Website Design: Professional vs. DIY

Small businesses need a website to be their virtual store location to serve clients 24/7. With a virtual space, your business is never “closed”; there is always a way for consumers to find information about your brand from who you are, what you sell, hours of operation, appointment scheduling, to online shopping.

So your website is your brand, and thanks to search engines, potential customers can quickly compare you to all of your competitors to determine with whom they would like to do business. It is easy for consumers to write off your brand simply based on the look, or load speed of your website, so put your best face forward because you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

There are many tools which allow you to build your own website for dirt cheap, but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for”. Many of these cheap tools are made for school projects or personal websites but don’t translate well as a professional business website. Like many small business owners, you may believe hiring professionals is not within your budget, but not only can a website be very affordable, but the value of hiring a professional pays for itself.

These reasons explain why your website needs to be built by experts:

1) Branding:
Good branding is Important to your business and marketing strategy. Your website is your brand and should be perfectly branded to represent your business in the best way. From logos to colours and layouts, a website will look professional and stand out in the marketplace when branded properly, and not simply designed to fit a cheap template. You may not have an expertise in graphic design or front-end development, so hiring an expert will save you considerable time in trying to custom design a website to fit your branding.

2) Technical Support:
If you want to add advanced features to your website you need the technical expertise to do them. A website builder or a pre-built website is not able to build advanced features for you. Also, if a feature of your website is not functioning, you will often have to go through pages of forums in order to find the answer you’re looking for, instead of just turning to an expert who can come up with their own solution.

3) Flexibility
A good team of developers can create a website for you that considers future growth and functionality. They will develop the site in such a way that if, in the future, you wanted to add new features to it like e-commerce or forums it can be done in a shorter time at a lesser cost.

4) Cheaper in the Long Term
If you choose the wrong technology on an early version of your website, it will incur costs for you to switch to a suitable technology in the future. Why waste time and money in having to redo everything again in the future? An expert will choose appropriate technologies at the outset and save you from incurring additional costs in the future.

Not only does hiring an expert add a lot of value to your project, but here are some ways which using D.I.Y. tools do more harm than good:

1) Old Technologies
Many website builders use old technologies like Flash. Flash websites are not mobile friendly and many phones can’t even display them. Some website builders don’t produce mobile-friendly websites at all or only have parts of the website responsive.

2) Lack of Flexibility
Some websites are not flexible, as you are limited to the features and allotted number of pages which that software provides. If in the future you need to extend this website, it may not be possible, or, it may cost a hefty amount.

3) Cookie Cutter
Many people are using DIY or pre-built websites, and each of their websites will look just like yours. Often, the template options website builders offer aren’t designed particularly well either. So, your website will not be able to stand out in a crowd and cut through the clutter.

4) Not SEO Friendly
Search engine optimization is a crucial part of the website that can only be done by experts. A website builder does not have the intelligence to do that; it may have a tool or a plug-in, but the information that is input needs to come from someone who has strategically thought about an SEO strategy.

5) Slow Load Times
The DIY website often include lots of unnecessary codes because they are creating a template for generic use instead of designing the site with only your needs in mind. Because of the excess weight, the website is carrying in the form of unused features and plug-ins, your website load speed will be increased which is damaging to SEO and user experience.

6) Deceptive Pricing
These services seem to be cheap but you will be charged extra for each feature you want to add. Some of these services charge you monthly or annually for the website that is built and in the long-run, work out to be more expensive than just working with professionals in the first place.

7) You Won’t Own Your Website
You will not have access to the data or source code of your website because you built it on the website builder’s server and they don’t give you the access to it. If in the future you need to migrate your website to a new server, you won’t be able to do that. This means they own your domain and website.

8) The Site Contains Ads
Visible and hidden notes will be added to your website which indicates that the website is created by that company or website builder.

Web Design is a technical expertise like any other and can be compared to buying handmade, custom furniture vs. DIY box-store products. Yes, there are certain benefits to DIY, especially when it comes to upfront cost, but when you consider quality, longevity, and convenience, some things are better left to the professionals. Are you looking to have a custom website built? Let’s Talk.

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