You had a Myspace page in high school, so designing your own website should be a breeze.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, and Tom isn’t going to help you through this one.
Tired of staring at a blank screen and thinking, “I need a website”?
You could go the DIY route, but chances are, you’ll be rereading this post within a few weeks. While they might look deceivingly simple, those “free” website builders floating around online are anything but. Dragging and dropping might sound neat, but the final result can easily look elementary and wonky at best.
Today, we’re taking a look at a few reasons why it’s best to leave this step in the hands of a professional web designer. So click out of that tab and read on!
DIY Tools are Generic
There are more than 1.7 billion active websites. That’s billion, with a B.
Naturally, you want yours to rise to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) and catch the eye of your audience. Yet, you won’t get there by following a generic template.
Those free or low-cost website developer tools might seem great in theory, but they can only offer limited design options. Want to add a special feature or offer enhanced interaction? You won’t get very far. Not only are these templates not optimized to meet your specific business needs, but they also result in a website that looks an awful lot like thousands of others on the web.
A one-of-a-kind website cannot come from a pattern. Instead, it requires complicated, behind-the-scenes technical coding that only a skilled web developer can provide.
Your Time is Money
Apart from being boring, DIY website builders are also time-consuming. Their drag-and-drop marketing approach might seem simple, but unless you know what you’re doing, you could spend hours at your computer trying to figure everything out.
How should the layout look? Which theme should I choose? What in the world are plug-ins?
These are only a few of the questions you might ask yourself, highlighting and dog-earring your new copy of Web Design 101. There are new web technologies introduced daily. You could spend forever trying to learn them all and never catch up.
Meanwhile, your clients are growing impatient, and your competitors are crushing it. When you’re weighing the costs of hiring a website design company versus tackling the job yourself, consider how much your time is worth.
You could spend forever trying to learn this new skill, but that time could be put to better use acquiring new leads, nurturing your existing ones, and growing your business.
You Need a Professional Design
This one is relatively simple. If you’re looking to start a personal blog for only your family and friends to read, then an online builder such as WordPress might be all that you need.
On the other hand, when you need professional web design, you need an expert at the wheel. Otherwise, even your best efforts could be worth zero. More than 40% of consumers admit that they’re “doubtful” to buy from a website that’s unprofessional, ugly or poorly designed in any way.
The fonts, graphics, layouts, and other design features available on DIY website builders are usually simplistic and amateur. Regardless of the industry, you’re in, and this isn’t the way to grab the attention of your online audience. Think of it this way: Would you send a press release in Comic Sans?
You need a user-friendly, interactive site that exudes polish and competence at every turn.
A customized website will be built specifically for your company, designed around your short-term and long-term goals. It can offer a range of personalized capabilities, ranging from tailored plug-ins to proprietary animations and graphics. You’ll also have an unlimited number of web pages to create, compared with a DIY template that often places restrictions on how big your site can get. To earn points with Google, you need to create a separate page for every practice, procedure, or service your company offers. You can’t do that with an online builder.
When you aren’t forced to operate within a box, consider the design possibilities before you. The best part? Yours will be the only site on the internet that looks and functions that way.
Google Can’t Find You.
Yes, some DIY websites include pre-set features for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These are usually in the form of in-site analytics or plug-ins. They’ll heavily advertise these features, but every business owner knows that SEO is more than a few drag-and-drop selections.
Remember: You’re not the only one with access to these tools. In reality, everyone using that template has access to the same SEO functions as you do. Those are the same people you’re competing with for clicks, so it’s time to take a different route.
Not only does a web developer know how to make your site look great, but they’ll also be well-versed in everything SEO. That means they know the exact way to design your website, so search engines can’t help but see you.
Research shows that nearly 80% of small business owners are confident in their current SEO strategy. Despite this, 63% continue to prioritize other outreach activities that don’t directly impact their search ranking, including social media marketing — meanwhile, core SEO efforts such as on-site optimization and local search fall by the wayside.
The takeaway? Unless you know what you’re doing, you could easily focus on the wrong things when it comes to your SEO strategy. A professional web developer can help you improve your odds of landing on the first page of Google, performing steps such as:
- Keyword research
- Data analyzation
- Value-rich content development
- On-page SEO optimization (e.g. headlines, subheadlines, URL slugs, meta tags)
- Mobile optimization
As time goes on, you can also ensure that your SEO strategy is still working as intended. A developer will know the complex, advanced algorithms that Google uses to crawl your site and can use the search engine’s tools (e.g. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics) to help assess your SEO performance, monitoring and referencing such metrics as:
- Crawl Rates
- Site downtime
- Load times
- Bounce ratings
- Search traffic
- Broken links
Boosting your SEO won’t happen overnight, but you’ll get there a lot quicker with the right partner by your side.
Quality Web Hosting is Critical
Did you know that 40% of web visitors will click away if your site takes more than three seconds to load? Moreover, 47% of them expect your website to load in two seconds or less!
We live in the Digital Age, and as technology is expanding, our patience is wearing thin. Today, you cannot afford to have a sluggish or unreliable website. It should load instantly, regardless of the graphics, files, and content that fills it.
That said, let’s talk about hosting.
While the internet can be a hard concept to grasp, it isn’t a metaphysical force. Everything on it, including your new website, is tied back to some physical form. Just like the ones you store on your computer, your site is a collection of files. Those files have to be stored somewhere so everyone can access them!
Think of your domain name as your mailing address. When people look for your site, they’ll enter your domain to go there. Yet, your website also needs a house to live in, and that’s where hosting comes into play.
A web host provides the technologies and services required to make your website viewable and accessible by the general public. When you go with a DIY builder, you’ll usually choose a cheap hosting package for less than $10 a month. Yet, the old saying rings true: You really do get what you pay for.
Relying on an inexpensive web host means a slew of issues right off the bat, including:
- Poor customer service
- Unreliable functionality
- Slow load times
If a power outage occurs and the hosting company goes down, you’re at their mercy. The same applies if you can’t reach the customer service desk or experience a significant maintenance issue. Your business depends on a functional, fast-loading website, and most providers can’t meet these expectations.
Constant Ads Disrupt Your Message
Your website is an extension of your business, and you want it to display your most essential branding messages. Yet, it’s hard to do so when there’s an oversized banner ad that reads, “X.com created this site! Click here to get yours today!” or anything along those lines.
When you go the cheap route, you’re often plagued with these visual disruptions. Not only do they take away from the real information that you’re trying to send, but they also serve to cheapen your site even further.
Mobile-Friendliness is Not an Option
Studies show that 25.5 million Canadians use a smartphone. How many of them are in your target market?
If you want to catch their eye, you can’t wait until they’re sitting down at their computer. You need a website that’s fully optimized for mobile. That means your graphics, text, and layout look as great and work as well on a tablet as they do on a desktop.
Relying on a DIY website builder will leave you with few options when it comes to mobile optimization. In most cases, your site will be convoluted at best and impossible to navigate at worst. This means anyone on-the-go will be hard-pressed to view it.
Working with a professional web developer gives you the upper hand in this category. This expert will know exactly how to tweak and adjust your site to ensure it looks great no matter how people view it. A few steps required include:
- Creating fluid layouts
- Improving loading times
- Enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)
- Redesigning pop-ups
- Optimizing resources (e.g. images, icons, videos)
- Performing extensive accessibility testing
Site Analytics Are Key to Growth
With all the time you put into it, how can you make sure your website functions as it should and boost your business efforts? Though some free site builders will offer basic analytics and traffic insights, they often rely on outdated scripting technologies to do so.
The result? Your analytics are inaccurate and fail to reflect real-time updates. In some cases, the builder might require that you pay an additional fee to gain access to more in-depth insights. You’ll also lack the ability to integrate your website with a range of third-party analytics tools beyond the simple ones offered by the platform.
Basing your reports and forecasts on those numbers alone isn’t a wise move. As your company grows, you need a clear picture of your website performance, and you can’t afford to waste your time and money on erroneous reporting.
When you work with a web developer, you’ll have access to up-to-the-minute reports that give you an accurate view of your site performance and traffic numbers. This way, you always know where you stand and how you can improve.
Still Saying, “I Need a Website”?
Are you tired of looking at all of those DIY web builders out there, wondering which one is the best fit for your needs?
Let us make it simple for you: none of them are. While many offer their fair share of benefits, you can’t beat the professional web designer and developer’s customization and professionalism.
When you’re ready to stop saying, “I need a website” and take that first step, we’d love to help.
We’re a digital marketers team ready to transform your ideas into a robust, mobile-friendly website sure to turn heads, drive sales, and improve your bottom line. Contact us to learn more about web design prices, and let’s connect.
I have been working as a web designer for several years. I’m continually learning better ways to rank websites within reputable search engines. When I’m not working or studying, I’m spending time with my family exploring random activities.