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Pros and Cons of D.I.Y Website Design and Development

Often people ask me how I stay in business when there are so many do-it-yourself website design platforms out there for people to use.

Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc., and many others provide what appears to be an easy solution for building a website in 2020.

These platforms claim that if you can use PowerPoint or Microsoft Word or even email, you can build a website.

In reality, you can, but the truth is that you won’t build anything close to what you really need. Furthermore, you will spend hours mulling over details like which photos to use, how big to make the logo, where to place text, checking out how it looks on a phone or tablet, and many other forms of self-criticism before you launch the website.

Finally, when the website is actually launched, every little error, or criticism that comes your way, and trust me there will be several, you will not only take personally since you built the website, you will also need to carve out the time to fix it. 

Website design and development is like anything else in life, chances are there is a way to do-it-yourself, but the reality is hiring a professional will not only save you time but also peace of mind, knowing that your website is properly put together.

This post will share my point of view as a professional website developer regarding the use of D.I.Y platforms.

My sister is a prime example of someone who benefited from the D.I.Y approach. She runs a healthcare company and gets a lot of referral business from local county agencies and state government facilities.

Therefore, she does not rely on her website to drive business for her. Her website serves more like a professional signal that she is a legitimate business, and also provides a little information about her business and what they offer.

She is able to leverage stock photography for most pages and only needs about 5 pages to communicate what it is her company provides. On top of that, her husband is a creative type and he was able to leverage his creativity to put together a website that serves a purpose for my sister’s business.

Her website does not need to be updated often, she has 2-3 pages of content, an About page, a Service page, a page for downloading brochures, and a Contact page. Nice and simple.

Some people are probably wondering why she did not ask me to build it for her, and all I’ll say is that she and I agree not to do business with close friends or family. It has proven to work well so far for each of us. I do however provide her with advice when she asks for it. But to be honest, she is pretty savvy herself so I don’t need to coach her up all that much.

Back to the point of the post, the only drawback is that she has to pay a monthly fee to have the website up and running smoothly, and I think that varies depending on the provider, most of them range from $12/month up to $40/month depending on the features you need. 

While this is not a break the bank kind of cost, it is in perpetuity and can add up over the lifetime of your business depending on the type of monthly plan you choose.

Another thing that most folks don’t consider is that you are limited to choosing a design template that hundreds if not thousands of other people are using. While this might not be a deal-breaker, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a website, to begin with.

The reason to even have a website in the first place is to distinguish yourself and separate your business from the competition.

Furthermore, from a technical perspective, your website is sitting on what is called a shared server, with thousands of other websites, and that can affect performance at times. Your website may experience slow load times because it is sharing bandwidth with other websites. You’ll also be limited to what you can add to your website in terms of features.

A D.I.Y platform like Squarespace, for example, will offer ways for you to create a custom email address and even add eCommerce functionality to your website but not only will this cost extra money, it will also be limiting as far as which features or components you can leverage within that functionality.

What I mean is, you will be limited to what the platform provides, and since the platform is trying to appeal to the masses and keep things simple, you will more than likely be limited to a lower performance technology to enable the feature you desire.

This will become a recurring theme with any do-it-yourself website design and development platform, the limitations will eventually become not only frustrating because you won’t be able to expand as much or as quickly as you want, but you’ll also find it more expensive in the long run.

As you start to add more features to your website, your cost will go up, these platforms are of course in business to make money you know.

On the surface, these platforms look and sound easy to get started with. The advertisements show great looking designs and functionality.

The truth is, the version they are showing you in the commercial or advertisement has been professionally put together. Everything from the images being used to the logo, fonts, and layouts have been well thought out by a professional designer before the website was built.

So before you go with one of these D.I.Y platforms ask yourself if you have professional expertise with design, be honest about the images you have and are thinking about using; are they high quality and professionally shot? Do you have experience selecting fonts and selecting website layouts that are easy for people to use?

Finally, do you even have the time to mess around with all this stuff?

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