Pitfalls of DIY (do it yourself) websites
Many people think that they can do their websites. There are many areas where DIY sites may hurt more than help your business.
Here are five of the top mistakes that are often made when people do their own websites.
1. Feeling you “Have” to use WordPress or even a CMS at all
The most commonly used content management system (CMS) is WordPress. It’s also the CMS that has the most hacking attempts made on it.
Many people think that everything used to create a WordPress site is free. And it used to be – but recently more and more themes (look of the site) and plugins (little programs that perform specific functions on the site) now cost money – often in the form of yearly subscriptions. They may do almost what you want but not exactly. There are many free versions, but their functionality is limited and encouragement to buy or subscribe is high.
Is it cost-effective for you?
Consider if a CMS something you even want? Do you want to spend time creating and updating your site or would you rather have a professional help you manage your site while doing what you do well which earns more money?
2. Choosing Templates/Themes based on looks or cost
Templates or themes look wonderful on the demo. However customizing the designs often requires more skill than the average person possesses.
These packages are also often heavily coded which makes them bulky and slow to load. This can impact your site’s SEO (search engine optimization).
3. Poor organization of the site
Is your information presented in an organized way or is everything on one page? Consider a retail store. If you walked into one and everything was in a big pile, would you spend time sifting through the stuff to find what you wanted? Of course not, you’d probably go to the store down the street that has everything organized into departments.
It’s a much better plan your site in a structured way to make it easy to navigate.
4. Forgetting about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
“Build it, and they will come” worked in a movie. But unless people know the address of your website, poor SEO will make your site difficult to find.
For example, if you own a restaurant, is your menu in text or is it a scan of your menu. Search engines can’t “read” an image. In this case, a picture does not tell a thousand words.
5. Forgetting how people are looking at your site
Your website is a brochure but it shouldn’t be laid out like a paper brochure. A website that looks great on a large computer monitor, may be impossible to read on a tablet or smartphone. A large percentage of people are viewing websites on small devices now, and this number is increasing daily.
Are you feeling out of your depth?
At Silver Maple Web we can help with the feeling of being overwhelmed you may have in this area.
For example, if you know that you are probably never going to have the time to update your website yourself, maybe a CMS isn’t what you need. For example, you may only want to update your blog regularly (and you should). We can design a site for you that looks amazing with blog capabilities that may be less appealing to hackers.
If a client wants to have their site done in WordPress, we are happy to do it, but we will also provide other options.
We write code – we don’t just take a theme or template and tweak the colours and fonts.
A properly coded site is “lighter” and loads faster. For example, a plugin that has several hundred lines of code could be accomplished with a fraction of that when coded by an experienced programmer.
We ensure that your site is set up in a search-engine friendly way. If you want to manage your site’s content, we will coach you on what and what not to do.
We know that people are looking at your site on multiple types of devices, so we develop your site with that in mind.
The Story of Mary – a case study
If you are feeling out of your depth, you don’t have to be alone. Consider the story of one of our clients, a graphic designer, let’s call her “Mary”.
Mary is an amazing graphic designer, and she does excellent work for her clients. We met Mary at a WordPress meetup in Toronto. She was trying to learn how to code her website. Her husband found her in tears over her computer one night. She was having a hard time doing the coding. He suggested she invest in someone who knew how to do that work and she called Silver Maple Web. We worked together to get her website together, and it was the start of a terrific business relationship. We have worked together on many projects since then.
Like Mary, you are probably an expert in what you do. But web development may not be one of those things. You are okay with a hammer and nail when you want to hang a picture on the wall, but does that mean you have the skill to build a backyard deck?
The Bottom Line
If you are ready to have a website that doesn’t look like everyone else’s and have it done by a professional so you don’t find yourself sitting over your computer crying like Mary, give us a call at 519-439-5981 for a free consultation.
While we’re building your website, you can be off doing what you do a great job at and increasing your company’s bottom line.
And if you are doing your own website and get in over your head or hit a roadblock where you need help, we’re here for you. We often help people who have found that they reach a certain point with their website and can’t go further.