I get it. You want to save money.
And I don’t blame you. Getting a new website is expensive.
After all, you might be pretty IT savvy. How hard can it possibly be?
I just want to make one thing clear.
Creating a good website is NOT about technical skills.
It’s about much more.
There are many experienced IT companies out there that have terrible websites. IT skills alone won’t deliver a profitable website.
So if you’re thinking about creating your own website, please take a few minutes to read this post. It could be the most important article you’ll read all year.
Drag and drop web design
For those who have limited technical skills, it may be tempting to design your website using drag-and-drop software via companies like WIX, Weebly or Squarespace.
These companies would have you believe that you can knock up a quick website within a day, sit back and let the money roll in.
It might seem easy enough to get started but you’ll quickly realise that there is a LOT more to it. Especially if you want to add or change anything which is outside of their restrictive templates.
Even if you do spend a few weeks or months getting it to look exactly as you want, chances are the final design is not what you’d get from an experienced web designer.
This is why I wrote this article. I wanted you to be fully aware of the complications before you waste time and money trying to build your own website.
Here are the 7 main reasons why you should avoid building your own website without any help and support.
1. Design limitations
Design is not something you can simply pick up in an afternoon. You can’t learn how to design a website without years of experience.
- It’s about how it looks
- It’s about how it makes people feel
- It’s about how it makes people act
- It’s about user experience
- It’s about the character of your business
- It’s about your message to the world
Above all else, website design is about building TRUST.
Without a solid understanding of design, you’ll almost certainly get it wrong. Your competitors on the other hand, might choose to hire a professional web designer and avoid any mistakes.
If you feel like your design skills are limited, then it’s best to stick within the confines of a theme or template. Most people go ahead and try to change a lot about the theme, but this is where you can look amateur.
And if you can, get feedback on your website from a professional website designer, even if that means paying for something like a website critique.
And if all that scares you, then hire somebody to help. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and get something that looks professional.
2. Lack of SEO knowledge
SEO or search engine optimisation is an ever-changing landscape. Search engines change their rules all the time and what worked last month might not work this month.
I’ve been helping clients with SEO for years and I’m still constantly listening, watching and testing to see what’s changed with Google and the other search engines.
I need to have my ear to the ground to be able to keep up to date and build search engine friendly websites. Not only that, if you build your own website, you’re going to have to have an understanding of:
- 301 redirects
- 404 error pages
- Schema markup
- DA and PA
- Anchor Text
If you don’t feel comfortable with SEO, you could be making some critical mistakes with your website. Mistakes that could cost you 100’s or 1000’s of monthly visitors to your website. We at least recommend you get to know the basics of SEO if you’re designing your own website, such as investing in our SEO Starter Pack.
3. You are NOT your customer
Nobody knows your customers better than you. You live and breathe your business every day and it’s fair to say you know your stuff. We like to think we’re exactly the same.
However, when you’re so involved with running the business, it’s sometimes difficult to see things from your customers’ perspective. It’s difficult to imagine what it might look like seeing your website for the first time by a prospect. This is known as “the curse of knowledge”.
That’s where we can help. We run a membership community where we help and support people building their own websites (and our own plugin page templates to help!) We give regular feedback to our members on their websites. Here are just a few of the common errors we see on websites, just within the first third of your homepage!
- No prominent contact details
- No clear call to action
- No statement explaining succinctly what it is you do
4. You might need help along the way
Like anything technical, building a website is not easy and there will be hurdles along the way. You might be able to pull something basic together with some tutorials and the odd YouTube video, but what happens if something goes wrong?
How will you be able to fix it?
You could try to figure it out yourself by digging through lots of forums and using trial and error, but this could take days. You could hire a techie and pay for a 1hr consultation but this can cost hundreds of pounds.
It’s worth either using a web designer or joining our membership where you get help and support along the way.
We’ve spent years educating ourselves on the technicalities of designing websites and have come across plenty of problems and solutions over that time.
There’s no need for you to do the same.
5. You won’t have the right tools for the job
Designing websites is a specialist skill. Like any creative skill, it requires a number of tools to ensure the job is done correctly.
Here is a list of tools we use to build highly successful websites;
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Premium Plugins
- Technical Audit Tools
- Rank Tracking Software
- Competitor analysis software
- Email Marketing tools
- Landing page software
- Cross Browser Software
Most of these tools are expensive but they are necessary. Especially if I want to create high impact websites for my clients that perform well in search engines.
If you don’t have these tools and/or know how to use them, then you might not get the result you’re hoping for.
It took me a good few years to learn how to use these tools and even longer to use them effectively.
Hiring a web designer or joining our membership will help. A web designer will already have such tools and in our membership, we give you access to tools and templates which make your life so much easier.
6. It will take you much longer than it needs to
Learning to build a website from scratch can take a long time, especially if you aren’t very technical. Even if you’re using drag and drop tools you may need to do a lot of tweaking to get it right. Not to mention all the image editing and resizing to make it look good and load quickly.
As you know, time IS money and whilst you’re learning how to build a website, you’re not managing or marketing the business.
In our membership, it takes our members around 2-3 weeks to build their website and that is because they have our support. A web designer will probably take longer but your time isn’t taken up with building the site yourself.
7. Your competitors
Even if you do have the time to create your own website, chances are your competitors’ websites will look superior. I’m not trying to be mean, but if they have paid for a professional website to be designed and you haven’t, the likelihood is that theirs will work better.
Many businesses understand the importance of quality, which is why they choose to pay a web design company instead of doing it themselves.
If you are trying to stand out then you’ll want a high-quality website then looks better than your competition.
When you should build your website yourself?
Now it’s not all doom and gloom. Not every business owner should go to a website design agency or freelancer to build their website. Some can and should build it themselves. These are business owners who are just starting out, or who aren’t clear on their audience, products or services just yet.
Also, remember, it doesn’t have to cost thousands for a new website. You can get a website at £1000 or even £500.
For those who are wanting to learn and don’t want to spend thousands on a website, our membership is a great option.
And for those who do have the funds, we recommend using a good web designer to help you.
My biggest frustration
This may appear like a shamelessly unbiased blog post. And it is! But the reason I’m writing it is that I’ve had client after client tell me their frustrations when trying to build their own website completely on their own with zero support.
Believe me, at some point you’re going to have to pay a professional (even if it’s just a small amount) if you want your website to be a success and not a time-suck!
Over to you?
Remember, the next step once your website is live (whether you build it yourself or get someone else to do it) is to drive traffic to that website! And you can do this through something like our SEO content writing service.
Web designer & marketer for small businesses. Martin is an experienced search engine and web design specialist, with over a decade of experience working with large corporations to small businesses.
Jeff - Advance Web Solutions says
Agree with this 100%. Many clients who come to me do so after having a bad experience with a template builder like GoDaddy, VistaPrint or Wix. You want the job done right the first time or it will cost you customers…