Are you thinking about building your own website? Have you been testing out the drag-and-drop editor from Webflow, or the easy web builder from Wix? While these simple content management systems are easy to use, building your own website is a liability.
If you’re not a website developer, there are countless, critical nuances you’ll miss when building your website. Missing these nuances can cost you money, time, leads, and your reputation.
Here are the top 7 reasons DIY website design will create a liability.
- 1. Rookie mistakes have consequences
- 2. You’ll struggle to troubleshoot small issues
- 3. You won’t know what’s possible
- 4. You’ll lack customization
- 5. You might choose the wrong content management system (CMS)
- 6. You’ll be easily sold by marketers
- 7. You’ll be reluctant to rebuild your site later
- Is it ever a good idea to build your own website?
- Our design team can build your ideal, custom website
1. Rookie mistakes have consequences
Here are some common rookie mistakes DIY website designers make:
- Not using 301 permanent redirects for deleted pages. When you delete a webpage, whether it’s a page or a blog post, it will create 404 “page not found” errors anytime someone clicks on a link leading to that page.
If you delete a page that has only been published for 24 hours, it’s probably not a big deal. However, if there’s any chance your page has been indexed in the search engines or linked on other people’s websites, a redirect is necessary.
If you haven’t created a replacement page, redirect the old link to your home page. Be sure to use 301 redirects to make them permanent.
- Contact forms that aren’t protected from spam. Captcha codes and other methods to prevent spam are annoying, but they’re necessary. If you don’t protect your contact forms, you’ll be sifting through spam and you’ll miss genuine submissions.
- Using uncompressed images. Uploading original images will slow down your website and make it harder for visitors using DSL to view your site. Images need to be compressed before being uploaded to your website.
- Making graphics with text that turn out fuzzy. It’s tempting to make your own graphics, but there’s an art to creating images with text. If you’re not an experienced graphic designer, your text-based images will probably turn out fuzzy.
- Not accounting for mobile users. Your website design should be responsive and mobile-friendly. If you’re not sure how to make that work, a professional developer will help.
- Using too many unnecessary plugins. Installing a bunch of plugins can slow down your site and cause conflicts that make your website stop working.
Developers use plugins, but they choose them intentionally and use them sparingly. They also delete unused plugins to prevent hacks (or fix existing website malware) from outdated software.
- Not installing analytics software from the beginning. Analytics software should be installed before your website launches. You don’t want to miss out on capturing any data, especially when you’re marketing your website through paid ads and partnerships.
- Overloaded, disorganized navigation menus. There is an art to organizing your navigation menus, including the order in which to present your pages and your sub-menus. Not every page needs to be included in your navigation menu. Overloaded, cluttered navigation menus will make visitors bounce.
- Unintuitive menu link labels. Creative menu links sound cool, but people won’t click unless they know where the page will lead. Sometimes creative labels are appropriate, but the destination needs to be obvious.
- Installing plugins that create a conflict. You might install five plugins at once and find your website breaks. The conflict might be between two plugins or one plugin and your theme.
To figure it out, you’ll have to uninstall everything and install each plugin one-by-one. If you don’t know how to troubleshoot conflicting plugins, you’ll get stuck and frustrated.
- Not updating core CMS files or plugins. Building your website means you don’t have a developer to update your core files or plugins. If you don’t update new releases and patches on your own, your site will be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
- Ignoring signs of being hacked. If you fail to identify signs that indicate your site has been hacked, you might wake up one day to find your whole account suspended by your web host.
- Buying a WordPress theme that requires a monthly subscription. No theme should require a monthly subscription. The world has turned into a subscription economy, but a theme should be a one-time purchase.
- Creating your own content. Once you build your own website, it’s tempting to write all of your own content, too. This is a big mistake.
Just because you can write well doesn’t mean you can write web page copy or sales copy. There is an art to writing web copy and it doesn’t involve creativity or perfect grammar. In fact, the greatest novelists of all time would probably fail in this area.
Writing effective web copy is rooted in marketing principles. Your content isn’t there to fill up the page and simply entertain – it’s there to influence visitors into taking certain actions like making a purchase or signing up for your email list.
2. You’ll struggle to troubleshoot small issues
Every website developer struggles with small issues that take time to troubleshoot. Often, the problem is incorrectly placed punctuation in a PHP or CSS file. However, developers can troubleshoot these issues with ease.
Without experience as a developer, these small issues will be a nightmare to fix on your own. You’ll go crazy trying to figure out what happened. Worse, if your mistake locks you out of your admin panel, your stress levels will go through the roof.
Developer knowledge is required for troubleshooting
Sometimes small issues aren’t typos, but stem from a lack of knowledge regarding file hierarchies, overrides, and the structure of markup and code.
For example, say you install a new WordPress theme and you’d like to change your anchor text color from blue to red. This seems simple enough. You know basic CSS, so you add the following to your custom CSS plugin:
You refresh your website and your links are still blue. You try it over and over again and you can’t get your links to show up red. You install a different custom CSS plugin and nothing changes.
What you don’t know is that your theme automatically assigns a class to all of your links. That class must be included in your CSS in order to change your link color. You’ll need to find that class and create your custom CSS accordingly.
There are several ways, but the fastest way is to right click on your website and click on “view source” and scroll down to the code for your links. You’ll see what class your links are assigned.
Say you discover your link class is “main-links.” Now you can create the following CSS that should change your link color:
Although this should work, there are many other factors that can prevent your custom code from overriding your main stylesheet. There are several different ways to override CSS styles, but unless you’re a developer even a thorough guide will be difficult to follow.
3. You won’t know what’s possible
Creating the ideal website requires knowing what’s possible. You need to know all the options you have available.
Experienced website developers know what tools, scripts, and applications are available to build a website. When a client comes to them with specific needs, they’ll have the experience to know which applications are better suited for the client’s project.
Without a professional developer, everything you put together will be a hodge-podge of plugins and self-installed scripts that might not be efficient or secure.
For instance, you might try to build a mega-menu out of the native WordPress menu system, not realizing mega-menu plugins exist. WordPress has a cumbersome native menu system that requires scrolling when you have more than a few menu items. Using it for a mega-menu will be frustrating.
4. You’ll lack customization
A professional website developer can customize your website from the ground up. A good developer will work with a programmer to create anything, whether you need a custom design, customizations to an existing design, or a completely custom content management system.
When you build your own website, you’re stuck with whatever stock designs you can find. Changing the fundamentals of a design looks simple, but it can be complex. While some design aspects can be altered with basic HTML and CSS knowledge, you risk breaking your website if you don’t completely know what you’re doing.
For example, if your layout uses CSS to create three columns of content, you’ll be working with a bunch of <DIV> tags. If you expand the size of one DIV, you’ll have to decrease the size of the others accordingly. However, you’ll also need to adjust the margins and widths associated with elements contained within those DIV tags.
When you begin building your own site, you’ll quickly realize the need for professional customizations. Pre-made designs are never a perfect fit.
5. You might choose the wrong content management system (CMS)
With so many content management systems on the market, it’s hard to choose the right one without having design experience to guide your decision. For example, a complex ecommerce website will do better on the Shopify platform rather than WordPress.
6. You’ll be easily sold by marketers
As a DIY designer, you’re more likely to be swayed by marketing tactics and messages published by software companies and internet marketers. For instance, if you aren’t familiar with CMS infrastructure, you might get sucked into buying an overpriced WordPress theme for $300 and several premium plugins for $70 a piece.
7. You’ll be reluctant to rebuild your site later
Say you build your website and your revenue hits a plateau in a year, so you consult with a marketing firm to boost your sales. After a consultation, the marketing firm tells you it’s necessary to rebuild your website to support your revenue goals.
Letting go of all the work you’ve put into your website will be difficult. Even when you know it’s for the best, it’s hard to let go of something you’ve invested your time and energy into creating.
Is it ever a good idea to build your own website?
There are only two circumstances that make building your own website a good idea. The first is if you have experience as a website developer. The second is if you’re learning how to build websites and you’re using your website as practice.
However, if your immediate goal is to grow your business, increase revenue, and capture leads, you need a professional website developer.
Our design team can build your ideal, custom website
When you need your website up and running now, you don’t have time to mess around with DIY website design tutorials. Building your own website isn’t worth the risk.
Contact Website.Design today to learn more about our design and development services. Our experienced design teams can build your custom website on the platform of your choice. We can also set you up to edit your own content so you don’t have to rely on a developer every time you want to make a small change.
Are you ready to have the beautiful website you’ve always wanted? Contact us right now for a free quote.
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