DIY website design

Should you opt for DIY website design or hire a professional?  Creating a website for your business is essential.  However, the prospect of spending a large sum of money on a professional may have you looking for DIY website options.

There are many costs associated with getting your business off the ground.  A professionally designed website may be one where you decide to save money and opt for a DIY website approach.  While there are nutrition business owners that are very proficient at managing their own website, I’d like to speak from my experience of working with a freelance web designer to build and maintain RD2RD.

Website Concept and Design Process

RD2RD is a complex, multivendor marketplace website.  Similar to sites like Etsy, Amazon and Teachers Pay Teachers, it allows customers to shop and purchase products from more than one vendor.  Vendors manage their stores by creating and updating products from a central dashboard. Earnings are paid out monthly. Selling on a marketplace site is a great way to get broader exposure for your products and generate more sales.

My vision of creating a place for Registered Dietitians to buy and sell digital products needed a great deal of technology and design to go from idea to reality.  The first step in my journey included research and planning to determine ways to create a comprehensive marketplace website.  I spent hundreds of hours researching my idea.  Once I had a developed a detailed list of functionality and features, I began to reach out to website design firms.  This experience nearly put RD2RD into the “impossible idea” pile.  Upwards of six figures was quoted to put together a custom website.

Selecting a Freelance Website Designer

After the quotes from design firms, I realized a custom website was not an option for RD2RD.  This required me to shift my focus to creating a self hosted, WordPress-based website.  Additional research identified a number of plugins and themes designed for marketplace providers.  I also started to explore the possibility of hiring a freelance web designer to configure the various plugins, settings and customization that would be needed.

There are many options for hiring freelancers from Upwork to Fiverr and sites like Thumbtack.  However, a challenge are the sheer number of responses and selecting a good fit.  In my prior work experience, I was an acute care clinical manager and had a great deal of experience interviewing and hiring.  To screen and then interview more than 15 freelance web designers was a time-consuming process.  However, it allowed me to better focus my project plan and more clearly describe my website’s goal.

Meet RD2RD’s Website Designer

The selection process let me to select Rob Chauvin of Pyxels Design Studio.  He has been an essential member of the RD2RD team.   The process of customizing the theme, SSL, plugin settings and appearance of the site was very tedious.  Rob was consistently prompt, professional and always made sure that I was satisfied with the results.

To learn more about Rob Chauvin, visit Pyxels Design Studio website. I’d recommend these blog posts he has available:

Worst Mistakes of DIY Websites

How to Add eCommerce to Your WordPress Website

Working With Freelance Web Designer

To build RD2RD, I leveraged my prior experience with project management.  Having the experience of implementing numerous technology platforms was an asset I took full advantage of.  A clear project plan and structured communication are two elements of project management that helped with the build of RD2RD.

One essential tool that ensured both an efficient and clear working relationship during the intense build phase of the website was an issues list.  This worksheet included each and every task or modification to the website.  The specific function, plugin(s) involved were noted as well as key dates/deadlines, action taken and resolution status.  We didn’t communicate issues via email and all changes and progress were communicated via our shared issues list.

Since the initial build, Pyxels has continued to support RD2RD with upgrades to site functionality, plugin updates, changes to site navigation and more.  While I’ve learned to do many basic functions in WordPress, when something takes me more than a few minutes to figure out or requires customization, I reach out to Rob for assistance.

Closing Thoughts on DIY Website Design

As a business owner, a website is essential.  Having a website designer that can efficiently setup your site and help to troubleshoot issues is not a unattainable luxury.  Freelance web designers are a great option to provide a balance between cost and results.

Be sure to grab a copy of my FREE e-book, “Leveraging Digital Goods: More Money, More Business” with a BONUS getting started checklist.  Click here or enter your email, below!

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Megan Boitano

About the author: Helping dietitians leverage their expertise and generate passive income with digital products. Hi, I'm Megan, the founder of RD2RD, a digital marketplace for RDNs to purchase and sell original, digital goods such as nutrition handouts, presentations, webinars, books and more. In my private practice, I specialize in pediatric nutrition and sensory-based feeding issues.


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