DIY Websites: Helpful or Harmful?

Websites are the epicenter of a company’s marketing efforts, and thus need to be informative, functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Achieving these goals can be a challenge for small businesses. But without all three of these qualities, a website lacks credibility. Small businesses with lean marketing budgets rarely use professional Web development teams. This has led many companies to turn to quick-and-easy, do-it-yourself website solutions such as Wix, Squarespace and Weebly.

For companies without much of an existing Web presence, these tools can help brands establish themselves online. They help business owners by eliminating the most common barriers of creating a website: Knowledge of HTML and other coding languages isn’t needed. Professional design resources aren’t needed to make a website look good. Technical setup of domains, hosting and content management systems has been greatly simplified. These tools also have serious limitations. While it’s tempting to create a quick, cheap solution to your need for a branded website, cheaper in the short term doesn’t always translate to mean more cost-effective and useful in the long term.

 

Haven’t I seen you somewhere?

Creating your site using a template DIY platform can be a quick solution, especially for teams without design resources. There are a few issues you’ll run into if you go this route. The templates, though they look good and may fit your needs, will be in use by many other companies.

As your company grows, will you be OK with other brands having a look just like yours? It can be confusing and lack originality. It also will require you to lend more time and effort into unique, original content such as custom photography and high-level copy. If you don’t have the resources to produce this content yourself, you may need to reach out to a professional.

 

Limiting yourself from the start

As your business grows, so should your website. One problem you could run into with a self-made site is limited scalability, meaning the functionality and sophistication of the site. Limitations also will exist when it comes to responsiveness and device strategy. If you want a more interactive user experience, specialized functionality or custom features, this will be difficult with a DIY platform.

Professional Web development agencies ( such as ours 😉 ) have thousands of plug-ins and extensions for module-based website growth at their disposal.

 

What am I looking at?

Tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics may be a bit tricky to grasp. These sophisticated items are used to take in raw data, such as crawl rates or broken links, and gain insights on site traffic.

The use of Webmaster Tools is even more important when getting your website noticed by Google. Strong use of this tool can drastically increase traffic, search engine rankings and credibility. For a developer who has a deeper understanding, utilizing these tools will be second nature.

 

Troubleshooting and support

Most DIY website tools are limited to helping ticketing systems, FAQs, message boards, educational articles and/or limited phone support. That may seem like ample resources to solve your website problems, but in reality it takes much longer to find solutions.

Would you rather focus on your business or your website? With a professional development team, you have vigilant protection of your site available to fix problems for you. They can also quickly diagnose and revive your site should there be downtime of any kind. Whether you create a website to fit your brand’s needs, or you hire a team, there are certain factors to consider. Building a site yourself may be cheaper in the short term, but the amount of time you’ll put into it may have warranted paying a professional team. The same goes for upkeep, troubleshooting, and support. No matter what route you decide to go, it’s important to research and understand the form and function you need your site to take. DIY website tools have their time and place, but your site should grow with your brand. Your starter website will only carry you so far before making the switch to a complete customized site becomes your best option.

 

Bianca Goolsby, MBA

Founder + Digital Strategist

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