Is DIY Web Design a Good Idea?
For small business owners, the cost of building a high-quality website can seem prohibitive. On top of that, finding a reliable web developer that will actually finish the project within a reasonable amount of time can also be a challenge. Finally, paying someone to keep a website updated and secure adds to the overall expense. With all this in mind, it’s understandable that many small businesses try and go the DIY web design route.
The question, of course, is whether or not a do-it-yourself website will provide the same quality and value that working with an experienced web designer will. Popular DIY web design services like Wix and Squarespace promise that they’ll have you up and running with a new website almost instantly, all you need to do is add some photos and write a little bit about your business.
The answer is often a mixed bag. While some business owners may find that a DIY web design service is perfectly adequate for their needs, others will likely find them quite limited. Additionally, while the upfront cost may seem lower, there are a few hidden costs that many business owners don’t factor in when they choose to forgo working with a professional.
What DIY Web Design Really Costs
The biggest hidden cost of a do-it-yourself website is time. While DIY website services promise immediate results, it’s unlikely that business owners who are serious about their company website will be happy with the standard themes and templates that many of these services provide to help new users get up and running quickly.
This means whoever is responsible for building the website will have to learn the ins and outs of the platform they’ve chosen. While many services have relatively easy to understand tools for customizing a website, there will almost certainly be a fair amount of trial and error involved.
If there is ever a problem with the website, it means fixing it falls to whoever built it, or calling the service provider for technical support if the issue can’t be resolved. For those who plan on regularly updating their website with new images, products, blog posts, or other content, the amount of time required to make all of that happen can quickly take over the majority of their time each day.
DIY Web Design and SEO
Another important piece of the puzzle when considering a DIY web design service is SEO. These days, without SEO baked into a website from the start, the chances of it delivering the amount of visibility and traffic most business owners want is very slim.
DIY website builders may lack the ability for users to fully control their site’s SEO. While the site itself may look good, if it’s not showing up in search results it really doesn’t matter how pretty it is. Having full control over how a site appears to search engines is critical to a business’s online success. For SEO to work properly, a DIY website builder should let users edit, at minimum, the following things:
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Image titles and alts
- Header sizes (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Page URLs
Last but not least, it’s important for a DIY service to easily integrate with an analytics tool like Google Analytics. Setting up analytics is important for monitoring the health and success of a website, and if a DIY service doesn’t integrate with standard analytics tools, it’s probably not worth using.
Is DIY Web Design Right For You?
Building a website, either yourself or through an outside professional, comes with a lot of potential pitfalls. If cost is the primary hurdle to hiring a professional, and you don’t have any design expertise in-house, you’re better off waiting until you can afford it. In the meantime, consider creating a Facebook page for your business and getting active on other social channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
If you are fairly design savvy (and tech savvy), then a DIY solution may be a good first step. Choose your platform carefully, and make sure it will meet all the needs of your business before you sink a ton of time into building your site.
If you’d like to learn more about the pros and cons of DIY web design, or need help with a new or existing website, please contact us at your convenience.
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