DIY projects are the perfect way to save a little money and learn a new skill. When it comes to web design, DIY is all the rage. DIY website builders (think Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace) promise beautiful sites that average business owners can build in their spare time.
As is often the case, however, things are not as easy as they seem. While you can put together a website by yourself in a few hours (or even less) you probably shouldn't. Here are 10 reasons to think twice before pursuing DIY web design.
The number 1 reason not to pursue DIY web design is the lack of customization it offers. Most DIY website builders give you a number of templates from which to choose. You can't really expand beyond those template designs, especially if you do not know code.
This limited design selection means you end up with a look that is very similar to other websites. Not being able to customize the look of your website reduces its uniqueness, and that reduces its appeal.
With only a few moments available to capture visitors' attention, you have to stand out. The best way to do that is to create a totally unique look for your website. When visitors see an appealing, unique site that instantly communicates your brand, they are far more likely to stay and learn more.
Many DIY website builders market themselves as easy to use. You can quickly put up a website, sometimes in as little as an hour (or even less). The reality, however, is that you can still sink a large amount of time into creating your site.
You may just need to drag and drop photos and write text, but it takes time to find exactly the right photos or word your text just the right way. You can spend hours or even days getting the look of your site just the way you want it.
Time spent on your website is time well spent. However, as the old saying goes, "Time is money." If you are spending hours on creating a website, you are not spending those hours building your business in other ways. Often, a better use of your time is to outsource the web design to a professional while you focus on the tasks that only you can do to create a successful and strong business.
When you choose a DIY website builder, you often lose a degree of flexibility. For example, if you spend time working on a template for your site, and then decide that it is not quite the look you or your customers want, you may not be able to transfer all that work to a new template. Instead, you have to start from scratch.
If you need to start your website over again, you have to devote even more time and resources to creating the right look for your business. When you choose to use a web designer, on the other hand, you enjoy total flexibility. You can create exactly the look you want. You can revise your website to perfect your messaging. You never have to worry about wasting your time on a project that you will have to start over from scratch.
Professionalism is a key indicator for how your visitors will perceive your business. If your site is well kept and well run, your visitors will believe that you can deliver professional services and high-quality products to them. If your site is tacky, slow, or unappealing to look at, your visitors will doubt your ability to deliver high-quality products and services to them.
In general, it is more difficult to achieve a professional look with DIY web design. Sometimes, the templates do not deliver the composed look that you want in your site, or they look like other websites and lack a sense of creativity and uniqueness. Sometimes, the text or images you select are not the ones that would most accurately capture your message and branding.
The best way to achieve the professional look you want in your website is to hire a custom website designer rather than pursuing a DIY solution that may or may not create the look and message you want to send to your visitors.
DIY websites allow you to build your own site with your own images and text. However, most DIY website builders do not give you ownership of your site. That means that if you decide to move your site to another designer or template, you lose all of the work you already put into your site. You will need to start from scratch.
In addition, these website builders will often reserve the right to remove your site, shut it down, or change your site at any time. You may even lose the guarantee that your site will be up and running at any specific time. If you want to retain ownership over your site, you should choose a custom web designer like Distinct Web Design.
Search engine optimization is critical to getting your site in front of your target audiences. There are two issues with DIY web design that makes it difficult to succeed at SEO. The first is implementing SEO best practices into your site.
Many business owners lack the knowledge necessary to create a website that is appealing to Google's search engines and that will rank well in the search results. Tasks like keyword research, page speed optimization, image optimization, and more may be unfamiliar and difficult for business owners to implement.
The second potential SEO issue presented by DIY website builders is the fact that Google has a hard time crawling them efficiently. For example, you may need to wait 3 months for a search engine to crawl your DIY site, while custom-built sites can expect to be crawled within a month. That can be a long time to wait, particularly if you need to get yourself in front of potential customers quickly.
In order to ensure that you have a website that is performing the way you want it to, you have to have access to analytics. This means that you have to have access to information about how many visitors are coming to your site, where they are coming from, what they are doing on your site, how long they are staying on your site, and more.
Often, DIY website builders do not offer this kind of information. If you lack access to information about how your website is performing and how visitors are interacting with it, you have a harder time making decisions about your entire digital marketing campaign, and about your web design in particular.
How can you choose the right blog topics? Promote the right sales? Or even create the right ads without information? You can't. The best way to get that information is to use a custom web designer who can build a site and provide you with the analytics you need to evaluate and improve upon that site.
The experience users have on your website is of paramount importance. That experience is what will either convince them to stay on your site or drive them away. As a result, you want your website to be simple and easy to use at all times. Users should find it intuitive to move through the site and to find the information they want.
Sometimes, however, with DIY sites, user experience is lacking. The template that you use may not possess the right format to help visitors use your site with ease. You may find that your business and your customers have needs that require a customized user experience. Regardless of the reason, a site that is difficult to use will lead to frustrated consumers and a loss of business.
Being easy to use on mobile devices is an absolute necessity for websites today. Mobile friendliness allows the site to remain appealing and easy to use on the smaller screens of mobile devices. It is also a factor Google uses when determining where to place your website in the search results.
DIY websites often lack mobile friendliness. The emphasis is on making templates that are easy to fill in and use, not on creating a great user experience on mobile devices. As a result, you may end up with a site that is hard to use on a small screen. That can spell disaster for your business as customers struggle to access your website on mobile devices and as you lose traction and visibility on Google.
Your website will never be a one and done affair. Instead, you will have to make constant tweaks and updates to keep it running well. Staying this involved with your site requires you to have access to your site. You do not always have this access with a DIY site. Instead, you may find that you are trapped on a specific host that is not meeting your needs. You may not be able to easily make changes to improve issues like slow site speed.You may be frustrated when you need to accomplish certain tasks. In order to manage your site effectively, you may need the assistance of a professional web designer.
Creating a DIY site may seem easy at first. However, you may quickly find that this solution does not meet your needs. In order to achieve the customized, branded site that you need, you need to hire a professional web designer.
Here at Distinct Web Design, we offer you comprehensive services, including custom web design and digital marketing. We can help you create a website, and an online presence, that is the perfect reflection of your business.