If you want to build an interior design practice website, can you do it yourself? We look at the options.
It is essential to have a website if you’re running your own practice. You can, of course, employ a suitably qualified individual or company to build it for you. But there are ways to DIY and yet create a thoroughly professional site. We take a look at some of the top choices, and their benefits and disadvantages.
There is a wide range of website builders you can use. You may have heard of examples such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, and there are many more. What’s important when selecting is ease of use for someone who isn’t a professional website builder; a good choice of templates that allow you to represent your practice; and the ability to showcase photographs of your projects.
If you want to build a website, WordPress.org is an extremely popular choice. In fact, it is the number one platform for building a website in the world. If offers a huge choice of ‘themes’ which determine the design of your site. Some of these are free, and there are also premium themes. You don’t have to pay out to create a site that looks professional and functions well, but a premium theme will likely mean more technical support. WordPress sites can be used for eCommerce as well as the words and images that will bring in business.
There are what are called ‘plugins’, too, so you can add social media tools, contact forms and so on, along with SEO tools to enable higher Google rankings for your site.
There is no doubt that there is some learning involved in creating a WordPress site, and you will need to update WordPress itself, the plugins you select and so on – or this can be automated.
Note that while WordPress can be free, you will need to pay for both your domain name and website hosting.
Be aware that there is also WordPress.com. This is a blogging platform and not what you’d want for an interior design website.
Although not as widely used as WordPress, Wix is a top choice for very many people. If you go for this option, separate hosting isn’t required, differentiating it from WordPress.
There are over 500 templates to choose from, which can be edited and the process is drag and drop, making design easy. There are also both free and paid apps to customise your site with.
Bear in mind that in order to use your own domain name rather than a Wix-branded version, which will look far more professional, you will need a premium plan. A free site also has advertisements, which you won’t want. However, what might be worth considering is starting with a free plan so you can see that you can achieve the results you want with the website builder, then upgrade.
Many experts favour Squarespace as a website builder for design professionals, including interior designers. Opt for a Squarespace site and hosting is included.
It offers over 100 stylish templates and the designs are flexible, and there is also highly rated customer support. The site allows exploration of templates by category, allowing you to take a look at, for example, home and decor, or portfolio sites. E-commerce features can be added to a Squarespace site, as can extensions, which are third party tools, including SEO, Mailchimp and other marketing tools.
Note that you might find it more trickier to use than other options when building your site. However, it is possible to sign up for a free trial so you could take a look before signing up to a monthly plan.
Other website builders
There are other options available to build your own website, including GoDaddy which has the advantage of being easy to use. However, individual design options are limited as is customisation, and there are just 22 themes to pick from. Similarly using Weebly could enable you to get started with a website quickly, but with basic templates, it’s unlikely to be the best option for an interior design practice.
What to think about when building your own website
Whichever website builder you’re contemplating, before you buy, consider which features you want your website to have now – and which you might want to add in the long run to ensure it will continue to be suitable.
It’s also worth trialling a builder before you commit to be sure you will be able to use it with results that satisfy you.
Compare prices, too, and don’t forget that hosting may or may not be included; if it isn’t, factor this cost in, too.
And look also at customer service reviews to be sure that the help you might need is available.
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