DIY Websites – Why they don’t Work

You may have seen the TV advertisements for free website 'builder' services, noticed your webhost offers an 'EZ-website maker' tool or been vaguely aware that WordPress provides free or paid for pre-fabricated 'themes' in order to make your own website.

So why not build the website yourself? This blog post explores some of the reasons why.

1. It is not as easy as it Looks

Not as easy as it looks

A web page on the surface and "beneath the hood"

It has long been a common misconception that building a website can be easy. Whilst minimal to no knowledge of web design can in some instances get you "something" these days - More often than not, what you end up with will fall in between ugly and unprofessional looking to beautiful and professional looking but also looking almost identical to a million other websites built using the same tool.

If you ever find yourself saying 'It looks easy, I could give it go' then also ask yourself if the same would apply next time your boiler breaks down, your car won't start or your tax return needs filing.

Why do we seek professional help for these problems? Because these problems require a professional with the skills and experience to solve them. If they didn't, then these professions along with the educational systems to nurture them would simply not exist.

2. Customisation

Customisation

Lots of readily built themes - none of which reflect your brand.

The hard part of making your website lies a lot in the requirement that at some point, you will need to customise it in order to fall in line with the brand of your company or product to make it truly something that reflects you and your business.

A lot of free services will allow you to upload your logo, which is all well and good - but what about typeface, line-height, the exact brand colouring and the right stock photography? These are some of the core design elements which make your website, your website. It is only with a proper understanding and application of web technologies, softwares and languages such as jQuery, PHP, Photoshop, HTML/CSS that aspects like these can be properly configured.

3. SEO / Optimisation / Function

Spec

There is more to it than just looks.

The task in hand does not only concern looks. Under the hood of a website there is a lot going on which has a lot to do with to how successful or functional it will be. Some of these things include how fast the pages get delivered, how much traffic it can handle, how readable it is to search engines and how well it scales to mobile or tablet devices.

Then there is the small matter of function. If you need your website to do something extraordinary (like a quote system, properly listings or selling products) outside of the very basic then you will need people to implement this for you rather than use an out of the box solution.

Selling products online, generating live quotes, displaying data in a specialist field - these are all things which will be very bespoke to your needs and therefore require a bespoke solution.

4. Maintenance

Maintenance

A website needs an MOT as well.

I have often used the term 'under the hood' when talking about websites and similarly to cars, they also need regular maintenance. Just like software (how many times has your computer bugged you about updates this month?) - a website is never really complete as long as web technologies keep evolving and our requirements of the web keep changing. For example, a lot of website owners are seeing a dip in their traffic and discovering that their web sites need to be mobile responsive.

To that end, your website needs checking up on at the very least on a yearly basis to make sure it is still running, it is not vulnerable to hacks, it is optimised to todays web and it is still working alongside other websites that it 'talks' to i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn or Paypal and the software it is relying on is still up to date.

5. People can Tell

A DIY Website

You made your website yourself, and it shows!

In my first point I talked a bit about the misconception in the difficulty of building a website. This misconception is perhaps understandable in a world where you can make a Facebook page in 5 minutes, order a pizza on your phone and have it at your door in 30 or do all your banking on your iPad. What is important to note is that, whilst your website shares the web with these instant products, it is ultimately a much different beast. Perhaps the conception is that there is no real risk in 'having a go' but there is actually lots to be lost - you or your companies reputation.

It is very very rare that someone will put together a website using a DIY solution and not end up with something that will tarnish their image. A lot of what influences people to use, buy products or be influenced by websites lies in the superficial and if a website does not look professional or trustworthy to visitors then it unlikely that will win your clients trust and consequently get you the results you are seeking.

So What now?

Fortunately for our web customers, the only major step they need to concern themselves with is filling in our 'Project Kickstarter' form which allows us to extract your requirements and lets us do the rest. To receive a copy - simply fill in your details below.

Web Project Kickstarter

About the Author

Thomas Wurwal has been a web developer here at Oxygen since October 2015. For all questions 'web', you can email him at [email protected].