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Given the recent surge of DIY website builders from companies like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and GoDaddy, many people are wondering if they should attempt to build their own website.  So what are some DIY website pros and cons?

First of all, if you want a simple brochure website, and you don’t mind your site looking similar to many others, there is nothing wrong with a DIY website platform like Wix if it gets you or your business online quickly and inexpensively. I am all for small businesses getting online and being smart with their budgets. Not everyone can afford a custom website, especially when they are first starting out.  I am a big DIY-er myself, and there’s nothing I haven’t tried to learn or teach myself just by Googling it!

PROS

Easy Drag-and-Drop Page Builder Interface

Ease of use is definitely a selling point of these DIY web builder platforms, because they typically offer drag-and-drop page builders.  Even a relatively inexperienced tech novice can usually figure out how to build a website using a drag-and-drop builder, because for the most part, what you see is what you get on the page when you publish your website.

Hosting & Tech Support

Another benefit is that the platform includes web hosting (which is the system infrastructure where the website runs from), and at least some level of technical support.  It’s important you have a reliable web host because you want your site to perform well, get backed up regularly, and not get hacked.

Affordable Price

Affordable pricing is often one of the most important considerations for a DIY website builder, if you are on a limited budget.  “Build your own” website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace each offer a flat monthly or annual charge that is generally pretty reasonable.

So what about the cons?

CONS

Ease of Use…?

As far as ease of use goes, many start out building their own website, only to become frustrated when the drag-and-drop interface doesn’t let them design the page exactly the way they want.  Sometimes they spend hours and hours attempting to build what was supposed to be a simple “DIY” website, only to give up in frustration.  Don’t feel bad about this–as a business owner you are incredibly busy and have to wear a lot of hats.  As foolproof as these platforms try to be, they aren’t going to turn you into a graphic artist or web designer overnight.

Core Set of (Limited) Functionality & Styling Options

I think one of the biggest limiting factors is simply that you will be limited to the functionality and capabilities provided by that website builder platform.  Because these platforms run in a centrally hosted location and are made to serve many clients at the same time, they have to offer a standard set of functionality and a set of styling templates to all of the customers running on the platform.  The more variations and options they offer, the harder it becomes for them to support it.  Many people start out with a DIY website, only to outgrow it a short time later when they realize their ability to customize it, add more functionality, or integrate it with other systems/tools starts to feel a bit restrictive.  Also, if you want a truly customized look and feel, you may feel quite limited by their choice of cookie cutter templates.   That’s not to say you can’t build a beautiful and functional website on a build your own website platform builder, but that you should give some thought to your short and long-term needs before diving in.

Marketing Strategy & Solutions

I think the most important factor to a website project is not the actual web design, or where the site is hosted, or even what it was built with.  The most important factor is how you can leverage that website to drive more leads, sales, and customers.  Most people think only of the design aspect of a website and how to look good online.  But there is a huge difference between a brochure website (a website just giving the details of your business like your address, services, contact info), and a website specifically built to drive more leads, sales, and customers.  If I could teach people one thing about building their own website, it would be to learn how you can leverage it to get more business first.  And THEN select your website design and platform. There is nothing worse than building a new website (whether on a DIY platform or custom built design) only to have no one visit it or find it in Google.  Talk about a major letdown.

The truth is that branding and “getting your name out there” is only one aspect to consider in your website project.  Sure, we all want a beautiful website we can be proud of that makes our business look good online, but that is the tip of the iceberg. You need a strategy to drive more customers and sales.  Your website, if designed properly, can be a major tool to do just that!

Regardless of whether you use a DIY website builder like Wix, Weebly, or GoDaddy, or a CMS platform like WordPress or Craft, or even a custom hand-coded website, the most important thing to consider is your strategy to drive more business, and what role your website will play in that.

A properly built website will usually leverage several marketing tactics like a conversion strategy, lead generation, mailing list integration, contact forms, call-to-action buttons (free quote, schedule consult, book now, buy now), search engine optimization, content, and social media marketing. Knowing how these things work can turn your website from a simple online brochure into a lead and sales generating powerhouse!

If you’d like to understand how you can use proven strategies on your website to drive more leads, sales, and business right away, download this checklist.

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We’re Ely Digital, Portland Oregon website designers and digital marketers.  We create websites that get business results for our clients in Portland, Oregon and around the world. If you’re ready to graduate from a DIY website design to a website that is thoughtfully built to drive more leads, sales, and customers, contact us for a free, no-pressure quote.  


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