5 Things you should know before building your own Website

I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of DIY, “drag and drop” website builders (no names mentioned for the safety of this post) for various reasons, a few of which I will share below; but if you wish to use them, make sure you are educated and go in with “your eyes wide open”.

1. You don’t know what you don’t know

Website builders change the process of designing a website into paint-by-numbers. You can’t,however, ignore the fact that this is a specialised skill.

Web designers use a range of tools to execute their jobs perfectly. These tools include Photoshop, software for auditing your website, and plug-ins. Some of these tools cost a pretty penny.

Professional designers have the expertise and experience to use these tools to create a world-class website. Moreover, they have access to the tools as part of their job. If you design own website, in all likelihood, you will not be able to use this software or tools at all.

You can spend several months (or even years) learning to use the tools to design a truly remarkable website. Or, you can look for a professional designer to do the job for you. Not a tough decision, right?

Mike Khorev

Do you understand SEO, user-experience, responsiveness? No? Then you may be getting in too deep.

2. It might cost more than you think, but offer a lower ROI

For a basic plan, it often appears quite affordable to get the results that you want. However, most of these builders only offer the basics on these plans. Would you like more pages, more features or a different design? Sure! No problem, at a fee. On their own, these fees may be minimal; however, as you add more and more features, they add up (and usually this is an monthly fee, not a once-off upgrade). There are also so many questions you have to ask yourself here. Do they offer a professional domain name with email hosting? Will it be in your name? How much ownership do you have here? What if you grow and your traffic increases substantially, would they be able to grow with you? My point here is almost the same as point 1, you don’t know what you don’t know – so do your research!

3. Make sure you like them, you may be stuck there for a while!

Most of these websites are not cross-compatible and therefore you are generally stuck with the company that you build them with. If the company you sign up with ever goes bankrupt, decides to close or remove certain templates/features/functions; you’ll have no option but to move onto whatever they have decided to do instead. As a business, you never want to be this reliant upon an external company over which you have no control. This is another reason why a Social Media page is just not enough. My “famous” saying – “What if Facebook closed tomorrow, what would you do?” – applies here, feel free to change that to any website builder company as well.

4. SEO? SE No!

Originally, website builders were absolutely useless when it came to SEO (Search Engine Optmisation). As time has gone on, they have improved, but they do not offer the flexibility (or results) you will need to get ahead in the game.

Also, have a look at this September 2018 infographic from Search Engine Journal, which ranks 3 of the major website platforms and 1 website builder in terms of “first contentful paint” (FCP) – or how fast a site loads usable content to visitors. A website builder was the slowest. Note: Website platforms are not “drag and drop” website builders. There is a difference!

5. It’s not as easy as it looks

It really isn’t. Many of my clients start on their DIY journey, just to end up at the door of my office tired and frustrated.

While the backend user interface of these website builders is meant to be easy to use, they often aren’t. It can be frustrating to work within a rigid framework trying to realize a vision you have for the site…

…What is your time worth to you? Better yet, if you have employees and they are busy working this what is your employee’s time worth to you? What else could you be doing with that time? This all needs to be factored into the true cost of the website project.

Thomas Digital

Recently, I had a client that found me after starting her DIY journey. Here are her comments:

I am so relieved I called you. Phew…now I can get this done.

I started working on the website doc, but you are so amazingly freaking fast that most of it is done.

You are truly amazing! Thank you

If you can, rather save up and invest in a critical part of your business future. It will save you time and many headaches knowing you have the support of a web designer, while also knowing you have full control over your business property.

Website builders make DIY website building possible, but they don’t come with automatic knowledge of web design best practices. If you create your website without doing some basic research, you may find yourself guilty of one of the common website design mistakes.

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