This morning I read an interesting post about a woman that built a website using Godaddy’s DIY (Do it yourself) Website Builder. Her expectations were that she could do it herself and immediately start seeing results. After spending the time to do the site, she isn’t satisfied. She even said, “GoDaddy makes all these claims about what they do for your site, but it just doesn’t happen.”
Unfortunately, companies like Godaddy, Wix, Squarespace, and even WordPress Theme Marketplaces such as Themeforest and Template Monster make it sound like anyone can build a website because it is super easy and free or at least really cheap. Don’t get me wrong here, I think there are a lot of great website templates already made for WordPress, but what you see when you view their ‘live demo’ doesn’t always mean that is what you are going to get when you are done. The fact of the matter is that to do it right, it isn’t easy or free and usually isn’t cheap.
There is a lot that goes into doing a good website. Perhaps the most important part of doing a website is coming up with a well thought out plan. However, in some cases, even the best plan still doesn’t mean you can or should do it yourself. Now, I am not saying that people shouldn’t at least explore the DIY route as an option because I know that there area lot of technically savvy people out there that can figure out how to build a good website. However, I am saying that it isn’t always easy and cheap. Even, if you go the free route, it is almost never completely free. For starters, for most professionals, time is money. If you have all the time in the world, sure go ahead and give it a shot, but for most of us, time spent learning a new trade that we are only going to use once or maybe twice is time that could have been used making money.
As an example, I recently took on a task of building a new bike. I will be the first to admit, I thought it would be a lot easier than it was. In fact, I eventually took my bike and all the components to the local bike shop to have them complete the build. Could I have finished it myself? Sure, but what I found is that I was spending a lot of time watching Youtube videos and reading tutorials on things like cutting your cables to the correct length and applying the correct torque here and there… At the end of the day, with time being money and or only doing it after hours, it was going to cost me in wages lost or lost time on the bike. When I took it to the bike shop, they completed what would have taken me a day or more, in just a few hours.
So, in case you are thinking about doing a DIY website make sure you are prepared for the following:
- Do you know who your target audience is as well as your competition?
- Do you have a logo and a color scheme?
- Do you have quality photos and or videos?
- Have you written content about you, your business, your product(s) or service(s) that will convert lookers to bookers
- What is the main thing(s) you want your website to do? I.e. Get customers to call, signup, get directions to your shop, read about you and or your services, and or buy online?
And those are the easy questions. The following are just a handful of the harder questions:
- If you are going to sell something online, how will you take payment (credit card, check, cash on delivery, PayPal, etc.)
- Do you need a SSL?
- How are you handling fulfillment? Ie, are you shipping products if so, you need to know how to charge for shipping based on size and weight and where you are shipping to…
- How are you handling security? How are you going to prevent hackers and spammers from taking over your site or email?
- Do you have a way of taking backups of your site?
- Do you have an SEO plan? Do you know the focused keywords that will get organic traffic to your site?
At the end of the day, a good website takes a lot of time and usually isn’t ever as cheap as people want it to be. The perception that websites are easy and cheap is one that needs to go away. The fact of the matter is that anyone (Godaddy, Wix, etc) that is selling you a cheap website, doesn’t really care if you wind up with what you want/expect. Companies that sell cheap websites only care about quantity, not quality. They make their money on having hundreds, if not thousands, of clients at a small monthly rate.
If you want a good website, find someone that will ask you hard questions. Find someone that will make you think of things that you yourself hadn’t thought of yet. Find someone that wants to learn about your audience, products and or services and will help you establish a hierarchy to your site. You will most likely pay more upfront for your site, but you will save a lot in time spent getting it designed and built and you will most likely save money in the long run. Depending on the type of business you have, your website should provide you an increase in sales and or an increase in productivity/business development…
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about doing a new website or enhancing an existing site.
I decided it probably isn’t fair for me to say that companies like Wix and GoDaddy don’t, “really care if you wind up with what you want/expect.” However, if you are paying for a $3.99/month hosting package and using their free website builder tools, you aren’t going to get someone who will write custom code, design you a great logo, read your copy to see if it sounds good and is free of typos and grammar errors. They aren’t going to test your site on different browsers or mobile devices… Basically, it boils down to, “You get what you pay for.”