We’ve written before on the dangers of DIY-ing your business and the benefits of hiring a consultant when you’re in over your head. Naturally, this includes websites.
We believe that finding an expert is the best way to get something done. But for those of you who are launching a new business or who have cash flow issues, it can be tempting to look at DIY web builders like Wix and Weebly to get a simple, cheap business website up and running. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
There are a lot of different website builders out there, but we’re not going to talk about the pros and cons of each one (we’d be here all day). Instead, we’d rather tackle the broader question of why people use these tools in the first place. And the main question we want to answer is this: are DIY website builders really worth it? Here’s why we don’t think so….
Their “Customization” is Limited
It’s the illusion of choice: DIY web builders offer hundreds of templates for you to choose from. But a closer examination can reveal that many of these templates are very similar to each other. They only look different because the pictures and words are different. Suddenly, those “hundreds” of different websites drop down to a few dozen.
As for that particular template that really stood out to you? Many other business owners will be choosing the exact same one.
Don’t believe me? Think about this: Who is going to take the time to comb through 500 templates, hem and haw over each one, and pick one that uniquely fits their business? (I thought this process was supposed to be quick!) Chances are, you (and everyone else) is going to make a snap decision and choose a nice template from the first couple of pages.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with templates in and of themselves. Lots of great designers (including us) use templates as a starting point, then change things around to create a unique product. But the difference between an experienced designer using the tools of the trade and you using Weebly is that the professional is able to do a lot more than you to customize the site.
The limited number of plugins and apps also limit your ability to enhance your site for optimal performance. A professional designer building a WordPress site can choose from more than 36,000 different plugins (and a good designer knows which ones are worth using) to bring your website to the next level. Wix only has a couple hundred.
You’re On Your Own
It’s funny: what draws people to DIY website builders is actually its biggest drawback. “DIY” = “do it yourself.” No help. No expert advice.
It’s all on you to make sure you research the best keywords, plugins, and SEO practices.
You’re in charge of all the images and content.
It’s your job to make sure the site is well designed and looks professional. (And let’s face it: how artistic are you, really?) Weebly offers a “let our designers build you a site” option for $450, but the examples given look terrible.
The fact is, you’re not an expert in web design. You’re not up-to-date on technology trends (heck, you’re still trying to figure out what “yolo” means). There’s a whole world out there of plugins, features, and facts that only professional web designers know about. You don’t even know what you don’t know, so you don’t know what to research or what to ask for.
And while certain DIY website builders have “website review” services available to advise you on ways to make your site better, none of these companies will hold your hand and walk you through the process of growing your business.
DIY website builders are like the “kid version” of web design. They’re made to be so easy, even total dummies can’t screw things up. But just like the cake that pops out of your daughter’s Easy Bake oven, the end result isn’t usually professional.
They Decrease Your Credibility
“So what if my site looks ‘basic,’ Clarity? I’m a simple guy/gal with an honest, upfront style. I don’t need anything fancy.”
Well, you might think your lack of design skills are “homey” and endearing, but your customers disagree. Believe it or not, people do judge your business by its website (especially if that’s their first impression). And, as it turns out, a “DIY website” makes your business look less credible. The folks at Content Marketing Institute ran a survey and found that “do it yourself sites” are one of the top three things that cause people to lose credibility and leave your site.
Saving a few bucks on a site isn’t a good deal if no one visits.
When Are They Useful?
So, after all that, are DIY website builders ever preferable over a professional designer? Turns out, yes.
Due to the ease and speed with which you can put one together, we think they’re a great option for personal sites or as a temporary stepping stone for an emerging company with very little funds. (But keep in mind that a full website overhaul will be advisable once your company starts gaining traction.)
The litmus test is: how much do you expect to get out of your website? If you’re planning a wedding and just want a place where guests can get all the relevant info on the upcoming party, you won’t be expecting a return on your investment (ROI). But when it comes to your business, ROI should always be the main consideration. Which is the better deal: spending $5 and getting $0, or spending $100 and making $1,000? Sometimes, you get what you pay for.
The bottom line: if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. You may also have heard, “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself.” But it’s important to be honest about whether you are the right person for the job. (Same reason I don’t trust myself to re-roof my own house or perform my own surgery.)
If you’ve been considering using a website builder to enhance your online presence, talk to us first. Clarity can build you a customized website AND develop a strategic online marketing plan that gets your company name out there and pulls in more web traffic (thus more customers). We can also show you how to add and edit content yourself so you don’t have to contact us (or pay) for every little change (that’s “DIY” done right). And our professional web design/development team will be able to craft a site that matches the vision you have for your business.
This way, you can simultaneously rely on an expert and still stay in the driver’s seat.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. If you really want us to design a wedding website for you, we’d love to help! And if you ask us to provide the cake, it’ll be straight out of the Easy Bake Oven.