I wrote this article because I was sitting in my office and inside of 10 minutes I saw three commercials about do it yourself (DIY) web site builders and got totally disgusted.
It’s almost impossible to go anywhere on the web these days without seeing advertisements for DIY website builders such as Wix, and there are also website builders included with many hosting packages that let you select from a range of free templates to quickly get a website set up. Most of them also advertise that you don’t need to know any coding to successfully create your very own website.
But are these solutions delivering what they promise? Will they give you a result you will be truly proud of? And how does it compare to hiring a professional team to do the work for you? Let’s take a critical look at what you can expect from a DIY solution compared to a professional one.
The first thing we need to take a look at is the price issue. Most ads for DIY services such as Wix hint that it’s a free service. In reality, unless you don’t mind having a free ad for that service on your site, it’s not really free at all, and the cost of upgrading is quite steep. That upgrade is also an on-going cost that you’ll have to pay forever
In the case of hosting services that let you use free templates, there is no cost involved, no upgrading, and usually no free ads (except if the template is WordPress based, in which case there usually is some kind of ad pointing to the website of the template service or template creator). But all these services are still costing you something even though you’re not handing over any cash.
That cost comes in the form of how people react to what they are seeing. If you use a template site, then even if you customize it a bit, it will still be very obviously a template site. Not everyone is going to think negatively of that, but you can be sure that many will. When a business is not professional enough to invest in itself and its marketing properly, that does not convey a lot of confidence to the public, and certainly is not going to make a good impression upon potential investors.
Finally there is the professional service to consider. With these, the up-front cost is higher than using DIY builders or templates, but the site belongs to you and you own the domain outright, so that means you don’t have any obligations beyond the initial purchase unless you choose to buy additional services. Also because it is a professional design, there is no unfavorable impression created for customers or investors.
- Design Flexibility
Definitely the biggest drawback to DIY builder sites is that they tend to be very limited in terms of what you can achieve. Despite what they may imply, there is a lot you’ll need to learn in order to create anything coming close to a professional design, and even if you master the entire system, you still will not be able to create exactly what you want. In other words, you will have to compromise between the vision you have in mind and what the system will allow you to create.
Templates are even less flexible, because you have to alter your content to fit the design, and the template layout will be very rigid. Most templates offered by hosting companies are not mobile-ready, and unless you have the skills and experience to modify them, they never will be either.
Hiring a professional design team to build your website means there are no limits to what can be achieved. If you can imagine it, then it can be done.
- Design Process
The main battle cry of the DIY services is that “anyone can build a wesbite”. This is actually true, anyone can. But that does not mean that just anyone should, in the same sense that anyone can learn the basics of flying a helicopter in a matter of hours, but you’re not going to trust them on that basis to fly you to another city. Building websites requires a lot of skills. For a start, you have to have a really good idea in mind for how the design will look. It should be designed in a way that is interesting, that makes it stands out from other sites in the same category, but still meets all the expected standards. This is before you actually get to the point of creating the design, doing the coding, adding in all the extra components to enhance the display, and optimize the site for search engine ranking.
If you use a template, any mistakes that the template creator made will become your problem unless you are aware of those mistakes and correct them. You’ll also have a very generic looking site that is identical to thousands of other sites in the same niche who have all had the same idea. Not a good way to get attention from users, and even worse, it attracts the wrong kind of attention from Google who may penalize you for plagiarism if your site is too similar to other sites!
With a professional team working on your site, there’s no need to worry about these problems. You simply tell them what you want, or let them suggest a design for you. They create a sample of how the site will look, and when you approve it, they build it. During the entire process, you can request all kinds of features or changes until you get exactly the website you wanted. Not only is this really easy and not taking up any of your valuable time, but the result will also be compatible with all existing technologies currently in use, ready for the future, and built in a way that won’t create any problems for you from Google or other search engine providers.
The Professional Design Advantage
It is very clear that professional design is superior to DIY sites and template sites. Less work, less bother, and a professional result. Here are the main points that design company PromptWeb offers:
- Personal service tailored to your needs
- No limits or restrictions on what can be created
- No need to learn how to design and build a site, no work, and no frustration
- 24 hour turn-around
- You deal with principle owners, not salesmen
- No “cookie cutter” solutions, every site is custom and unique
- No hidden fees
These are just some of the advantages offered by full service design companies, and it is easy to see why in the long term they are the best investment.