Working for a digital marketing agency means we silently cringe each time we see an advertisement for “build your own website” or the “$1.00 website” deals. Oh, how the smiling paid actors and quick screen video clips make it look so easy to create your own business website in minutes without having any knowledge of development. Well, for those who know the hundreds of necessary parts to design, develop, and implement an effective website the right way, this equates to a Do-It-Yourself Home Construction Kit. Build your own home, even though you know nothing about construction. What could possibly go wrong?!
A DIY website, much like a DIY house, may actually end up appearing livable from the outside, but chances are that it will not serve its purpose very well. It may just come crashing down around you, hurting you and your business.
Over the years, we have had numerous business owners reach out to us, frustrated and desperate, after trying these template-based website builder CMS systems. They’ve run the gamut and found out reality didn’t match what was advertised and the limitations of their website template were simply too restricting. Most any business, big or small, needs customized elements as part of their digital presence, period. Why would you want a website (that may well be the first and only representation customers see before deciding whether or not to give you their business) to look like tens, maybe hundreds, of other companies’ sites? Shouldn’t it be your brand, not “template #24 in Jungle Green, along with <insert your logo here>?” Sure it may cost you only $1.00, or be unbelievably low-risk, but how much will the limitations really cost you in time, frustration, and lost customers during the most important growth opportunity you may have? What about organic SEO? What about an effective site map, validating code, load times, or duplicate content that can actually hurt your rankings with search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing?
Effective marketing is often about standing out and offering something unique in your industry. Your brand is the first glimpse consumers get of what you offer. Your website stands as one of the most important ‘houses’ your marketing efforts. Trust us when we say that it’s worth the investment to hire professionals to ‘build your house’ the right way…starting with a strong foundation all the way up. Who knows, building your first ‘house’ the right way could turn into more ‘houses,’ followed by villages, worlds, and even realms. What if Steve Jobs or Bill Gates were adamant about building their own branding and website only to have it crashing down right in the throws of their growth costing them millions?
Ok, so maybe you’re not building Apple or Google (yet), but by leveraging knowledge from the mistakes of others, who says you can’t build your own realm and rule in several kingdoms at once! Any big company started small and the fact is that the less mistakes you make the faster you’ll grow. So for the sake of your realm, when it comes to web design, don’t DIY… or you and your customers may be AWOL.
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Photo Credit: The Iron Throne. Courtesy of South By Southwest Festival