DIY Website vs Professional Web Designer?
Online website builders like Weebly, Squarespace and Wix claim it’s easy to build your own website with no technical or design skills and still achieve a professional-looking result.
So, why spend money on hiring a professional web designer when you can buy into a cheap DIY website? The short answer is... DIY websites don't look professional and they don't get traffic as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is very dificuilt. OK, read on for the long answer...
The advantage of online website builders
It’s the only real advantage. It’s never cheap, if you want to be taken at all seriously. Also Completely free versions tend to be supported by ads and are usually restricted in various ways.
The drawbacks of online website builders
Free or cheap templates are great for hobbyists but as soon as you want more control over the design and layout of your site, sometimes even the colour palette you’ll find them frustratingly limiting. All too often, you’re trying to shoehorn your brand into a fixed layout. Sometimes, you’ll spend hours working on a template only to find that your logo can’t change position or, worse yet, doesn’t fit properly within the space provided.
Especially if it’s your first time, even the pretty intuitive set-up of DIY web design sites still requires a learning curve. That’s fine if your time isn’t better spent making new contacts, building relationships, making sales calls or looking after existing customers. If the time you spend learning to use the website builder is actually costing you unseen money, it’s a false economy.
Website builders don’t tend to feature much additional functionality. After all, multiple, bespoke functions don’t really fit with the cheap-and-speedy selling point. For anything much more than a contact form, a standard photo gallery or a simple shopping cart system, you’ll need something more powerful and flexible.
Not always, we must stress, but in a lot of cases, the designs you’ll find on online website builders aren’t the most professional. We’ve actually seen some very good template designs, but often the fixed format simply means that thousands of websites end up looking either very much the same or looking worse once the business owner’s own images replace the stock images supplied with the site. The result is that it can look as though you’ve gone cheap and basic.
Poor SEO performance
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the expert practice of helping a website to appear high up in online search results for your business category. Online website builders have very limited SEO tools built in and only basic guides to teach you what you need to do. A professional web designer will usually understand every aspect of SEO, from clean code to correct image tagging, to make your website really easy to find.
Slower website speeds
Online website builders tend to use shared servers for hosting. This means less bandwidth and slower page load speeds, which is fine for small brochure sites with low traffic and minimal media, but not ideal for large visitor numbers, streaming or hosting videos.
Servers hosting hundreds or thousands of other websites require top-level security; hackers hacking one site may well find an ‘in’ to yours. It pays to be thorough with security.