If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have a lot of spare cash. Then one day you see an advert for GoDaddy. You can create your own website from a simple template and it costs just a few pounds per month. The answer seems so obvious!
Except it’s not really like that.
If you’ve ever been tempted with a DIY website builder like GoDaddy, Wix or Squarespace, make sure you understand the full implications first. What you might gain in ease, you’ll be losing vastly elsewhere. And it could be very costly indeed.
Here are our top 10 reasons why DIY websites are a false economy.
To make it very easy, these website builders use templates. There are lots of templates to choose from, and they are often segmented by business type. The problem is every other accountant or business coach or freelancer is searching for the same thing, so you end up with a website that looks like everyone else’s. Your site simply won’t stand out from the competition.
In addition to that, as it’s a template it will probably have a fixed, inflexible layout. What if there are four feature boxes, but you only have three features? You could make things up to ensure they fit, which isn’t very good. Or, worse still, we have seen boxes that have been left with default information, such as “Put details of your service in here” text. That happens far too often. Your website should work around you, not the other way around.
2. Customer Experience
Even if you are quite adept with a drag and drop feature and your website looks really nice, it still won’t have been built by someone who understands the customer experience. There is a reason why businesses outsource tasks to specialists – they know all of the best practices, tweaks and wrinkles that make all the difference. For example, do you know how people read websites, do you know how to optimise navigation, do you know how to maximise the customer journey? There is far more to a website than most people realise.
3. Hidden Costs
The word “free” is often used in the promotion of DIY websites. But this is usually only for very basic features. As soon as you want to add that blog or another slightly sexy looking feature, you’ll need to start paying. Every month. Forever. Using your own domain often costs extra and adding Google Analytics often costs extra. You’ll have spent hundreds before you even know it.
Many free sites will put their own branding and advertising on your website, or at the very least say something like “Proudly built with Wix/GoDaddy” in the footer. This screams “I got a cheap website” which reduces your credibility.
5. Future Proof
If you’re creating a website, you’re probably trying in some way to grow your business. That’s really positive. However, as your business grows, you’ll inevitably want changes and more development. You will undoubtedly need a more powerful website. At this point you will probably have to start again from scratch. And even if you don’t, you’ll have to fork out for those extra features. Every month. Forever.
If you’re running a small business, time is probably something you don’t have a lot of. The adverts may make it look like your website will be ready in half an hour, but it really won’t be. It will take you far longer to build than you ever imagined. Whichever way you look at it, time is money. For every minute you spend faffing around with a website, you could be using that time more productively on your business. Making money for your business.
7. It’s Not Yours
When you build something with a DIY supplier, you won’t end up owning it. You simply won’t own your own website. That means you can’t take the design and get it rebuilt on WordPress or similar. If you want to progress, you’ll have no choice but to start again. Furthermore, be careful with the small print. Be aware that some companies’ T&Cs specify that they can use your site and any information on it for their own purposes in any way they want.
8. Lack of SEO
Many of the DIY sites build your website using code which does not perform well for search engine optimisation (SEO). That means although your website will appear on Google, it may never rank highly, just because of the platform it’s built upon.
9. Mobile Issues
Some sites also have separate mobile sites. Not only again is this bad for Google, but it means you’ll have to do double the work getting your site set up for mobile devices. It won’t just be an automatic thing.
10. Your Brand
Very often we find that people who are opting for a free website haven’t paid for a proper logo and don’t have a proper brand. If this is the case, you’ll probably end up taking the template’s colour scheme and adding your favourite colour into it. That’s not branding. Any good website designer will also be able to help with branding, or at least provide good advice. Using a third party can offer so much more than just basic design. Professionally created websites don’t have to be costly. Our LiteSpeed package proves that. And to get a professional design that has considered the customer experience as well is worth its weight in gold. It could be the difference between a thriving company and one that ticks by. Think about what you want to achieve, and make sure your website can really support that. Otherwise it’s such a waste.