Websites are the epicenter of a company’s marketing efforts and, thus, need to be informative, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Achieving these goals can be a challenge for small businesses; however, without all three of these qualities, a website lacks credibility. Small businesses with lean marketing budgets rarely use professional web development teams. This has led many companies to turn to “quick and easy” Do-It-Yourself website solutions like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
For companies without much of an existing web presence, these tools can help brands establish themselves online. They help business owners by eliminating the most common barriers of creating a website.
These tools also have serious limitations. While it’s tempting to create a quick, cheap solution to your need for a branded website, cheaper in the short-term doesn’t always translate to mean more cost effective and useful in the long-run.
Creating your site, using a templated DIY platform can be a quick solution, especially for teams without design resources. There are a few issues you’ll run into if you go this route. The templates, though they look good and may fit your needs, will be in use by many other companies. As your company grows, will you be ok with other brands having a look just like yours? It can be confusing and lack originality. It will also require you to lend more time and effort into unique, original content such as custom photography and high-level copy. If you don’t have the resources to produce this content yourself, you may need to reach out to professional team.
As your business grows, so should your website. One problem you could run into with a self-made site is limited scalability, meaning the functionality and sophistication of the site. Limitations will also exist when it comes to responsiveness and device strategy. If you want a more interactive user experience, specialized functionality, or custom features, this will be difficult with a DIY platform. Professional web development shops have thousands of plugins and extensions for module based website growth at their disposal.
Tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics may be a bit tricky to grasp. These sophisticated tools are used to take in raw data like crawl rates, broken links, or gain insights on site traffic. The use of Webmaster Tools is even more important when getting your website noticed by Google. Strong use of this tool can drastically increase traffic, search engine rankings, and credibility. For a developer who has a deeper understanding, utilizing these tools will be second nature.
Do-It-Yourself can also extend to the maintenance of your website. Most DIY website tools are limited to helping ticketing systems, FAQs, message boards, educational articles and/or limited phone support. That may seem like ample resources to solve your website problems but in reality, it takes much longer to find solutions. Would you rather focus on your business or your website? With a professional development team, you have vigilant protection of your site available to fix problems for you. They can also quickly diagnose and revive your site should there be downtime of any kind.
Whether you create a website to fit your brand’s needs, or you hire a team, there are certain factors to consider. Building a site yourself may be cheaper short-term, but the amount of time you’ll put into it may have warranted paying a professional team. The same goes for upkeep, troubleshooting, and support. No matter what route you decide to go, it’s important to research and understand the form and function you need your site to take.
DIY website tools have their time and place, but your site should grow with your brand. Your starter website will only carry you so far before making the switch to a completely customized site becomes your best option.
As published in the Reading Eagle on December, 15th, 2015.
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