To the average business person, the idea of building your own website with services like GoDaddy, etc. may sound tempting. After all, it’s often cheap and the commercials make it look as easy as pie.
What Could Go Wrong?
Let us count the ways a build it yourself site could go horribly wrong:
The Templates Suck – They promised you hundreds, if not thousands of beautiful templates. The ones you saw in the commercial were just brilliant. But, as it turns out, only a few are decent they may even charge you more for “premium” looks.
It’s Not So Easy After All – Even though the lady in the ad just dragged and dropped a perfect header image right into the template, you discover that doesn’t really happen unless you’ve had a professionally designed custom graphic created just for you. And the directions they provided might as well be written in a foreign language.
The Look is Generic – Ok, so you don’t have someone to build that custom header image. Now you’re stuck with plain text that’s hard to read (and scrolling off the page) or an image that has nothing to do with your industry. You start looking around at their other customer’s sites (if you can find them) and they all look pretty much like yours. The colors may be different, but the end result is equally bland and elementary looking.
Organizing Content Is A Pain – Whether it’s adding nice little widget boxes that link to your latest blog posts on the side of the home page or just figuring out the navigation structure, things aren’t always streamlined. That can lead to a very cluttered look.
But It’s Cheap (Sometimes)
There’s the rub. If you’re using a basic plan, it can cost very little. But when you look at the final results of the website itself, it looks cheap. Frankly, it makes your company look bad.
While I sometimes feel nostalgic and a bit weepy that it’s no longer 1996, I certainly wouldn’t want the web to go back to those days. But when I look at many of these so-called “easy and cheap” sites, I’m reminded of grunge music and loud, poorly designed websites. (It’s ok to still like the music, by the way.)
Visitors to your site now have a certain level of expectation for how things are going to look and work. They will expect your site to be easy on the eyes and easy to navigate. If they’re using a specific web browser made within the past 5 years, they’ll expect the site to not fall apart when they view it. They may even expect a decent mobile version of the site.
Build it yourself sites may offer some of these services, but it doesn’t substitute for a real, living professional web designer guiding you through the process. A pro can also offer you content strategy and useful tips on virtually ever other aspect of your company’s site.
Yes, it is the more expensive route. But if you’re looking for real guidance and real results, then consider it a true investment in your company.