Website Development – To DIY or not to DIY Your Website?

Website Development - To DIY or not to DIY Your Website?

It may be tempting to build your own website, but is it really the best option for you?

First of all, what is a DIY website?

A decade ago, if you wanted a website, you would have had to rely on software developers who knew HTML and other coding languages to get your website up and running. But not so anymore with DIY website builders.

DIY websites have opened the realm of website development to the average Joe. They allow anyone to create and publish a website without having any IT, software or coding capabilities.

And because you don’t need a team of web experts, a DIY website is considerably cheaper than a professionally developed one, at least in the short-term. Some are even free.

But before you take the plunge and decide to go DIY, there is a lot of information you need to unpack

What to Think About When Deciding to Build your Own Website

Will a DIY website meet my needs and achieve my goals for launching a website?

If you are even considering building your own website, it obviously means that you want a website for some reason. And knowing this reason – to spread information, grow your network, or sell your product or service – is an essential aspect to consider when thinking about a DIY or  professional website. Also knowing how much time you have to dedicate towards the website is critical, because time is money.

Although DIY website builders can potentially do a lot, their free and more affordable offerings are pretty basic. But sometimes the basics is all you need: a simple theme (which refers to how the information and images on your website are displayed), some beautiful graphics, a few pages and…Voila! You have a professional looking website.

But again – why are you launching this website?

Are you a blogger who is new to the digital scene and willing and able to learn new skills? Or a small startup with very little capital to spend on a website but a solid understanding of the importance of having a web presence in this digital age and have a little extra time to spare? If you answered yes to either of these, then maybe a simple yet pretty looking website is all you need.

But if you are a small business owner who expects your new website to increase your revenue or improve your brand loyalty, and you do not have hours to spare developing your own site, DIY may not be the best option.

Creating a website alone does not mean visitors and buyers will come-a-running. Getting views, visits, and conversions on a website requires a lot of effort and may not be easy to achieve with a DIY website without a talented tech team and digital marketing experts on hand to support with things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization, content curation, and other digital marketing tools.

In fact, a badly put together (though functional) website could have the opposite effect: Your choice of images and the story you tell may turn potential buyers off if you neglect to think about things like user experience and how to build brand loyalty. Professionals are trained to ensure that your website does not have this effect. Unless you’re a marketing manager, your expertise likely lies in something else, and so you might not have the skills needed to develop the right kind of marketing and ecommerce website your company needs.

There are many DIY website builders to choose from, which one is right for me?

Before you can make a decision about whether or not you want to DIY, you need to know more about what features these different website builders offer and how much they cost. And there are oh-so many website builders out there, it can get overwhelming.

But fortunately, the good people at Website Builder Expert have already done the hard work for you and put together a comparison chart of some of the top website builders on the market:

This is just a section of the chart. I highly recommend you go here and take a closer look at the whole thing.

These intuitive website builders can be very easy to use, sometimes employing incredibly simple drag-and-drop tools. And they offer a range of beautiful themes and pictures and are all mobile-friendly (which means your website will look good on a desktop or a phone). And they are relatively cheap. I emphasize relatively because you have to consider what you get for what you pay monthly. Also, monthly installments can really add up over the years.

Different functions compared in the chart include things like ease of use, pricing, available themes, support, email service and more.

Wix comes in at the top, with the highest overall rating. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best DIY website builder for you. To find out which one is, go here and take the quiz to get an idea of which web builder best suits your needs.

What about WordPress?

The big name web builder missing from this list is WordPress and that’s because WordPress is a little different. WordPress is definitely a DIY website worth considering, but it’s also evolved into much more over the last five years.

WordPress is an open source software, which means that it is free for anyone to use, modify, build upon, and redistribute. It is also known as a content management system (CMS). CMS’ are tools used to update information displayed on websites. Like if you want to add a new blog post to your website, or a new photo, or alter some text, you would make these changes in a CMS. All DIY website builders come with intuitive CMS’ so that you can make changes easily when needed.

Being open source means that anyone who knows how to tinker with the code can and they can make new themes, customizations, and plugins.

Ironically, some of the most appealing advantages of WordPress, including the fact that it is extremely customizable with a tremendous amount of plugins, actually make it much less of a DIY website platform and more of a professional web developer platform.

And unfortunately, the huge uptick in customized WordPress sites and innovative plugins has actually led to an increase in security issues on many of these customized wordpress sites.

In fact, a study of over 11,000 hacked sites conducted by a leading WordPress security firm called Securi, found that 75% of those sites were built on WordPress. The findings also indicated that the growth in WordPress sites with security vulnerabilities is a result of a surge in unskilled web developers who are creating and selling unverified WordPress websites.

Similarly, another study described on WordPress’ ecommerce developer WooCommerce’s website, credited the rise in dangers associated with WordPress sites to an overabundance of faulty WordPress plugins.

However, it is certainly true that WordPress does offer a host of websites with lovely themes and images (though definitely not all are free), that are verified and are secure.

To wrap it up, developing your own website could be right for you if you have the time, interest to learn new skills and set realistic expectations for what you’re going to get from it.

But if the proposed site your thinking to launch is for your company, and you are expecting it to generate more leads and more revenue, then you may find that working with professionals can help reach these goals better than you can by yourself.

Bear in mind that running a successful website that reaches potential site visitors and converts them into leads can be time-consuming and complex. Doing it right involves knowing the latest strategies to beat the competition and implementing a range of SEO strategies.

Erica Solomon is a writer with over 10 years experience writing copy and editing. An avid marketing researcher, she stays up on the latest trends in everything digital.