We all have to start somewhere. While you have to appreciate the do-it-yourself spirit, DIY websites could cost you more in the long run.
I should know! I help a lot of people who went for the DIY websites and then hit a wall, ran out of time, or got frustrated trying to figure out to make custom design changes. Advertising and Youtube videos make building your own website look easy, but don’t be fooled!
While you could slap up a generic landing page in an hour, I can almost promise you that you won’t be happy with it. You’ll want to re-do it, and before you know it you’ve wasted an entire week trying to figure out how to design a better website.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” –Ralf Speth
What those advertisements and videos don’t tell you is how to go through the process of creating a new website. There’s a lot more to it than dropping in a few images and lines of text.
Let me illustrate some of these steps to give you a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes at Vividseeds:
- Brand discovery process – This is where I interview a client to understand better their brand, values, and goals. The discovery process is also where we discuss the look and feel, view examples, and talk about what functions you need to have.
- Project planning- This is a step I find many DIY-ers skip over. When I build a site, I don’t just open a platform and start adding plugins and pictures. A development plan is critical to ensure elements get completed on time and that nothing’s missed.
- Preparation – Next, I put together design guidelines, wireframes, and mockups so that you can see what your site could look like. Doing this first ensures there will be less cumbersome changes once I put the website together.
- Testing- Once the site has been designed, I test everything from contact forms to hyperlinks. Everything has to work and provide a good experience for your visitors. If they can’t fill out a contact form because it hasn’t been setup properly, that’s a lead you’re missing out on!
Learn more about my process here.
Quality Design Lasts
The cost for design can be prohibitive for some business owners, and I get that—I’ve been a new business owner too. Think of it in terms of longevity, though. The last thing you want to be doing is completely overhauling your website every year. That takes a lot of time, and if you’re buying premium add-ons and templates, you could spend just as much on that as you would on getting a professional to help you.
Your website is an investment in your business. Do it well, and it can attract business for you. Opt for the bargain bin, and you’ll spend time trying to repair little things here and there.Opt for the cheap option, and you might spend more time fixing your site than doing business. Click To Tweet
I’m not saying this to try and convince you to buy my services, but because, from experience, I can tell you that you get what you pay for when it comes to websites.
Drag-and-drop DIY website builders can be tempting, but…
There are a few popular DIY website builders out there (Wix and Weebly are examples) that are quite easy to use. But there are a few problems with these platforms:
- They often have a mobile version and a desktop version, instead of a responsive design. In today’s digital landscape, people are using all sizes of devices, requiring you to be more than mobile-friendly. Your website needs to have settings to make it look good at several different sizes.
- Drag-and-drop website builders can be slow to load, and this will increase your bounce rate, the rate at which people immediately leave your site before clicking through to learn more about what you do.
- Unless you have design experience or a good template to use, it’s way too easy to create a messy, unbalanced design. Typical business websites need to be strategic to help you reach your goals. A lot of research has been conducted to figure out what the best strategies are. Also, without design experience of some kind, you might not understand important concepts like balance, white space, and grid design. These are all learnable skills, but you should decide now whether your time is better invested there or elsewhere in your business.
- It won’t scale. Think of your business regarding where you want to be one to three years from now. Will your website be able to handle all the functions you’ll need to run things smoothly? A web designer can help you plan for the future while building something that’s suitable for now.
Hidden Costs of DIY Websites
One of the ways DIY website platforms make money is through upgrades. These costs are typically not mentioned when you purchase your basic website package. Once you start to create your site, you’ll see how limited some of the functions are, and you’ll immediately want to upgrade. All of those little upgrades add up.
Also, be careful of trial offers. Your website is here to stay, so you need to know what the full cost will be once the trial expires.
Understanding Best Practices in Web Design
Digital technology changes fast. One big plus of working with a website designer is that if big changes do occur, such as a change in the way Google’s search algorithm works, your designer can help you navigate this change. Otherwise, you’re on your own to read blogs and tutorials written in developer “gobbledegook”.
Your designer also knows best web design practices, such as how to layout a sales page for higher conversions and what kinds of colors and shapes to use to make specific items stand out on a page.
They’ll be well-versed in popular icons and symbols used on the web, and they can set up somewhat complex features like e-commerce, donation pages, and opt-in delivery pages (the ones that give you the download link after you’ve subscribed).
Provide a Memorable Experience
Your website may be the first place someone comes into contact with you. It’s just like walking into a brick-and-mortar store. Visitors make judgments in seconds. So your website needs to give a good impression, show that you’re professional and that you put the same amount of care into your own work as you do for your customers and clients.
From interacting with your site, your visitors should be able to get a good idea of what you’re like and what you can offer them that’s a little different than everyone else. The experience needs to be seamless (no broken links or glitchy buttons) and it needs to look good.
Delivering a phenomenal customer experience from the get-go is what makes your website, and you, memorable.