Insights April 25, 2013

DIY Website

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We’ve finally launched our website, and as with most things you might do yourself, there’s immense satisfaction at completing the task and an honest recognition that a professional could have probably done it better.

Our decision to go for a DIY website is probably similar to a lot of start-ups:  cash flow.  However, we also knew that as designers, just any old HTML site was not going to be adequate.  So we decided to give it a try on our own with a plan to go running to Tom, our friend at We are Lighthouse London, if we couldn’t make it work.

The upside for creatives out there is that having a web presence is normalising to the point of being expected.  This demand has resulted in numerous template-ready hosting sites – Cargo Collective, Carbonmade, Squarespace,,, WordPress – from which a start-up almost has too many choices.

We decided to go with WordPress and built a version one of our site.  And only then did we realise that there are TWO very distinct and different WordPresses: and

I’ll get to that.

If it’s not clear already, the DIY approach requires a fair amount of researching, compressed learning, and certainly mistake making.  We decided to take a course offered by General Assembly and taught by May Chong.  She helped us to understand that is a web-host and is a plug-in you have to install onto a separate web host.  The former offers you a space for your website for free, but the ability to customise your site will be limited.  Even if you pay for a theme, the array of programming accessible to web developers is restricted.  So, for us, we decided to port our domain – at cost because DIY means making mistakes – to where we could get something closer to what we were after.

Just as with most things, deciding whether to do-it-yourself or pay for someone to do it for you can be a tough choice.  DIY most certainly does not involve a straight line at a known cost from point A to B.  However, it does have it’s advantages, at least one of which, is feeling the fruits of one’s labour.

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Collective Works are an architecture & design studio. Our network of professionals will create your perfect solution.