You only get one chance to make a first impression. The window of opportunity online is incredibly short. Hiring a skilled website designer is an investment. Building your own website might save on cash, but it does take your time, which is essentially money.
“It can be less expensive to make your own website because you don’t have to pay somebody,” said Karen Paul, owner of Elida Creative, a marketing company based in Ballston Spa, New York. “You can use a pre-made template and put in the information, which may require less thought and planning.”
Paul recommends WIX, Squarespace and GoDaddy for do-it-yourselfers. The templates are straight forward and often include all the add-ons without needing to buy more. WordPress is a powerful and popular platform many websites are hosted on, but that program can be more complicated for someone inexperienced in website design.
“However, when you build it yourself, the website will have your voice and vision, making it more personal,” she said.
Keep in mind that while you might be able to build a website, you might not want to spend your valuable time doing something that isn't a forte. Building a website takes away from the tasks you should be concentrating on, and that could be bringing in money to your business, such as teaching lessons, training horses or keeping boarding clients happy.
Using a webaite template means you’ll have to think about what you’re going to say, choose the photos you want to use and input all of the information into the template.
“A horse biz owner should be concentrating on things that are going to make you money,” Paul advised. “The things you have to do are so varied that this could be something you can hand off to someone else.”
Thinking about functionality, organization, user journey, content creation, media and marketing are all parts of web design. If you’re not well-versed in these areas, the end result could be a poorly designed and executed website that could "turn off" potential new clients.
Deciding what type of website you need can help you choose between doing it yourself or hiring it done. If you only need a “virtual brochure” to create an online presence, you can have success building your own website.
Websites can also be designed to accept payment for board, lessons or training. Keep in mind that adding more complicated features like financial transactions might be better left to the professionals.