Is building your own website worth your money, time and effort?

What is a DIY Website?

When it comes to making a new startup successful, most entrepreneurs would rather stay focused on perfecting their products and services. But we all understand how crucial a good website is for gaining traction in the marketplace. Instead of learning to code or hiring a professional, many managers are opting for a ‘do it yourself’ solution to put their business online.

There are no shortage of tools available for non-developers who wish to build their own website. Popular web builders such as Wix or Squarespace provide a design interface that offers users the ability to place content onto web pages with no prior experience. Unfortunately, DIY solutions still suffer from built-in issues and glitches that can be incredibly frustrating for newbs or portentially even detrimental to the business as a whole.

Read on to get a detailed look at all the things you’ll want to consider before you become your own designer, developer, writer and SEO expert.

Making A Website Is Easy. Building An Effective One Is Hard.

Scope of Work

Putting a nice website together seems fun and easy on the surface. Most people who endeavor to build a business website without prior experience tend to underestimate the scope of work involved. User experience mapping and project scoping only capture a small portion of the possibilities you’ll want your visitors to experience. During the process of development, new possibilites present themselves, and what began with a basic idea expands in complexity along the way.

Design Mojo is regularly inquired by people who gave the DIY option an honest attempt but ultimately decided to throw in the towel after discovering the full scope of work involved.

Search Engine Optimization

If your website is among the 90% that aren’t properly optimized for search engines, your business will be almost invisible to the vast majority of people hoping to find your goods and services. Over 86% of all online searches take place on Google, and their algorithm utilizes over 200 factors to determin which results appear at the top of listings. Simply put, the search engine marketplace is very competitive, and effective SEO requires a higher skill ceiling than ever.

Google and other players have spent decades tweaking their algorithms in order to ensure their customers get the most accurate and relevant search results. No longer will stuffing a website full of popular keywords be enough to climb the list. Now internet traffic is directed towards companies who provide concrete, verifiable credentials. To make this so, search engine companies have generated a wide range of professional tools that allow experienced developers to set up communication between the backend of their website and a multitude of search engine tools, such as analytics.

Other important factors can make a website practically unsearchable if certain criteria aren’t met. For example, Google’s web crawlers know your website isn’t viewable on mobile devices if the backend code doesn’t contain the correct markdown. According to Google, slow loading speed is another major dealbreaker. Optimizing for fast loading speed often requires images and other forms of media to strike a fine balance between quality and file size. In either case, technical skills and experience play a huge role in whether or not your website can be found via search.

Responsiveness Optimization (For Any Device)

As touched-upon previously, search engines crawl through the back end of websites to scan the code that they’re comprised of. When a site doesn’t contain the necessary syntax for accessibility on mobile devices, don’t expect Google to any direct organic searches to it. This makes a lot of sense when you consider how the world’s largest search engine is also a titan in the industries of mobile phones and software.

Appearance

It’s no secret that looking good is good for business. As the old saying goes, “It’s the first impression that lasts.” Data suggests that people are so overwhelmed with information that we tend to rely on our most basic (and sometimes shallow) filtering mechanisms to decide which companies to do business with – and we do so at a glance! A long list of studies have demonstrated that it takes only about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds!) for people to form an opinion about a website. In the online world of business, people may not be driving past websites, but they’ll certainly be browsing for goods and services via online searches.

One of the biggest drawbacks to DIY websites are the web building tools themselves. Not only do they still require a learning curve, they only provide the most basic elements for desiging and placing content onto pages. To prevent non-developers from creating broken websites, users are limited to a small range of cookie-cutter templates and a limited set of functions for user interaction. So it’s nearly impossible to make a unique website without code injection, which requires developer experience. Outside of basic images and logos, the vast majority of DIY websites created by look indistinguishable.

So, what kind of impression does your online storefront give to passersby? Does your website display the most relevant information in a way that inspires buyer confidence? Without a carefully tailored appearance, viewers are likely to assume your business is slow, outdated or unreliable.

Accessibility

In the past couple of years U.S. businesses have been inundated with lawsuits for having websites that are noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards. The problem is continuing to get worse as various state courts have made defense cases nearly impossible, most resulting in litigation fees, fines and large settlements.

As of right now, DIY web builders offer their users no guidance when it comes to ADA compliance. Non-developers without detailed knowledge of compliance criteria risk big-time fines and payouts for something as simple as fonts sizes that are too small. Our own company was recently approached by a customer whose business was fined over $15,000 for falling below the requirements.

Written Content

Displaying what your business does would seem pretty straight-forward. But writing verbiage for a website is one of the most important, yet difficult parts of the process, as the content must meet the following criteria:

  • It has to be succinct
  • It has to be engaging
  • It has to be strategically worded to rank highly in online searches
  • All verbiage must be worded to fit within a cohesive and accessible design
  • Code language on the backend must be configured to communicate the cornerstone info to search engines

Helpful Statistics

Are you trying to decide whether or not to create a DIY website? The following statistics might help point you in the right direction:

  • 92% of DIY website project attempts get never launch
  • Over 90% of pages that get no organic search traffic from Google. (Ahrefs)
  • 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile
  • Smartphones amount to more than half of all internet traffic and over 64% of all online retail purchases
  • 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive
  • 85% of visitors say they’ll leave a website if it takes more than 5 seconds to load.
  • It takes only about 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds)
  • 53% of all trackable website traffic that comes from organic search.

Need a hand putting your business up on the web? Contact us for fair pricing and reliable service.

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