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DIY Website Development: What Will Saving Money Now Cost You Later?

Thanks to Pinterest and HGTV, everybody’s into DIY (Do-It-Yourself) these days. We think that’s fine if you’re making a wreath for your front door or even remodeling the bathroom, but sometimes going solo is a big no-no.

We’ve all heard the adage, “The lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And while they’re often told to, no physician really “heals thyself.” Having access to Web MD doesn’t equal years of medical school any more than DYI website options like Squarespace, Weebly and Wix make you qualified to build your own website.

man gets a shock with his DIY “improvements”

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean “they will come.”

Pardon the soapbox, but I can’t help but cringe just thinking about the time, money and effort business owners waste building their own websites in an attempt to cut costs. Everybody wants to save money – I get it – but the issue here is that most people aren’t even coming close to accomplishing that goal. If you want to know the truth, they’re losing money.

Do-It-Yourself websites are great options for getting started, but you should know the initial “savings” you receive as a result of using these services are merely a way of attracting you to their platform. The unrealized, hidden costs of these services quickly add up to similar price tags charged by agencies and design firms, but with one glaring difference: you’re stuck doing all the work! And that’s not the only pitfall to consider before jumping on the DIY bandwagon.

First of all, you have to ask yourself, “what is my time worth?” Even a simple DIY site will take 15-30 hours to get up and running – really running – unless you have worked within a CMS before. Thirty hours at $125 per hour amounts to $3,750. (The DIY website companies will say it only takes a few hours but users will disagree.) And if you need a complex site, say you want to include some e-commerce, the hours invested are more like 50-76 or $8,400. And even if you have the time to invest in this way you may want to consider:

  1. What level of expertise do you have in planning website navigation and structure?
  2. Can you develop a strategy to convert visitors into contacts or to generate a sale?
  3. What training do you have in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)? If Google and Bing can’t find you then what is the website there for anyway?
  4. Are you an experienced writer? While I’m sure you have a vast amount of knowledge in your industry, and about your brand, you will also need some fine-tuned writing skills specific to website writing.
  5. How are you at selecting, editing and placing images? Do you know image-usage laws?
  6. If you run into a problem while working in the CMS templates, how much time do you have to spend troubleshooting or on the phone with tech support? How much will that “support” cost you in addition to your time?
  7. After the website is launched, do you know how to look at website traffic to see how successful your efforts were and where you need to make improvements?

As the founder of Design the Planet, I’ve been helping companies develop websites for over 20 years and it is not as simple as some would make it out to be. Sure you could do it. You probably could cut your own hair, too. (Nice bangs!) If you’re a woman, you could probably even have a baby without a doctor, but why would you? The risks just aren’t worth it.

For a well-branded, search-engine-optimized, sales-generating sales website that really speaks to your clients, hire a pro.