There are loads of do-it-yourself web design, e-commerce shop setups, and graphic design services out there these days, with new ones popping up every day. Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, Canva, and others all offer the same basic concept: “we make it easy (and ‘cheap’) for you to create your own website/logo/online shop”. Well, some things are just too good to be true. And honestly, wouldn’t you rather spend your valuable time doing what you already do best — running your business operations — and not spinning your wheels trying to put a website together? Let’s break down the reasons why DIY is not necessarily the best route when your business is at stake.
1 // LEARNING CURVE
Sure, they make it sound SO easy. Pick one of them templates. Drag and drop your content and images. But without design knowledge and experience, it isn’t as easy as it seems. This can be a frustrating process if you aren’t experienced with web design.
2 // COST
It may sound cheap or budget-friendly, but with services like Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix, you will be paying monthly: for the lifetime of your website. If you aren’t selling products, this might be cost-effective. If you are selling physical or downloadable products, these services will take a percentage of your sales in addition to credit card processing fees: so you’re paying two different sets of fees for each sale. With your own custom website, you eliminate service fees and only pay credit card processing fees (which are unavoidable with online commerce). There are annual costs for hosting your website and registering your domain name, but these are minimal when compared to the per-product and monthly fees you’ll pay with a service.
3 // YOUR CHOSEN SERVICE “OWNS” YOUR WEB CONTENT
Your site and all its content, when built through a service like Squarespace or Shopify, lives on their servers. Essentially, they “own” your content, because it can be difficult or even impossible to download it for offsite use. What is even worse is that if, in the future, you decide to move to another service, it can be cumbersome and difficult to make that move, because you have built your site with their proprietary system. Exports of product data and content is not always friendly with other services, and you could have to start your entire website over from scratch. When you get your own hosting and have your site professionally built, the content is 100% yours and 100% accessible.
4 // SOMEONE ELSE MAY BE USING YOUR EXACT DESIGN CHOICE
With DIY services, very little customization is available; essentially, you have to choose from their pre-made layouts, which are pretty generic. This means that you’re dipping from the same pool every other customer is dipping from, and chances are that you will see another business — perhaps even a competitor — with your exact same website design and setup. With DIY logo design services, you may end up with the same logo or icon as another business, which weakens your brand and customer trust. In the current, highly competitive realm of online business, you must stand apart from the herd to be successful.
5 // BEHIND THE SCENES KNOWLEDGE
The time honored phrase “if you build it, they will come” — does not apply in today’s highly competitive online business world. Merely having a nice-looking website is not enough. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes of a website: SEO setup, search engine authorizations for to ensure they are properly indexing your site and content, social media connections, website security, just to name a few. If you don’t have these things in place, your site will not rise to the top. You can benefit from the years of experience a professional has gained getting all these tasks into place.
6 // YOU’RE LIMITED TO WHAT THEY CAN OFFER
Many of these services offer more than you need, or not enough. A professional web designer/developer can customize your site to your exact needs. The developer will ask you specific questions and tailor your website to meet your goals and expectations…and can find solutions.
7 // YOU HAVE A REAL, DEDICATED PERSON TO TALK TO
DIY web services offer support (at least they should!), but you are one of many people seeking them out. It can take time to get a problem solved with these services, but when you have your own web designer/developer, you are a top priority. If you have a specific question or need that isn’t part of their service, they will not be able to help.
BEGUILED BY DESIGN CONSULTATION/SERVICES
I pride myself on being a reachable point-person throughout your website experience. I enjoy building long-term partnerships with my clients. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and when you hire me, you get my mental library of experience and knowledge as part of the price. I offer these services to you, in addition to peace-of-mind that all of your website needs will be taken care of:
- Hosting and domain setup
- Initial website setup: all installations, technical services, and backend items
- Custom website design: a unique design that only you are using
- Blog design and consultation
- Online shopping carts with on-board, real-time shipping and labels, powered by WooCommerce
- SSL Certificates (required for credit card purchases)
- Payment gateways (allowing you to accept credit card payments, including PayPal Pro and other merchant gateways)
- Search Engine Authorizations
- Social Media consultation and connections
- Amazon Affiliates program setup (to monetize a website)
- Ongoing support for the duration of our partnership
- Website Security and protection against hackers
- Robust event calendars
- Google Mapping
- Appointment Scheduling (ideal for salons, consultants, tourism, and service industries)
- Online Ordering (ideal for restaurants or instant product deliveries)
…and much much more! If you have a specific need not listed above, I can consult with you and find the perfect solution. Let’s work together!