You should never DIY your website (unless you’re a web designer).
Let me start out by saying in my professional opinion, a web designer is someone that understands not only how to make a website functional & on brand but someone who also knows some form of html/css. If you don’t know a pinch of code and rely solely on website “builders”, you are not a web designer in my book. (That is in no way supposed to come off as cruel but rather my honest opinion.)
If you are relying on a platform like Wix or Weebly for your website, it is not going to be very beneficial to your business. If you want to learn more about why, you can checkout my other post Wix or WordPress.
The Break Down:
Your website needs proper SEO (search engine optimization). SEO allows your site to climb the google search rank. Sure, you could guess how to implement SEO by doing some research and hope it works OR you could hire a professional to do it for you.
Your website needs to be responsive. Responsive means your website looks good on all types of devices, it also means it looks good on all browsers (bet you didn’t think about that one). Did you know custom web fonts appear differently on different browsers depending on how they render the font? AND if a browser can’t display a certain font it uses a backup. Sure, you could view the “mobile version” on desktop when DIYing your site and make changes that hopefully look good on all browsers OR you could hire a professional to guarantee responsiveness.
Your website needs to be designed for lead generation. Lead generation means your site not only accurately reflects your brand but is designed to convert visitors into customers. Sure, you could make it look pretty and hope people buy things OR you could hire a professional that understands how to design an effective lead generating web page.
Your website needs integrations. By integrations I mean, do you know how to integrate MailChimp and start getting subscribers? Do you know how to connect Google Analytics through API? Do you know how to customize your opt-in forms? Do you know how to verify your website with Pinterest? Do you know how to submit your site map to Google for indexing? Probably not. Sure, you could spend a few hours going through these questions one by one and attempt to do it yourself OR you could hire a professional to do it for you within minutes.
Your branding needs to be clear. For lead generation tactics to work, your branding needs to be clear. If people don’t know who you are, what you offer, why they should buy from you, or the purpose of your brand, they are not going to purchase your products. Sure, you could throw in all the things you offer and try to appeal to everyone to get the most visitors to your site OR you could hire a professional who knows how to target a specific niche in order to maximize leads.
COMMON DIY MISTAKES:
No effective SEO. Many DIY websites have little to no SEO and website owners are left confused as to why they aren’t getting any views.
Using A Website Builder. Most DIYers are attracted to platforms like Wix or Weebly because they’re easy but that doesn’t mean they’re good. Some DIYers realize later on that they need something better like WordPress and are going to have to hire a professional to help them transfer their website. In the end, they hired a web designer.
What are you even selling? DIY websites are typically a mess. An example of a mess is when they have photos of flowers, nature, homes, kids, and dogs, but they are actually selling toothbrushes. This mistake is VERY common and website owners often overlook it because they are biased since it’s their own website. This drives away potential customers because ultimately they don’t know what the website has to offer.
Mobile Optimization Issues. Most DIY websites have mobile optimization issues the website owners can’t fix because they don’t know how. This obviously isn’t good for business considering 52% of all website traffic is generated through mobile devices.
No Clear Branding. Often times DIY website owners also like to DIY their branding resulting in cookie cutter “logos”, inaccurate brand representation, and no consistency. This makes the challenge of actually selling items much harder. Sometimes they don’t even have a logo & certainly no favicon (the little logo you see at the top left of this tab). People have to understand and trust a brand before buying products. If you don’t have proper branding, building your brand to get a sale is going to be really tough.
Not User Friendly. Sometimes I visit a DIY website and immediately know it’s DIY’d because the font is illegible, the navigation is confusing, the colors are off brand, the design is outdated, and some links are taking me OFF the main website (talk about diverting customers). I’ve noticed DIY website owners don’t really take these things into account because 1) they think if it works there’s no reason to change it and 2) they don’t realize what a drastic increase in sales they could see with an updated site.
No Niche. A lot of DIY website owners build their websites without brand guidance. They think “more products mean more potential customers” when in reality that statement is far from the truth. Some DIYers complain about not getting sales and think that offering discounts or more products is the solution. IT IS NOT THE SOLUTION! Often times the solution is getting a professional website made with proper branding.
Let’s say it takes you 4 hours to produce one week’s worth of products valued at $700 (the products themselves, shooting product photos, writing up a description, calculating shipping, and uploading everything to your site).
You spend 3 hours researching hosting, domains, themes, and setting up your actual site, 1 hour researching plugins/additional features, 2.5 hours researching & attempting to implement proper SEO, 2 hours trying to figure out why your images are overlapping text on your mobile device, .5 hours trying to wrap your head around the fact your website font looks really ugly on your friend’s old HP laptop, 3 hours trying to integrate MailChimp, Google Analytics, and verify Pinterest, 2 hours researching branding, and 4 hours actually building the site.
That’s $3,150 worth of time plus extra stress. During that time you could’ve made a month’s worth of products and started on the second month. And although you researched those things, that doesn’t mean you actually did them right.
A professional web designer is paid to not only do these things for you but to ensure that these things are done correctly and efficiently.
I get it, you’re just starting and don’t have the budget… that’s why web design is an investment, it’s not supposed to be a “purchase” that fits in your budget.
Website builders are trying to convince you it’s possible to learn something in a day that took me 2.5 years to learn and I’m not even a full web developer.
I mean sure, I can research all day long how to be a lawyer but that doesn’t mean I’m going to win my case.