When it comes to designing your new website, especially if it’s your first venture into the world wide web, the DIY approach to web design can seem quite appealing. There are literally dozens of self-build web design services out there that seem to offer a cheap, quick fix for getting your business online. However, you should be aware that things aren’t always as straight-forward as they might seem.
Originality killed the cat?
Once you start looking into them, you’ll notice that many of these packages are template based, which isn’t a necessarily a crime, but some of them are so hideously ugly you wouldn’t want to touch them with a barge pole. Even the templates that look okay tend to be really widely used and, let’s face it, you wouldn’t want a site that’s practically the same as your competitors would you?
Make do for now?
You might be thinking “I’m just a small local business, I need a site really quickly and cheaply, why not just use one anyway?” Well, I’m sure you’ve heard it said that first impressions are everything, right? You may think no one will ever know the difference but most people can spot a DIY job a mile off and trust is a big thing, especially in the online world. Would you risk making a purchase on a website if it looked like some sort DIY effort, haphazardly cobbled together?
Life in the slow lane
In the mobile age, slow-loading DIY sites, that eat through data plans and don’t display will alienate a huge portion of your potential visitors. Even on desktop computers, where users can actually see your site, if the site is data heavy, who’s going to wait around for the 10-15 seconds it takes for your site to eventually load? Would you?
A lot of the popular website builders are built upon Flash technology. Just five years ago lots of big players such as YouTube relied upon flash for their video content, but these days it’s becoming less and less common. Security and accessibility issues are the main reason for the platform falling out of favour. However, the things that are most damaging to you as a small business owner are the fact that Flash hurts search engine visibility and doesn’t work on Apple products or most mobiles. In 2016 these are simply unforgivable issue! No matter what these companies tell you, Flash web designs are not search engine friendly. Even the ‘Big G’ advises against it.
Help me if you can
If you plump for one of the free options, what happens if you get stuck? If you happen to have any questions, who’s there to help you out? Some services providers have no support at all while others charge you if you want to speak to someone. Would you be happy if your insurance provider demanded cash every time you wanted to call them and ask a question?
Ads. Ads. Ads
As if that wasn’t bad enough, if you go for a free builder you can pretty much bet on the fact you’ll end up with a big banner saying something along the lines of “THIS WEBSITE WAS DESIGNED USING XYZ START BUILDING YOUR OWN FREE WEBSITE TODAY!” in the footer of your website. That doesn’t exactly scream “slick and professional” now does it?
Some of the premium web design packages require an ongoing subscription . You could be paying anything up to £30 per month and the costs never end, as soon as you stop paying you lose your site. Also, watch out for seemingly free offers that run out after a limited period of time because if you don’t continue with the monthly subscription the site will be gone. If you used a professional web designer your new site could pay for itself in a year or two and there would be no cycle of ongoing monthly payments for you to worry about.
Beware of messy break ups
What if you want to leave? Some of these sneaky companies register domain names in their own name rather than those of their customers. So, with the domain registration tied up with your site builder your choice is to either stick around or start from scratch with a new web address – a costly option if you have stationary or other promotional materials that feature your website address.
Real life web designers will actually care about your project, your business and your success. The online builders know there’ll always be a steady stream of ‘victims’ who don’t know better, so they have no reason to care about you. Speak to Freshly Squeezed Design on 0800 002 9267 and let’s talk about how we can make the web work for you.