Since the proliferation of user-friendly website applications like Squarespace and WordPress, it’s easier than ever to create a website yourself. But is it a good idea? Often, clients contact my design studio after building their own website, creating a headache for themselves in the process, and then finding that they need professional design help. Here’s how to make the right choice from the get-go.
Amateur Versus Professional
If you don’t have experience with design and HTML, creating your website yourself could be dangerous for your business. You wouldn’t walk into your dentist’s office or your mechanic’s garage and ask if you can do their job yourself, would you? You should treat your professional web presence the same way.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re going to use WordPress (my personal favorite CMS) to build a website for yourself. You go out a-Googling yourself a WordPress theme to use, and you find one that’s pretty and ‘clean.’ But is it responsive? Do you have a thorough understanding of responsive design, and why it’s an absolute necessity for your site? If you choose a non-responsive theme, or a theme of poor code quality, your endeavor is likely already in troubled waters.
It pays (literally) to work with someone who understands how to make the right decisions for your website. You’re busy running your business anyway – take the website off your to-do list.
Do It Once and Do It Right
I like the old adage ‘do it once and do it right.’ It applies to everything from web design to marriage. You don’t want to marry a crappy website and then divorce it, do you? Divorce means you have to split up your beanie babies.
REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE #1
John used his WordPress blog to promote his financial advising business. He had a five-figure Twitter following full of potential clients eager to read his work. When he contacted me for help with his newsletter, a quick glance at his site revealed that he was not using pretty permalinks in his URL structure. This minor SEO flaw was the tip of the iceberg. When I told John that his blog could enjoy a sizable SEO boost with a few very basic fixes, he said, “Oh, my brother handles my site, it’s fine.”
What John didn’t realize was that leaving his blog in the hands of an amateur meant that his blog was actually working against him, preventing potential clients from finding his posts. He was publishing great writing that he worked hard on – but a site lacking the most basic SEO settings was leaving his content buried in search results.
REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE #2
Sonja owned her own boutique real estate agency. She set up her own website that included a contact form for each agent as well as a registration form for a party she was planning. Unfortunately, her registration form was a user experience quagmire that required guests to follow a labyrinth of links that left most users lost and confused. Not only were people unable to register, but they were leaving the site feeling frustrated with Sonja’s agency.
By the time Sonja contacted me, her event was less than a week away and she had a website that needed to be scrapped and begun from scratch. Now she not only needed a website, but she was exasperated and behind schedule. The new site that my developer and I built for her included a streamlined user experience and an event registration form that guided the user down a clear and simple path.
An investment in your online presence literally pays off. By providing a compelling design, great user experience, and optimal SEO, you are enhancing the user’s ability to find your site and complete a desired action – whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a mailing event, or contacting your sales team.
If you’re in need of professional web design services, drop me a line today. My team and I will build your website once, and build it right.