How much does “Doing-it Yourself” really cost?

Luiz Sifuentes | Saturday, November 04, 2017

I’m not a mechanic. There’s no question about it. If there’s a clinking noise coming from under the hood of my car, I can pop the hood, but I wouldn’t know where to start. I carry jumper cables in my trunk and I know how to change a flat, but I need professional help for anything else. But hey, we’ve got YouTube now, and the local Walmart carries what appears to be good set of starter tools. So why not venture out and fix this thing myself?

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing bad to say about learning new skills here. I have a YouTube channel myself! But effectively learning a new skill set takes time and we all know how not having a working vehicle effects your day.

So, in a world of do-it-yourself how much does building your own business website really cost you? I want to explore this a bit and cross compare building a site to fixing a vehicle. Let’s dive in!

Time is money.

Your time is very valuable and understanding that taking on projects during your leisure time eats away at the moments you have for yourself, family and friends. I use a Toggl, which is a time keeping app that helps me keep track of how long a project takes me and how much I should charge a client based on my hourly rate. If you apply the hourly rate you make at work to the time it takes to fixing that car (or building a business website) you can imagine how quick that tab is going to grow. Not only so, but think how much quicker a professional mechanic (web developer) could the job for you!

Let’s peek in to your Toolbox.

You might think this is a stretch, but building a website just like working on a car requires tools! We know the basic ones, a computer, internet connection, and whatever plugin comes out of the box from your favorite DIY builder. That may translate to a socket wrench, a garage or driveway, and fix-a-flat, but is that really all you need? There are advanced tools in web development that the average DIY-er does not have. Information architecture, color theory, effective CTA’s, A B testing, Analytics based decision making, and so on. You can pack your tool box with some fancy looking tools, but understanding the underlying reasons users make decision takes time to learn.

Costly Mistakes.

Finally, what happens if I pour the wrong fluid down the wrong pipe under the hood? Mistakes are costly both in the automotive and web design field. Your website might not overheat, or blow a gasket, but the layout may affect your sales. The placement of your call to action may need some boosting, or a glitch in your newsletter sign up form might be turning away your visitors. Simply put, issues with your site layout or design may not always be noticeable to you, hence the analytic based decision making and monitoring is so key to your online business success.

There is certainly a lot more to say about this subject, and obviously in some cases, a DIY website suffices for some users—but as a business owner, you just can’t go wrong with getting a professional involved. They will be able to save you time, come with their own tools and expertise, and monitor your sites effectiveness for any modifications that may come down the road.


Luiz has had a live-long passion for art, illustration and design. He loves the intricacy of designing websites and enjoys sudoku.