Plus, an agency can bring you services to grow your business, beyond just the creation of a website, such as marketing strategy, content, and key business integrations. Free website builders are a good solution for some, but for a professional business, it’s best to work with an agency that can properly assess your website needs and help you achieve your business goals through a new, professionally designed website solution.