There are now countless website building tools available. Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy’s website builder, Squarespace, Shopify (for e-commerce) and WordPress (for the more tech savvy) to name a few.
Your mindset may be, “why should I pay a designer for something I can do myself?” But just because you can does not necessarily mean you should.
While they claim you can “create a stunning website in minutes” – which is great. However, what about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? These site builders may have nifty “drag and drop” design tools which may yield a “stunning site”. But without a site being properly search optimized or not having an SEO strategy in place, it’s like not having a website at all!
So ask yourself, is being a DIYER (do-it-yourselfer) by building your website really saving your business money?
The fact is, being a DIYER may actually be costing your business more. That is, in terms of time and money without the results you may expect. Those are energies which could best be spent elsewhere – doing what you do best – like running your business!
Elements that Need to be Included
Being a DIYER can be a rewarding experience. But you still need to know what you’re doing. There is a learning curve and some platforms are more customizable than others. Pay attention to the theme you choose and plugin options. You want a design that best highlights your services or products. Make sure it’s clean and easy to navigate – mobile friendly or “responsive” so that it’s accessible on both web and mobile devices.
Current estimates are that 89% of customers search the web before making a purchasing decision. So your site should be branded with your logo. (You do have a logo don’t you?) You need high-quality, intelligent content and pictures. You want your images and graphics for your web pages to display your company and its products in the best possible light. With short attention spans, visual content is easy for your audience to consume.
But keep in mind, you do need to be careful with the images or photos that you use. Everything on the internet is NOT free so you could run into copyright issues for violations of inappropriate usage. Most images/photos come with licensing terms – especially if you’ve purchased them from say a micro stock vender online. Otherwise you could run into legal matters which could be costly.
site optimization for online visibility
Want to be found online? As noted above, SEO (search engine optimization) will be crucial if you want folks to find you via an Organic Search. You need to know which keyword phrases to target relative to your business and how they come into play.
Another thing is site structure. If not done correctly can hurt your SEO. So how you set-up your site including navigation can work for or against you.
Search visibility takes time. Suffice to say, it does not happen overnight. But SEO is a biggie in terms of your marketing strategy and DIYERs are rarely well-versed in SEO. In fact it’s what often trips them up and/or they are not aware of it’s importance.
Who’s Going to Maintain It?
Site maintenance is an insanely important aspect of your website. So you gotta keep this up too. Like SEO, a website is NOT a one time set-it and forget-it thing. You need to keep your content fresh and updated if you want to remain competitive. A stale website can work against you. And from a search engine optimization perspective, Google tends to look more favorably upon websites which are updated on a more frequent basis.
Using WordPress? You should stay up-to-date with the latest WP version. Very often these include security updates to protect your site. Most importantly, your database needs to be backed-up on a regular basis. Trust me you CAN LOSE ALL YOUR WP SITE CONTENT!
Most importantly, your website is an important business tool and hub. So please do not let your site take a back-seat to your Facebook page!
Very often there is a control freak mentality with DIYERs. Either they feel they need to do everything themselves or they’re the only one fit for the task at hand. Again, this is likely not very time or cost effective as the burden is too large to bear alone.
You will gain much more by relinquishing your controlling nature and trusting a creative professional to work with you as a strategic partner. One who’s focused to help your business grow while you focus on running your business.
Changing Your Mindset from Cost to Investment
Websites are essentially the digital brand ambassadors for your business. And in today’s digital landscape, a website is likely the first interaction people may have with your business. Websites today need to agile, engaging, and highly visible online with the ability to generate leads and sales — ultimately converting visitors into customers.
So before you launch into “our budget does not allow us to hire someone to create a website for us” and think being a DIYER is the way to go, perhaps you need to shift your mentality a bit. From expenses/costs to investments. A properly created website is a business asset and tool and will evolve over time. It’s not only an investment in your business, but in your customers. And your customers are what count.
If you have the time, energy and where-with-all to be a DIYER with building your business website – not to mention properly maintaining it and search optimizing it too – you have my blessing! But don’t deny speaking up or waving a white flag of defeat if it gets to be too much, Doing so will likely save you time and money in the long-run 🙂
Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.