Behind The Smoke Screen of Squarespace and The Pitfalls of DIY Website Development
Provided by Design The Planet
Thanks to YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest and others, everyone is into DIY (Do-It-Yourself) these days. DIY is great for making hand-crafted candles or a holiday wreath, but we wouldn’t recommend it for a website that is supposed to represent your brand on the World Wide Web.
We’ve all heard the adage, “The lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” and while they’re often told to, no physician really “heals thyself.” Having access to Web MD doesn’t equal years of medical school and experience any more than DYI website options like Squarespace, Weebly and Wix make you qualified to design/build your own website.
Many business owners are enticed by the seemingly cost-efficient and convenient templates, or the annual one-time service fees that Squarespace or Wix offers. They are convinced their internal marketers or maybe even their administrative assistants have the time and ability to knock one of these out for them. But do know, most successfully operating businesses need more than what the basic DIY templates offer, and you usually get what you pay for. Everyone wants to save money, but the issue is most people aren’t accomplishing that goal in the end. Internal marketers who start with the basic DIY package often discover they will have to pay more to get the platform’s designers involved at some point, and the results are generally lower quality than if they contracted a professional design team. The truth is, what seems like a money-saving tool often costs a company more money than expected and wastes a bunch of time.
Do-It-Yourself websites are okay options for hobbyists getting started or small micro-startups who can’t hire a professional web design team, but you should know the initial “savings” you receive by using these DIY services are a way of attracting you to their platform. The unrealized, hidden costs of these services quickly add up to similar price tags charged by agencies and design firms, but with one glaring difference: you’re stuck doing all the work! But that’s not the only pitfall to consider before jumping on the DIY bandwagon. Before you consider planning, designing and building your own website, you should know it will require an immense amount of time to get it done correctly.
Even a simple DIY site will take 23-30 hours to get up and running – really running – unless you have worked within a CMS before. Thirty hours at $125 per hour amounts to $3,750. DIY website services argue it will only take a couple of hours to set up a professional looking site, but users disagree, and the evidence is all over the web in the form of blogs and reviews. Additionally, if you need a more complex website with components like e-commerce, modern design features like parallax dynamics, or carefully designed UI/UX, the hours invested are more like 58-80 or approximately $10,000. Even if you have the time to invest in your site, you may want to consider all the skillsets that go into professional website construction:
- What level of expertise do you have planning website navigation, visitor flow, and structure? Can you make sure visitors don’t get frustrated or lost?
- Can you develop navigation and content to convert visitors and generate sales?
- What training do you have in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? If your site isn’t cataloged properly with Google and Bing and users can’t find you, then what’s the website for anyway?
- Are you an experienced writer? While you may have a vast amount of knowledge about your industry and your brand, you will also need writing skills specific to website design. Content is king for search, and using the right words, grammar and sentence structure to make search engines happy is different than writing a blog, whitepaper or a proposal.
- How are you at selecting, editing and placing images? Do you know image-usage laws? What about load time management and descriptions? These are very important controls.
- If you run into a problem while working in the CMS template, how much time do you have to spend troubleshooting or on the phone with tech support? How much will that “support” cost you in addition to your time?
- After the website is launched, do you know how to look at and translate website analytics to see what’s working for you and where you need to make improvements?
- What about the task of relentlessly adding/changing content to maintain your hard-earned SEO rankings? Do you know if there are other site maintenance issues that will come up weeks or months after you launch your DIY site? Who’s watching for those?
The point is, many people are attracted to the idea of a DIY website but have no idea the amount of time and expertise required to do it correctly. For a well-branded, search-engine-optimized, sales-generating website that gets you the online visibility you want and need, consider hiring a professional website design and development team before you try to DIY.