Most of us at some point in our lives have had a go at DIY and I’m certainly no exception. However there are limits to how far I will go to “save a few bob”. We may feel confident in plastering round a light switch with some Polyfilla, but try plastering that wall. It will finish up having more lumps and bumps than a relief model of the Alps. A skilled plasterer will make that wall look and feel like silk. He’s a professional and has had years of practice.
I’m sure you get the message so let’s apply this thinking to website design.
Maybe you don’t have a website and you’re worried about getting left behind by the competion who do have one. So you’ve done a bit of research and you’re considering building your own. The TV ads suggest that it’s easy and you’re tempted to have a go yourself and avoid the costs of a professional web designer. I mean, how difficult can it be? In just a few clicks I can have a professional website that will attract hundreds of visitors and generate tons of business. Sounds good to me.
…STOP! Do yourself a huge favour. DON’T BELIEVE IT! and DON’T DO IT!
These DIY template sites promise much and deliver very little. Ninety nine people out of a hundred will finish up spending money and huge amounts of time producing something that makes their business look shabby, doesn’t work well and certainly doesn’t rank well in search engines.
As a professional web designer I receive many calls from people who have mistakenly gone down this road and are limping back hoping that we can improve/update/edit their site. We don’t ever consider renovating these sites. We confine them to the rubbish bin where they belong and design a professional site which will look good, work well and be an asset to the business.
Let me outline just a few reasons why these DIY sites don’t deliver:
DIY websites look like… well DIY websites! Your business deserves a professional look and feel, not something that’s homemade and looks like every other DIY website. The home page of your website gives an impression of you and your business to visitors in a matter of seconds. If your site looks cheap, any potential customer will probably have clicked off it before you can say “White Transit Van”. (I know I do!)
Most DIY template websites are severely restricted in the amount of storage space and bandwidth available. You are usually also limited in the number of pages you can have which means you have to cram your content and images into too small an area. This results in cluttered, unstructured content and long pages which are a turn-off to most visitors. Also, you won’t have your own domain. You will have a subdomain of another site e.g. mysite.diyripoffs.com.
All websites have bugs during the design stage. A web designer will iron out these bugs and make sure that the site is fully functional, cross browser checked, conforms to W3C standards and works on all devices (PCs, Macs, Phones, Tablets etc.) Can you do the same?
A DIY website will invariably be held on a slow server crammed with other DIY websites. Any images you put on will be optimised for physical size but probably not for file size. Consequently this will make the page even slower to load. Another turn off for visitors. (research suggests that the average visitor will not wait more than 7 seconds for a page to load before clicking off)
SEO (search engine optimisation)
This is the area where the whole thing really falls flat. SEO is massively important and the average person has no idea how complicated it is. There are so many important elements to it, both on page and off. Well written code compliant to W3C standards. Optimised content. Researched keywords. Optimised title and alt tags. Metadata and optimised H1 and H2 tags. Submission to Google places and local business directories. I could go on but you get the picture. Even if you can magically make your site look good, it’s not much use if it’s confined to the back streets of the Internet where no one will find it. Remember, Google is God!
In conclusion I would say that if you feel you must give the DIY website a go, then good luck to you. I hope you can make it work for you. I personally feel that your time is better spent building your business and leave building your website to the professionals. And for anyone who thinks professional web design is easy, they cannot appreciate how many hours of hard work and painstaking research goes into building a website with much of the work behind the scenes and invisible to the client.
If you are considering a website or would like to refresh a site or bin a DIY site why not talk to us and let us give you a quote. We are very friendly and don’t bite. Explore our site and feel free to contact any of our clients for a reference. Our site is millerpages.co.uk.