Yes, it is absolutely true that building your website on an “affordable” platform will save you money at first. Some of the templates that are offered are also very appealing. Some are also very flexible and allow for video integration, large hi-res photograph placement and a few cool widgets. But the reality is that nobody ever takes a few things into consideration when building a website.
For starters, how much do you value your time? Is at $10/hour, $40/hour or more? The amount of time that you will put into a website is between 40-240 hours depending on how robust your site is. Do you really have that time to build a website on your own while balancing your actual job at the same time? Let’s say that you value your time at $25/hour and that your website will take 120 hours (3 weeks) to develop. Your time just cost you $3,000.
Then there’s the issue with knowledge of coding. This will be discussed again later on. Few people that are non-programmers actually understand code (any code) enough to be able to successfully build a website, edit code on a website, edit widgets, etc without anyone else’s help. So what price do you put on the value of knowledge. Lets say we make the argument that knowledge is truly gained through years of doing something over and over again or practice. We can put that number at 4 years; the timeframe of a college education maybe? Since gaining knowledge comes at an opportunity cost, we’ll say that this individual decided to forgo a full time job in order to gain the knowledge of coding. With a conservative income number of $30,000 per year, that puts the value of knowledge at $120,000.
There are also the issues that arise when those visually appealing templates are not that flexible. How do you break the code to make the widget or item how you want it to be? In order to break the code of a template or site in order to edit it and manipulate it you need to get to the source files. Let’s say it’s a site that is built on .php. Do you know how to edit .php? Let’s say that the knowledge that has been gained over those 4 years would be applied if these issues arise. But then there’s the cost of time again. To keep risk at a minimum, A/B testing should be applied to any edits on a website. These A/B tests require a few hours and sometimes days to fulfill. To keep numbers simple, we’ll say that each editing test will take 3 hours. At $25/hour, that will cost $75.
Lastly, we need to consider support. When you build anything; there’s usually a support system in place to help you during difficult issues. If you’re going at it alone, those difficult issues become impossible and slow down the entire project. This will hinder and jeopardize everything. But if you work with a team that is there to help you during good and bad issues, you’ll never have to worry about risking the project. If we put a value on this support team of approximately 3 experts at $20/hour for the entire 120 hours of the website development; that would cost $7,200.
The cost for you to build that website on your own is not at $130,275. That’s a little different from the $8 per month hosting fee that you’re usually charged by these “affordable” platforms. The question then becomes, why wouldn’t you pay a professional agency to build a beautiful website to your liking and without any of the headaches for 3% to 5% of the $130,275?