Hey, business owners: do you have a website for your company? If you do, did you build it yourself? If you don’t, have you considered trying to develop it in-house? You might want to think twice before diving into the can-be-scary world of web development.
There are lots of options available on the Net for brave do-it-yourselfers considering building a website in web-based WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) editors. Widely-known services like Wix, Weebly, and the very popular newcomer Squarespace all promise to have your website up and running in just a few clicks or less. But are there tradeoffs to skipping the website consultant in favor of a self-made website to save a buck?
According to this article from @WebdesignerDepot, yes. There are nine, in fact (though I could advocate a few more). The article explains why hand-coding always trumps site builders from the viewpoint of a web developer. Site builders are no bueno for a different list of reasons if you’re a business owner. My list of Reasons Why Business Owners Need a Professionally Developed Website includes a few mutually-applicable points from the article, as well as a few of my own observations.
Reason 1: Control
If you use a site builder to develop your website, you’re at the mercy of the software. You only have control over what the service wants you to have access to. With a professionally-built website, your developer has complete control and can make any change you can dream up.
Aside from design control, a professional website gives you ownership of your files which can be moved to any hosting provider at a later time. With a site builder, there is no easy way to export your data, so your site is stuck with the provider you choose.
Reason 2: Cost
Wait, free DIY website builders aren’t free? Nope. At least they aren’t if you want your own domain name and an ad-free experience for your users. Most site builders are happy to let you create a website for free, but charge a fee to remove those annoying ads and lengthy URLs, often times costing more than a traditional domain registrations and hosting plans. Compare $216 at Squarespace to $51 at GoDaddy for the first year of domain registration and basic hosting plan.
Reason 3: Branding
Long URLs and distracting ads aren’t just a hinderance for your website’s visitors; they also muddle your company’s image and brand. Consider this: JasonsAutoBody.Weebly.com doesn’t seem quite as trustworthy as JasonsAutoBody.com.
A divided URL not only affects your business’ image, but also its bottom dollar. GoDaddy says that “customers are 9 [times] more likely to choose a business with a professional email address.” The same goes for domain names.
Reason 4: Originality
Do-it-yourself website builders have a finite number of predesigned templates from which to choose for your company’s website. That means that chances are, somewhere in the world, someone else has chosen the same template you did. Translation: your website is not unique.
In the age of the Internet, a website is a huge marketing tool for a company and is usually the first opportunity you have to make a good impression on your customers. Therefore, your website should reflect your business’ unique personality and draw. A professionally-designed website is the only way to achieve a completely customized, one-of-a-kind web experience for your customers.
So before you take the plunge and decide to build a website yourself, consider leaving the heavy lifting to a professional. Doing so might just boost your company image and save you money in the long run.