So you run your own business and are looking to get your first website built. You start researching your options of hiring a professional or choosing a DIY website builder such as Wix and SquareSpace but can’t decide which route to take.
Anyone reading this who realizes I’m a professional web designer might think my suggestion is simple: CHOOSE A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE! However for some people in some situations, that may not always be the only viable option, at least not at first.
In recent years I’ve seen a growing number of new clients come to me after giving the ‘Do It Yourself’ website approach a try. The majority walked down the DIY path until they discovered the true costs of doing it themselves and decided to cut their losses and hire a pro.
In certain cases (a limited budget + ample time to spend working on the site + a good level of computer / tech ability), a DIY website could provide some benefits to a business just starting out and needing something basic online to get the ball rolling. However for the majority of business’ and organizations, going the DIY route usually results in wasted time or having a website that does more harm than good.
WHY A DIY WEBSITE IS NOT RIGHT FOR MOST BUSINESSES:
- You Don’t Own or Control Your Website
This is a biggie, and something a lot of business owners who have a DIY website don’t realize. With many website builders, you don’t have your own separate hosting account or even ownership of your site or content. This means you’re at the mercy of the company you’ve built the website through. The status and future of your website is out of your control, and if you’re looking to migrate the site to a new platform or hosting provider, that’s almost always impossible.
- Limited in terms of size
With website builders, you’re often limited by how large you can make your website. A custom built website by a professional can be as big or as small as you’d like it to be.
- Limited in terms of functionality
If you’re looking to include custom features on your website, you will likely run into the restrictions of the website builder. A professional can build and / or install any features you may need now and in the future.
- Potential Traffic Disaster
It’s been well documented how little traffic a website can receive when built on a platform like Wix.com compared to the same site being built professionally (check out bare knuckle digitals blog post that gets in depth with this) and the reason for this is that Google simply does not like Wix based websites. They’re weighed down by loads of unnecessary code making it difficult for the Google crawlers to find anything of value when scanning a Wix website.
With a professional website, you have your own dedicated account and you are the owner of your website. It can be migrated and hosted anywhere you wish so you’re never tied up long term. The control is yours!
Not to mention DIY sites are often U-G-L-Y (you ain’t got no alibi) and full of bugs.
Building your own website is like building your own store front sign. It probably won’t look very good, it likely won’t last too long, and may ultimately reflect poorly on your business. On the off chance it turns out well, think of all the money you could have made and time saved by instead spending that time focusing on sales for your business.
If you have an established business (or are serious about growing one) then a DIY website should not be in the plans.