There is a time and place for everything, there are fixes and do it yourselfers that are best left to the professionals.
When it comes to your website, there are several factors that will determine whether you need a fully custom website, designed from scratch; or if a do-it-yourself option like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace will work for you.
Not so long ago, there would be no question of hiring a pro to get the results you want, but with the recent rise of DIY website builders, it has become much easier for the non-techy to build a great website.
If your DIY project didn’t go as planned, you’re not alone. Remember that the only “fail” is to stop trying.
Don’t fear failure – not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail”
Ready to find out what’s right for you?
Ads for DIY website builders and domain registrars like Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress.com, and Weebly are everywhere, but just because you can DIY does it mean you should? This is a decision worth thinking about; there are projects where a professional just cannot be replaced by software.
The importance of a professional website
Your website is your number one marketing tool, and web professionals know the best ways to get your message across to your target audience. Color palettes, calls to action, the placement of different types of content on your pages, even how things are worded make a big difference in how you’re perceived. They should be considered carefully, with decisions made intentionally, based on defined goals and research. Creating a website that doesn’t work for you won’t be worth the time and trouble. Creating one that does will pay for itself many times over.
Are the promises of having your very own website, made by you, and launched in minutes too good to be true? How do you know when it’s best to go with a DIY site builder vs having a professional design and develop your website for you?
When does DIY makes sense?
Let’s be honest: not everybody has the time nor money to learn how to code and build a site from scratch. However, there are some business owners that like taking a more active approach when it comes to building their website, and do it themselves.
Website builders are the best choice for those who don’t consider themselves particularly “tech savvy” and don’t have a high interest in tweaking code (or learning how to), but still want a high degree of control over their website. A DIY website builder like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress.com, Weebly, and many others is probably a better alternative than building from scratch for those who would like to save some money—or those who’d just rather upload photos, post blog articles, or make any changes to their website on their own.
Most DIY website builders have drag-and-drop editors which are incredibly easy to use. With website builders there is no need for you to learn the programing languages or code like CSS or HTML in the process of customization. You can conveniently put the text, image, or videos that you want to add with just a few clicks. You can purchase and install plug-ins that’ll make creating your website an easy task.
DIY website builders also provide a large selection of templates that you can customize and optimize for your website and, bonus, most will be mobile friendly. Some DIY website builders even give you access to collections of stock photography that you can use. Your own branding is still needed, though. Just make sure you select a palette that fits perfectly with your business and logo.
For small startups or individuals with really small budgets, website builders could be the perfect fit. They’re easy to access, usually inexpensive, and their template designs are usually ready to go. So if you have a side project, a small business or startup, or you simply want to create a website to promote your hobby, portfolio, or blog, a DIY website might be the answer.
Who is WordPress good for?
Generally speaking, WordPress is a very powerful, flexible platform. Some of the world’s largest and most popular websites are built with WordPress. But it’s also nimble enough to power smaller websites.
However, it does take a bit of work to use it effectively, and the learning curve is higher than other website builders. If you have the time and interest to commit to learning a bit of code, or have the budget to hire capable developers, then WordPress is definitely a good option for you.
For those requiring more customization, support, and expertise, hiring a WordPress professional is the wisest choice, since this is the most powerful platform out there.
Making the decision
Whatever your decision might be, it will surely be a good selection if you are always prepared on numerous possibilities.
Pros of DIY website builders:
- Lots of designs and templates to choose from.
- Easy and simple customization.
- User-friendly “Drag-and-Drop” style editors.
- Access to stock photo collections.
- Website builders like Squarespace focus more on design, making the final product a gorgeous looking website.
- Save Money: This is usually the number one motivator as this is quantifiable. If you successfully accomplish the task to your satisfaction, depending on the complexity of the website, you could end up saving yourself from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- An amazing sense of accomplishment once you see your website published. You know, that feeling you get when accomplishing something new – that sense of exhilaration, pride and well-being. Creating an effective and attractive website on your own can be a lot like that. If you can enjoy the process as much as the final product, then that makes the sense of accomplishment all that much sweeter.
Cons of DIY website builders:
With all the good things presented above, come some drawbacks. It is just fair for you to reflect yourself if you can manage them. Here are some of boundaries that you must be aware of:
- Shared Hosting. Those websites that are created using the DIY builders are usually hosted in their own, private servers. Which means that you can expect that the bandwidth and server resources will also be shared with other websites. As a result, you may experience poor or slow loading speed of your website.
- Security Concerns. Shared hosting also raises some security issues. In servers that host hundreds of other websites, security is something to pay special attention to. There have been instances of hackers getting through the information stored for other sites on their servers.
- Customization Limitations. The DIY website makers are closed-source programs. Meaning, they do have restrictions in terms of customizations that you produce. Some of the services and editors found in DIY website builders are free, just keep in mind that usually you get what you pay for.
- No Backup. Some of the DIY builders do not provide your website a complete backup. Therefore, if you ever want to move your website elsewhere, you might encounter some challenges.
- Time Consuming. DIY website builders are easy to use, but there’s still a learning curve. The question you need to ask yourself is: “would that time be better spent focusing my attention on making money through my business instead?”
For most businesses and active professionals, a customized site is a much better fit. Why?
A professional firm can build a completely customized site to suit your brand. The professional will look beyond the design elements and will help you craft a marketing strategy that turns your new website into more than just a brochure — it’ll work for you. A pro brings User Experience knowledge that is crucial to a successful site and can develop a site that incorporates mobile compatibility, making sure it has omni-channel capabilities.
The pros can help you integrate plugins, landing pages, blogging capabilities, and other premium features. Not to mention they can help you by evaluating your site performance to ensure it is attracting the right traffic, and helping to convert that traffic into qualified leads.
When deciding between the DIY (Do It Yourself) and DFY (Done For You) approaches to a new website, budget may well be the determining factor. Professional website creation requires a financial investment, sometimes significant. But a well-planned website scope and budget that focuses on your goals will get you the most for your money, and it can quickly pay for itself in increased business and a better, more professional online presence.
There’s no substitute for personal attention and assistance. When you hire a professional website firm, you have a team of experts to collaborate with. People who are devoted to your site, your cause, and your goals who want to see you succeed and know how to help you get where you want to be, who live and breathe this stuff, know WordPress through and through, and love using it for the good of your business, and who have the project management skills to get your new website completed on time and on budget.
In order to decide which option is best for you, there are at least four things you need to consider:
- What kind of site do you need?
- What’s your skill level?
- What’s your budget?
- What are your options?
8 Signal is all about working smarter, not spending the big bucks. We’re here to help you find a balance between DIY and a professional website. We love WordPress and we make sure you’re part of the website-building process every step of the way. Call us at (915) 585-1919 or fill out our contact form to talk with our marketing experts and learn how you can have a professionally developed website for just $300.
There is certainly a case that can be made for either option. A good way to make the final decision on which option to go with is to prioritize your most important elements: cost, time, flexibility, difficulty, and ongoing maintenance.
With the countless instruction manuals, and tutorials out there, DIY projects seem like really easy things to accomplish. They’re not. Have a look at some of the funniest outcomes of best intentions and good old college tries in these fails so terrible they’re actually hilarious.
It’s totally true that things rarely look the same as on the screen. But, you gotta give it to them, the solutions are creative as they are funny.