“Should I Do My Own Website?”
We work with a lot of small businesses, and many choose to do their own website.
There are now thousands of do-it-yourself website services. Wix. Squarespace. GoDaddy Website Builder. We’d be here all day naming them.
If one has no website and no budget, then one may have no choice.
To be fair, you can build a pretty decent website on your own with little tech savvy these days. The platforms available are cheap if not free, user-friendly, and widely in use — so finding help with your issue is often a Google search away.
So, what’s the problem with a small business doing their own website, with no professional background? Here are the big ones:
1. No Escape: Site and Content Migration Bummers
We once helped a client “escape” one of these DIY website providers, TypePad (if anyone is looking for a TypePad to WordPress conversion, hit us up!)
Long story short, we worked with the talented coders at TypePad-to-WordPress conversion company TP2WP for weeks to move my client’s content. It took us countless hours over several weeks to reverse engineer TypePad’s insane content management system and successfully migrate thousands of blog posts and photos.
It’s no surprise these companies make it quite difficult to migrate your site as your business grows — they want to keep your business and your credit card information.
You may not realize that the biggest cost of choosing a DIY website service is that growing beyond the platform comes with huge costs, and may require a complete restructuring of your site from scratch.
What’s worse, if you ever stop paying them, your site will likely not only vanish, but be deleted.
2. SEO & Content Woes
Though we’ve seen big gains over the years in terms of DIY website service providers able to offer OK SEO, it’s only ever been OK. To do SEO correctly, you need to start with a customizable platform like WordPress, that when used in conjunction with the right plugins, gives you far better “out-of-the-box” search performance that any of the DIY services.
By paying a professional to build a search-optimized website as the foundation for your digital marketing, you don’t end up paying one of these DIY services a monthly “add-on” service fee just to enable the most basic of SEO best practices.
And because showing up high in search rankings is increasingly about publishing great content, an established content management system (CMS) like WordPress will give you the flexibility to publish any kind of content you want. DIY platforms are much more limited in the variety of media they display, and aren’t very customizable in how it is displayed.
3. Technical Difficulties
We have spent days, even weeks of our lives troubleshooting a single technical glitch.
Technology is constantly changing and incredibly complex. You will run into a problem at some point that will seem like an insurmountable roadblock.
Programmers, hackers, digital marketers, creators… we all have chosen to live a life full of these roadblocks because we thrill in overcoming them and seeing our vision become reality.
It may sound weird to say that dealing with technical difficulties like these is a lifestyle, but that’s exactly what we’re saying. Can you pull an all-nighter to manually repair a corrupt database?
Part of the professional website developer’s job is to occasionally spend way more time than they’re billing you in the pursuit of deeper understanding of a particular issue you’re having. We see the value in spending the time to gain knowledge and find the solution, because it saves us time in the future. In turn, a great deal of value is passed on to you.
You will encounter roadblocks. You will be able to drive around them, but it will require lengthy detours. We know the route, we know all the perils that lie from start to finish. We’ve lived them. Are you ready to?
4. DIY Can Be More Expensive
This is our favorite reason because we think it might blow your mind.
Doing your own website can often be more expensive than hiring a professional.
We specialize in affordable solutions for small businesses. We do websites and digital marketing on shoestring budgets. And we deliver results.
We do this because we have a ton of expertise in every area of digital marketing. This way, we can hone in on the one or two things that would be most helpful to our clients’ bottom lines. And even if the client only has the budget for one or two things, we can make an impact that grows the business, and in turn, grows the digital marketing budget. It’s win-win.
Compare this to the time you’re going to spend developing an entirely new skill. Sure, the third party platforms will make it user-friendly, but how do you actually plan, design, generate content for, organize, revise, and launch a living, breathing website in a few days or weeks? There’s much more to it than picking a template and entering your credit card information.
It’s likely you are of more value to your business doing something else. Hiring a professional for a modest fee will meet if not exceed your expectations, if you know what to look for. They will actually amplify the value you already bring, whereas the DIY approach drains that value so you can make a mediocre website.
5. It Really is A Mediocre Website
We’re not just speaking as website snobs here — you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for) with DIY website platforms. Free or inexpensive DIY websites are extraordinarily limited when it comes to features and customization.
If you’re OK with working within the box the third party provides you, then by all means fit your unique content and business model into their template, which at best is customized for the broadest definition of your industry.
It’s fundamentally a choice between getting what you can get for next to nothing, or getting what you want for something affordable.
Turns out, there’s greater risk in doing a site yourself than hiring a professional, because they will protect you from these five killers of your digital marketing presence.