Perks and pitfalls of a DIY website
Posted on 16th April 2019
As a small business, you absolutely must have a website. An online presence is your opportunity to boost sales, digitally market and build your brand, and provide potential customers with information about your products or services. If you don’t have a website, then you could be missing out on a huge part of your potential market.
However, as a small business or start-up, it can often seem like an expense too far to pay a design agency to create, host, and maintain your website. So, there is a tendency for small business owners to try and do it themselves. In theory, this is smart thinking. Web design is not the illusive, complicated, and confusing world it once was.
Thanks to the development of major web platform providers, almost anyone can knock up a rudimentary website in a few hours, even if they have no experience of coding or design. However, is this the best decision for your business? Is doing it yourself always the best idea? And is the money you save worth it in the long run?
In order to answer these questions and more, we’ve put together this piece about the pros and cons of DIY websites. We’ll take a close look at the reality of making your own website, assess whether it’s good for business in the long run, and help you make a decision about the best move for you.
The benefits of DIY design
As we’ve mentioned, the number one reason for most businesses trying to go it alone with their web design is money. Getting quotes from web design agencies can leave some business owners open mouthed in astonishment. Some of the numbers floating around from the bigger agencies are indeed eye watering. In fact, they’re often up there in the realms of entire yearly operating costs and completely unrealistic for some small businesses.
Just a little research online, however, and you come across the open source web design platform sites like WordPress and Wix. These seem to offer DIY sites, that almost anyone can make in a few hours, for less than a fraction of the price. This is without doubt a major plus point. OK, so you might not get all the bells and whistles you would get from a major agency, but you’ll get an adequate site that serves a basic function. And for some small businesses this seems more than enough.
Baseline packages are very affordable and offer all the basics that a website needs. Then you can add on any other tools that you require for a little extra.
You get a few simple pages with some fancy plug-ins, all backed up by an easy-to-use content management system over which you have full control. This means you don’t have to go back and forward with agency staff (who always seem to be changing) just to get a new piece of information uploaded. Keeping it all in-house and under your complete control certainly has its advantages.
Plus, if you do get stuck, the platform sites offer good support networks, either directly or in the form of forums where you can solicit and find help from other users and experts. It’s not quite the support service you would get from an agency but it’s a good second best.
A DIY site is also a great starting point or placeholder. If you don’t have the budget for a high-end site now, then a simple DIY option at least establishes you as a presence online. You can provide all the basic information, start work on your branding and social media integration and even have a basic online shop. Then, in the future when you are more established and have the means, you can replace this with a professionally designed site.
Having any web presence is definitely better than having none. So, a simple site that you can do yourself can still have some benefit for your business. It’s a far better option than a potential customer going online to look you up and drawing a blank. Like we said at the top of the article, if you’re a business then you simply have to have a website.
The cons of doing it yourself
As you can see above, there are plenty of benefits to designing your own website. The platforms are there for you to do it, even if you don’t think you have the necessary skills. But it’s not always that simple. Even if you’re only using your self-made site as a placeholder, the chances are that eventually you will be replacing it with a professionally designed site, and it might be better to make the investment now rather than miss out on potential business.
You might think that your self-made site is good enough, but the reality of an online presence is that ‘good enough’ really isn’t the case. Users make value judgements about websites within seconds. Just think about it: you’ve probably done it yourself. When you land on a website and it looks shabby or takes an age to load a page, if it doesn’t deliver almost immediately, then you’re off somewhere else.
Most users are very web savvy and understand the grammar of web design. And if they can see that the site had been designed by an amateur or that not enough trouble has gone into making it useable, they instantly make value judgements about your brand. In today’s competitive marketplace you simply can’t afford for this to happen.
The other major drawback is that platform sites can all look and feel very ‘samey’. Your web presence is about you standing out. If your site looks and operates like all the others, then you’ll fade into the background.
Similarly, you might have a friend who has some web design training and offers to do you a favour. All well and good, but if we use the analogy of a car, you might have a friend who tinkers or fixes up old cars but would you really trust them to fix your family SUV to the same standard as the dealership? Probably not. And since your website is pretty much your most important business tool, it’s perhaps better to leave it to the professionals.
What’s more, when it comes to cost, you don’t always have to pay the exorbitant prices demanded by the big agencies. There is a happy medium for affordable web design. Just a quick look around and you can find a professional local web designer who can deliver high-quality, responsive website design at a very reasonable rate.
That’s exactly the service we offer here at it'seeze Web Design Watford. You get top quality design with a face-to-face service and ongoing website support, helping you get the website your business deserves. Why not get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more about the professional web design services we can offer.
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