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Do I Need a WordPress Web Designer?

So it’s time to build a new website for your business, and you’re wondering if you should hire a WordPress web designer or if it’s OK to DIY! If you’re weighing these two options, you’re not alone. Every solopreneur and small business owner has faced this decision at some point. 


Hiring a professional designer can help you make the most of WordPress’ features, customize a website to fit your branding, and optimize your site for SEO success. Working with a designer requires an investment of your time and money, but it’s well worth the effort for most business owners! 


If you’re still on the fence about reaching for that WordPress theme, this post is for you. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of hiring a WordPress web designer, DIY-ing your design in WordPress, and what you can expect from professional WordPress design services.


Can I design my own website using WordPress?

You can absolutely design your own WordPress website, but that’s not our top recommendation. WordPress is the most popular website platform on the market – over 60% of all websites are built on it! That means there’s no shortage of resources out there to help you design and build a WordPress website on your own. Whether you need a ready-made design theme, page templates, or YouTube videos to walk you through every step, it exists on the internet!


However, that abundance of information can be a double-edged sword. If you’ve ever Googled a WordPress how-to and seen millions of results pop up, then you already know what I’m talking about 😆 There is a TON of information out there, and trying to find the exact right solution for your needs can feel a little bit like trying to drink from a firehose.


If you have plenty of extra time and you’re determined to learn the ins and outs of tech and web design for yourself, then the prospect of watching hours of YouTube videos on how to install and use each plugin might be exciting. But if you’d rather be working with your clients, a WordPress web designer can be an invaluable resource. They’ll do the work of setting you up with a strategically designed website and optimized tech stack from day one (in far less time than it might take you to do it yourself).


Do I need to know coding for WordPress?

Nope! Years ago, you used to need to know at least a little code to effectively design in WordPress. While any coding skills you already have can be helpful, you don’t need to know any code to build a WordPress website. Even if you hire a designer, they can install no-code plugins to simplify updating your site. At Southern Creative, we install the Beaver Builder plugin on clients’ websites to add drag-and-drop capability to WordPress.


When you should hire a WordPress web designer

If you’re not interested in becoming a WordPress designer or sharpening your web design skills, then hiring a designer is for you! However, while anyone could spend their time building their own WordPress website, it’s not the best choice for most small business owners. When you already have an established area of expertise, your time is better spent focusing on your clients and moving your own business forward – not learning the ins and outs of a whole new platform! A WordPress web designer can take care of the design and tech details while you focus on what matters most to your business.


It all comes down to your goals, timeline, and budget

Even though most brands would benefit from WordPress design services, there are a few exceptions to the rule and instances where I’d recommend a DIY website. Here are a few questions I ask clients to determine if they’re ready to invest in a WordPress designer.


What are your goals for a website?

Spend a little time thinking about why you’re building a website and what you hope to get out of it. Some people have already built a solid business and client base and want a super-simple digital presence so they have a place to send existing clients. In that case, a premade template can be a workable solution. 


However, consider hiring a web designer if you plan to use your website as an online marketing tool to grow your brand. They have the expertise to build a strategy-backed site that will show up in organic search results and convert website visitors into paying clients. 


What’s your ideal timeline?

Designers typically book business out weeks or months ahead of time, so you might have to wait a little while to get your site online. Even though you might need a little patience when it comes to kicking off your website project with a WordPress designer, once things get started, your website will usually come together much quicker than if you’d done everything on your own! Our one-week website services (Launch Week and One-Page Websites) help clients get a professionally-designed site online ASAP.


How much can you spend?

Let’s be real – if your budget is zero dollars, then that’s the biggest sign that it’s time to DIY your WordPress setup! Hiring a WordPress designer is an investment in marketing strategy that will set you up for success, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. While totally custom-coded sites cost tens of thousands of dollars, semi-custom sites like our One Week Websites are much more affordable. 


What you can expect from a professional designer

The first thing to remember is that WordPress design services vary widely, so choosing the right designer for your needs is crucial. WordPress is used for so many different types of websites that there isn’t one all-encompassing description for a WordPress web designer. Some designers create websites that could double as works of art; others only work on custom-coded jobs. 


At Southern Creative, we specialize in building semi-custom WordPress websites designed specifically for small businesses and their ideal clients. When you work with us, here’s what you can expect:


Design expertise

If you’re not familiar with web design principles, it can be challenging to get what’s in your head onto the computer or make a design look cohesive and “right.” Our web designers already know the best practices of color theory, page layouts, typography, and visual branding specific to service-based businesses that will give your website a truly professional polish.


SEO Optimization

While the visual aspects of web design are important, having a strong SEO foundation is crucial to driving organic traffic to your new site. We take care of all the details of on-page SEO and back-end tech setup so your site is ready for Google and other search algorithms.


WordPress know-how

Navigating the tech setup for a WordPress website can be daunting. You’ll need to purchase a domain name, set up hosting, purchase a theme, and customize everything with your own text and images. While these tasks can be headache-inducing for business owners, they’re totally routine for WordPress experts.


WordPress Theme customizations

Themes are a fabulous starting point for building a website, but in order to make them feel like they were made for your brand, a little personalization is in order. WordPress designers can make these changes with ease, whether it’s tweaking on-page elements or choosing on-brand colors and fonts.


Expert tips for keeping your site updated & secure

WordPress websites aren’t a one-and-done project; you have to perform periodic maintenance and check for updates. We provide our clients with post-launch resources for performing these tasks themselves and offer optional ongoing maintenance services for convenience and peace of mind!


 Marketing expertise for your industry

When you work with a designer, you get to skip the guesswork and trial-and-error of figuring out what works to book calls and gather leads from your website. As marketing and UX experts, we’ve already done the work of crafting a strategic journey that serves website visitors, helps them get to know your brand, and encourages them to book your services!


Questions you should ask a WordPress designer

Finding the perfect fit when it comes to WordPress designers is all about setting expectations. Schedule a discovery call with a potential designer, and ask them questions to get a feel for their expertise and experience. Here are some sample questions to get you started:

  • How much do you charge? While base rates are usually available on a designer’s website, double-check their current rates based on the size and scope of your particular project.
  • Can I see your portfolio? When you look at their previous work, note if they’ve worked with clients similar to your brand. 
  • Have you worked with clients like me before? If they haven’t, dig a little deeper to figure out why. If they’re a beginner or expanding into a new niche, they might still be a great fit! 
  • What kind of timeline can I expect? Ask when you can expect to kick off the project, how long it will take to be completed, and what they’ll need from you during the process.
  • What does website and hosting access look like at the end of the project? Whenever the design work is done, you should hold the master key to your digital storefront! Confirm that the designer will set you up as the site owner and administrator and that you’ll receive individual hosting.


Want to partner with a WordPress web designer?

Let’s chat! We offer semi-custom websites that can be ready for launch in as little as one week. Book a call now!

Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.