DIY Websites

To DIY Or Not To DIY?

While the idea of DIY-ing your website may seem cost-effective and empowering, there are a few key factors to consider before diving in. And in this article, we're not going to sugar coat them.

Risks Involved With DIY Websites

1. Lackluster or Unprofessional Appearance

Lack of necessary design skills can really cost you. You know that businesses are judged by many things, and how you present yourself both in real life and online matters. And with limited web design skills, you're at the mercy of the templates available through your content management system (CMS), which can be restrictive in where you can place things, size things, and make your pages look. So you need to budget the time you'll have to invest to understand how to make them wrk for you.

2. Technical Challenges

Additionally, you may encounter technical challenges such as website crashes or slow loading speeds if you're not well-versed in web development. Make sure that you will be able to backup your website in the event of a mistake with whichever CMS you choose. 

3. Predatory Pricing 

If you want to track your website using tools like Google Analytics or integrate your website with Google Ads, you might have to upgrade or pay extra monthly fees for capabilities like that too. If the CMS you choose doesn't restrict your ability to add codes for setting up tracking and other integrations, that would be ideal.  

4. Lack of Features and Capabilities

A lack of SEO features with an CMS is a big red flag in our opinion—the basics like page titles and description aren't enough to get a website ranking well and its domain authority strong. The constrained environment with a DIY CMS is also cause for concern because the idea of being fully in control of your website seems lost. Not just from a technological standpoint, but from actual ownership and freedom. What you've actually paid for with a cheap CMS is renting a generic web server and your content locked into a space you thought you could call home.

5. Headaches Down The Road

This point is a big one. Down the line, when your business outgrows the capabilities of the easy-to-use CMS—you’ll have to pay a lot of money to recreate your website and transfer the data over, because a lot of DIY website hosting platforms don't allow for website transfers, and make the process of website migration and data transfers cumbersome.

Our experience with the above comes from the businesses who have come to us after learning the above risks the hard way. We've also witnessed businesses that didn't go with us go the route of DIY and literally go out of business. Not having a website does not mean businesses will fail, but we have wondered how things could've gone another way for the businesses that opted to go the perceived easy route. Wishful thinking, but don't undervalue the power a well built website can wield.

Wix, Squarespace, Bakesy, Showit, Shopify, and all of the DIY-encouraging content management systems (CMS) want businesses to rely on them—they're cheaper than hiring one of us web developers, right? But they don't give the entire recipe for creating and sustaining a powerful website. They know that business owners don't have the time to master websites, and usually go on auto-pilot about their websites. So make it all look easy. But what is a business giving up?

The Right Way To Go About DIY Websites

If you're a business that wants to go the DIY route and make sure you properly create and manage a website, we can't stress enough how important it is to go with a reputable hosting provider that uses standards-compliant coding language and technologies like the ones we use: Joomla and Wordpress. And take courses in web design and development at a local in-person school, where you can get optimal support and mentoring. Or you can professionals like us.

"How can I weigh the risks and benefits to make an informed decision about whether to DIY my website or hire it out?

Ask yourself how much time and effort is required to maintain and update a DIY website and if it's worth the risk to DIY your website over hiring out. Taking on a website on your own means configuring your DNS records, setting up SSL certificates to serve your site over https, and all of the things you need for a good foundation to bloom your website. The fun stuff like creating content can also be time consuming. But anything is doable, you just need to plan things out a little more if you're willing. 

Ultimately, choose the option that aligns best with your goals and resources. But if you lack experience, you may end up with a poorly designed and ineffective website and headaches (both financial and otherwise) later on.

Hiring a professional can ensure a high-quality website, and when you go with a trustworthy team like Geoffresh, you are gaining a valuable partner that will take your businesses farther and look out for your best interests. Also, hiring a professional isn't necessarily expensive when you think about the time and money you're being saved.

Trust your gut ultimately because you know you best.