A few years ago, we would have scoffed at writing a list of “pro’s” associated with DIY web builders, but with the advancements in online tools such as Squarespace and Wix, we’re happily eating our words. The rise of these web builders has eased the pressure off the techies by empowering the Average Joe to create basic websites that serve a purpose – personally or professionally.
Don’t get us wrong, we are still bias towards the benefits of a customised website built by the best in the business (ahem), but there’s a market for fast, simple sites, and they absolutely serve a purpose.
To help you decipher whether you’re on the right path to go it alone, or you should be phoning us ASAP, here is a bit of a brain dump of when a web builder will fit the job, and when it won’t.
Here we go…
Times when DIY sites are a great idea
You have a very small budget
If you don’t mind a generic template that has been used by thousands of others before you, then go for it. It’s that simple.
Often those testing the waters or starting up a small business will be so limited by budget that this is the only option. And in these times, these templates are fantastic. In fact, without them, many brilliant businesses may never have been started.
While some businesses will outgrow a template site, many don’t require anything more than a digital space to call home. Many non digital-based businesses simply require a website that features their contact details, a list of services, and an About Us section.
It’s possible to stay within the parameters of a DIY website for many small businesses, for example, tradesmen and hair/beauty services. It’s those which require more functionality as their businesses become more online-reliant that the need for personalisation and added functions occurs.
You need a landing page
If you require a digital space for an event, a landing page is ideal. You can whip one of these up in a matter of steps. Pick a background image, add some copy about the event, and ask your visitors to sign-up for updates. Ta-dah! There you have it. A catchment for data, and a web address to pop on all of your marketing promo materials.
Another instance where you may require a landing page, is if you have a website in the making, and you want to lock in your web address. If you need a link for your social pages and marketing materials, you can create a basic landing page that simply states “coming soon…”, plus your contact details.
It’s a personal blog
If you’re not a techy but have time to write and a bit of time to tinker, a blog is a great way to express yourself and share your thoughts with others.
There’s no CSS or HTML in sight here, which suits most people well. There is however, a range of options for you to select, edit and play about with. The creative process is super easy thanks to drag and drop options featured by web builders like Wix.
When they’re NOT
You’re an online store
Why? There are limitations in functionality.
Bottom line is that you’re going to want some customisation support at some stage. DIY web builders such as Big Cartel and Shopify are great for small online shops, however, they are limited. Their limitations include minimal customisation, which can be frustrating for any online realtor. Their themes are also easily recognised which may appear amateur to your competitors, or those “in the know”.
Some plans will also restrict how many items you display at one time, meaning you’re up for a bigger monthly spend if you want to showcase a fuller range. There may also be a limit on how many images you display per item.
The checking out system is where many users feel the frustration the most. If you want to notify your customers at various stages of the order received, packaging and transit process, you may not have all the options you’re looking for. Suss it out before you sign-up or come straight to a developer (like us!) if you’ve decided that the DIY route isn’t for you.
You want to stand out
As we mentioned above, there are limitations in customisation.
If this is the sole digital element of your business, make sure it’s “you”. A template just won’t do your unique business justice – especially if you’re a trailblazer in your industry. A professional Web Developer will create something bespoke just for you – no outdated features in sight.
When you discuss your ideas with a Web Developer, they will focus on how to bring your ideas to life in a way that satisfies your goals and provides an optimum user experience. Web Developers will get the results you’re looking for in terms of design, site mapping, unique pop-ups, and galleries, as well as customised check-out systems and everything that goes on in the background to help you rank well.
The best websites are those which are custom-made just for you. Your unique brand will excel in the hands of a (human) Web Developer, not a one-fits-all template.
“59% of consumers globally would rather engage with content that’s beautifully designed as opposed to simply designed —even when short on time. — Adobe
Your business has BIG scope
Big dreams deserve a big effort. So, if you really believe in your business and want to give it 100% gusto, a professional site will put you on the right path. Visitors who come to your site for the first time should be impressed, especially if you want them to keep coming back. Investing in a website is like investing in yourself. Show your potential customers that you mean “big business”, and that you care about their online experience with you.
If your business has longevity, so should your website.
You need support
DIY web builders are generally a solo mission. You start alone, finish alone. So, if you think you’ll need ongoing support (which most online businesses do, eventually), then this is not the option for you.
There are a few other things which you need to know before signing up as well; poor loading speed, minimal back-ups, and shared hosting are common features for DIY web builders.
But does something like “slow loading” really impact sales, you ask? According to these stats, the answer is yes:
“Just one second of added page load speed can see sales drop by 27%” — Soasta
“Pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds experienced a 12.8% bounce rate, while those that loaded in 3.3 seconds had a bounce rate of 20%. — Soasta
There’s also the issue that all web browsers render websites differently, which can lead to some inconsistencies in the design of your site when viewed on different platforms and devices. A Web Developer will know how to code accordingly and eliminate these issues.
A professionally developed website is often supported with an ongoing hosting and web maintenance plan. These generally start at $80 per month and include site updates (let the techies do this for you), daily off-site back-ups (hello security), several edits to your site per month (hello customisation), and someone to call if you have problems with hacking, missing emails, or any functional element of your site. It’s good to know you have a team on hand should you need any assistance.
If you’re ready to invest in your business and want to chat about your digital strategy, let’s talk!
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