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Thinking of using a DIY website solution?

By Adam Astbury

March 30th, 2017

Let’s start by setting the scene. You’ve just set-up your new business and have everything in place, except you still need an online presence. Or, maybe you’re an employee trying to convince your boss that perhaps your existing website with dated fonts and mobile usability issues just isn’t cutting it anymore. There are so many options out there, and it can be difficult to cut through the noise.

Firstly, let’s explore the ever-growing plethora of ‘do-it-yourself’ options out there; Wix, Squarespace and Weebly to name a few. Just like any DIY job, the results (when done properly) can be very rewarding – but before you take out that sledgehammer and start swinging, I’ll talk through the pros and cons, and then you can make up your own mind.

“Where did I put that drill?”

Moving forward with the home renovation analogy, if you were to take on a DIY project without any prior knowledge or experience, then you’ll see varying results depending on the job at hand. Putting up shelves, or painting and decorating – an absolute doddle, but if you start knocking down walls or digging up the ground to lay paving then you may soon find that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew (speaking from experience). That isn’t to say you couldn’t do those things if you had the time to learn or build up experience, but chances are you have enough to be getting on with, and you simply do not have the time.

Having said that, if all you need is a simple website and aren’t concerned about driving visitors to it (i.e. you’re going to be using it as an online business card), then a DIY option or pre-made theme may be perfect for you. Why pay an expert when you can do the job for next to nothing? However, if you’re serious about your online presence and you’ll be relying on your website as a source of income, then you need the skills, experience and expertise of a web design agency.

A successful website isn’t just something that looks nice (although that’s a good start), many elements need to work in tandem. If you’ve already been looking into the world of websites, you’ll probably have heard terms such as ‘fully responsive‘, ‘website strategy’ and ‘UX (User Experience)’. Those terms are where the fundamental differences between a DIY option, and a site built by a specialist web agency come into play – as you can’t churn success out of a drag and drop clone machine.

Putting together a website strategy geared towards the needs of your business (based on the market, your competition and what you want to achieve) can’t be done by a piece of software. Equally, the technology isn’t anywhere near sophisticated enough to understand how your visitors will interact with your website, or to map out their path to your end goal – whether that be a purchase, booking or enquiry. Those elements make up the framework of your website, and it’s paramount that you get them right at the start or you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Getting your business out there in what is likely already a saturated market is challenging, but a web agency such as Wonder Media have the knowledge and experience to take you where you need to be.

“But Uncle Clive used a bit of online software, and he said it works a treat!”

We both know that Uncle Clive is a lot of things, but a web expert may not be one of them. We do not doubt he could build something that looks right, but it’s what’s going on underneath that would make your stomach turn.

It might be because lunchtime is approaching, but I’ll switch to a food analogy to explain my next point.

The Ready Meal (i.e. DIY Web Software)

A ready meal might fill you up, but it’s packed full of ‘ingredients’ that you can’t even easily pronounce, never mind recognise – and they can also come with other nasties such as MSG. All of these things have a negative effect on you, and your poor stomach.

If we apply this to a web builder such as Wix or Squarespace, sure you can build something that looks nice and may first appear to be doing the job on the surface, but all of that bad code and bloated framework is fermenting underneath. All the while severely damaging your chances of a healthy search engine ranking, and standing up to your competition.

The Home-cooked Meal (i.e. Web Agency)

Now let’s compare the above to a lovingly prepared home-cooked meal. You’ve carefully selected your ingredients, and know exactly what’s going into your meal. No additives, and no nasties. As a web agency, we’ll take your ‘meal’ even further and be your Michelin Star Chef!

Cheese-tastic metaphor aside – we’re very passionate about what we do, and won’t be happy unless the result is a successful website. We take the time to understand each and every client, their business and what they want to achieve; allowing us to build a website strategy that meets their needs right down to the finest detail. We do all of this before we even think about how the design should look and function because the UX (User Experience) goes hand-in-hand with a rock-solid strategy.

Once we have a clear way forward, the website is then meticulously coded to web standards (W3C and Accessibility) with a heavy emphasis on page speed for optimal search engine positioning. We don’t just stop there, but we don’t want the world knowing our ‘recipe’, which we’ve honed and perfected over years of proven experience. Why not chat to some of our happy clients?

So, what’ll it be?

Why not pop in for a chat and we can talk through what we can do for you in more detail? After all, we don’t agree with the ‘one-size fits all’ approach.

Give us a call on 01423 603123, and see what we can do for you.