You’ve seen the ads on YouTube, or the various GoDaddy commercials. You too can build a “stunning website” that will take your business to new heights. It’s that easy right?
Could you imagine if other industries like dentists, brain surgeons, mechanics or electricians all had that same slogan? Don’t hire a professional, you ‘re much better off doing it yourself!!!
Ummm…..no. Unfortunately anyone who’s ever owned a business knows nothing is ever that simple. Anything that produces a worthwhile result needs to be done right, not cheap.
So if you believe building your own website is not a good idea, the real question is why? What’s the difference between using a template from Wix, Weebly, Shopify, VistaPrint, Yellow Pages or GoDaddy as opposed to hiring a professional web developer?
These are our top 10 reasons why building your own website may backfire and why you’ll likely end up doing it all over again…
1. Your site may look terrible and no one will tell you – Has a child ever asked you how their drawing looks where you lie and say “it looks great honey!” No one will have the heart to tell you your website is bad when you made it yourself. People who build their own site have beer goggles on, thinking they’ve created a masterpiece when it’s more like a stick figure. You’re not likely to create a professional looking website with no experience, even with the help of tutorials or tech support.
2. Building it is usually harder than you think – A simple drag and drop, add a quick image or video and voila you’re finished!…not quite. Creating a website through a template builder is more like putting together a large piece of Ikea furniture, with some of the instructions missing. Simple things may be easy whereas others like formatting paragraphs, creating proper spacing or adjusting the layout can be a nightmare. If your not a technical person you might struggle to get the results you want, if you even finish at all.
3. You are locked into one service permanently? Say you build a website through Wix then decide later you’d like to work with Weebly instead. Can you simply transfer your existing website over to another service provider? Sadly no. These templates are not compatible with each other and are made that way for a reason. Once they sink their hooks into you they want to make sure leaving isn’t easy. There are even horror stories of certain companies (who shall remain nameless) who automatically renew your contract for another year without even notifying you first.
4. There is very limited customization: You may ask yourself “how do I change this?” or “how do I edit that?”. The most likely answer is you can’t. The lack of customization allowed is scarce at best with most of the framework “locked” from consumers. That means certain alterations you want to make could be off limits, even if you choose to enlist the services of a professional web designer later.
5. Bad for SEO & Online Marketing – One of the biggest reasons template builders stink is because they have severe limitations on SEO or search engine optimization. They often don’t give you full access to the “backend” or code view of your website. That means adding things like alt tags, meta tags or Google Analytics will be very difficult if not impossible. If you’re hoping to gain a high ranking in Google (or other search engines) your chances become highly reduced.
6. Not Always Mobile Friendly – You would think in 2019 a mobile responsive website would be a guaruntee. With some template builders however, their software still lives in the stone ages. A mobile friendly website adjusts to the screen size of your laptop or cell phone for a user-friendly experience. A non-mobile website however is hard to read and even harder to navigate. Web professionals today develop for mobile first because over 60% of searches are now done on portable devices. If your website is not responsive you could be missing out on over half of your potential customers.
7. Load Times Can Lag – Unfortunately when you’re working with a template builder, you’re forced to use their hosting service and shared server. Since they sell hosting packages in mass bulk (referred to as shared hosting) they’ll give you just the bare minimum you need to operate your website. This means poorer quality performance and slower load times, especially on mobile devices.
8. The extras can cost a LOT extra – When you purchase a template builder you’ll often start with cheapest or smallest package first. Afterall you can upgrade later….famous last words. Any extras you might want to add come at a price, a price that’s often a rip-off for what you get in return. Do you feel like paying an additional $10/month for an extra email account?How about $20/month more for SEO or social media marketing that generates little or no results? The goal of do-it-yourself-companies is to start small and upsell later, once your business has become dependent on them.
9. Your website will be one of many (bad websites) online – Website theme builders use the same exact templates for literally thousands of customers. Considering the complete lack of customization mentioned above you’ll likely find many other websites VERY similar to yours. If you’re trying to build a brand or establish a unique identity for your business you want to stand out not blend in.
10. It will devalue your business and cost you money – If you visit a restaurant where the floors are dirty or the bathroom has cockroaches, how likely are you to come back? If your website looks cheap, tacky or unprofessional your website is making this very same first impression. People are heavily influenced by how a website looks when choosing to do business with them. If your website makes a poor first impression you are throwing money right out the window.
Jeff Moyer – Professional Web Developer & Blogger
Jeff is the owner of Advance Web Solutions a web development and digital marketing company based in Calgary, Canada. He has worked over 10+ years in the web design industry and blogged for several high profile websites. To contact Jeff regarding any web related services please visit our website or email email@example.com for more information.