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DIY or Professional Website?

Editors Note: Expert content needs an expert content writer and Yorkshire Powerhouse is pleased to publish this business advice article on Website Strategy and Internet Marketing, kindly written by a real expert in his field – Sam Hollis from Sam Hollis Web Design – Risk Free, Pay-as-you-go websites.

Please consider contacting Sam with any website design and build projects you may have in mind – just click on the advert links above or below – and please mention Yorkshire Powerhouse if you do make contact.

You can’t watch a video on YouTube without seeing other adverts for various suppliers of DIY websites (such as Wix, SquareSpace, 123-Reg, MailChimp and many more) and they make it look so easy. So, is building a website yourself a good idea? Let’s look at the different things you need to think about when making that decision.

Time

As with all business services like building a website, bookkeeping and accounting, IT and security, etc. time and money are usually the main deciding factors.

To setup a website takes up your time. How much time do you have to do this? What else could you be doing that would be a more valuable use of your time? How long will it take you to do this compared to a professional?

Content & Design

Read our article about creating your own content here.

Remember that creating your own content is hard work! Looking at your businesses from the perspective of a clients point of view when you are ‘in’ the business is difficult.

Website design is an art form in itself. I’ve seen many self-build websites over the years that people have asked me to help with. Very few are ‘well designed’ graphically. Websites need a good visual design, but also a design to engage visitors and draw them to take action, such as to call you or get the free download – also see our article on ‘lead magnet websites‘.

Thinking about a website strategy for your business?

Download our marketing plan template

business-plan-book

Effectiveness

How well would a website you design and build be at converting visitors into leads? Compare this with a professionally built site. It is likely that the conversion rate would be less.

Remember that many new businesses build their own websites to ‘save money’. But new businesses are the ones who need new clients and don’t get that many visitors, so they actually need as good a conversion rate as possible. If your website is not effectively converting visitors into leads what is it doing for you?

This issue can be multiplied up if you work on Social Media. If you spend time and effort on your social media presence you will be driving traffic to your website. If that website is not doing its job, then you will be wasting much of the time you are spending on social media work.

Platform and functionality

There are a wide range of self-build platforms out there to choose from.  In my view Wix is probably the best of the bunch. I would not recommend building a WordPress site yourself. (unless you use the fully hosted version at WordPress.com). It might seem straight forward to build. But unlike Wix and Squarespace the security, backups and maintenance are not done for you. Most WordPress sites I see, that business owners look after themselves, are full of serious security holes and are never backed up. That’s a dangerous combination.

Remember when choosing a platform that you are locked to that platform. If they raise their prices, you need to pay up or you lose your website.

There are also functionality limits on the self build platforms. If you decide to add a new service to your website it may not be possible, and then you need to start again with a new site.

WordPress is a flexible platform. It is extendable in an almost limitless way. It’s a free platform. Hosting does have to be paid for, but you can pick and choose between providers. But, it’s a more complex system and I wouldn’t recommend using WordPress unless you know what you are doing.

Cost

The clear advantage of a self build website is cost. All it will cost you is your time. You still have to pay for website hosting and for self build sites this can be quite expensive. Don’t use their free offers. They do not give you the quality of site you need. Watch out for being tied into their hosting for long periods of time.

If you go for a professional website there are two basic ways to pay for your website

  • Pay as you Go:
    With this approach, you pay for your website on a monthly basis. Some designers have minimum terms or lock-in contracts and others do not, so check the terms and conditions carefully.
  • Pay up front:
    This is the traditional approach to buying a website. You pay a deposit to start the website build work and a balance when the work has been completed. There is always an annual or monthly fee to pay for the hosting to go with this as well.

Summary

Building an effective website with good content is hard and few people can do it well. But if the money isn’t there in your business a self build can be a good way to get you started. Take as much advice as you can about planning the site, and look to move to a professionally built site as your budget allows. For most businesses, a professionally built website is the best way to go. It will mean a good looking effective website that clearly explains what you are offering to your leads.

If you are unsure or if you can’t do all of the above, talk to an expert who will be able to evaluate the needs of your business to offer advice and guidance on the next steps.  Ask for recommendations and seek testimonials before committing to a professional designer.

Professional website thinking from Yorkshire Powerhouse

You’ve read our thoughts on a Professional Website – have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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