There are a lot of ways to get your company’s website on the internet. Build it yourself sites are all over the place. Domain providers, accounting software companies, and digital printing firms to name a few, are all touting the ability to let you build your site along side their other services. On the surface, this seems like a great opportunity to get all your business services in one place. Who wouldn’t want to minimize the amount of people to call when your company needs something? The problem is that relying on a software company to build your website is kind of like buying a boat from a car salesman. Sure, he knows about vehicles, but he can’t tell you how well it floats because it’s just not his specialty.
It’s easy to see why business owners are easily lured into thinking these are the best methods for representing their company online. Benefits typically include:
- Inexpensive, usually involving a low monthly fee.
- Complete design control within the confines of the template.
- No programming skills needed.
- “Free” hosting or domain name with purchase.
- Extensive customer service professionals.
However, it’s important to look at the big picture when developing your online presence. You need to be thinking about more than just a website. While a website can act as an efficient billboard for your company, an online presence can drive customers and sales to your front door.
Probably the most important question to ask is: What do these free or cheap websites say to your customers?
Drawbacks of a Do-it-Yourself Website
People equate the quality of your site to the quality of your goods and services. One of the methods these types of companies use to offset the low cost of their all-in-one plans is to place an “ad” in the header or footer of your site. To me, nothing screams “amateur” like a website with a big banner advertisement for someone else. Unless you’re a blogger by trade and advertising is part of your source of income, no business should be advertising a non-industry related affiliate.
Let’s look at some ramifications of the DIY sites.
- You never own the site. Once you stop paying the monthly service charge, your site is lost. You’ll never have the ability to reuse the source code and repost the site on your future hosting plan.
- SEO constraints. Again, without knowing how to alter source code, it can be very difficult to effectively input the components for a successful optimization campaign.
- “Free” hosting isn’t free if you have a banner ad linking to your site provider. Generally speaking, giving visitors the opportunity to leave your site isn’t a good thing.
- Automated customer service waits. Your wait time is 25 minutes…
As you can see, there are many disadvantages to building your own website, and this is just the short list! As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Hire a Professional
The benefits of hiring a professional web developer for your online needs greatly outweigh the “cheaper” route. Not only is your level of quality higher, but the precision and future planning that goes into your site’s creation are unmatched by anything the average business owner can accomplish on their own. Professionals in the web industry know the ins and outs of the internet and all the details that go into building a successful online presence.
Things a true web designer takes into account:
- Future site expandability.
- SEO – heading tags, meta tags, page titles.
- The value of fresh, changing content.
- Social Marketing
- Visitor experience.
- Click through ability.
- Browser compatibility.
- Search engine submission.
- Hosting, email, and domain needs.
- Software integration.
- Web standards and compliance
The list goes on and on. Instead of investing your time as a fledgling in the website build process, you should be doing what you do best – running your business. And let’s face it; do-it-yourself sites just don’t represent your company the way it deserves to be represented: professional, industry leading, quality. If you want a website that floats in the search ocean, invest in a web design professional.