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D.I.Y websites; The biggest mistakes

With the plethora of adverts for D.I.Y website builders it can be tempting to dive right in and make your own website. The truth of the matter is that it’s trickier than it looks. What starts as a simple looking task can quickly escalate and cost you time, money and your reputation. Here I look at some of the worst mistakes and why it might be better to leave it to a professional.

Beware the snappy looking templates

When you first start browsing for website ideas, many CMS (Content Management Systems) will show you templates of some great looking websites. Once you’ve parted with the money needed to buy one of these you can be left with a complex, hard to learn, interface that contains content that you can’t use because you don’t have copyright usage. All those professional pictures in the demo? Copyrighted. Videos? Ditto. For those that do come with content you can use, you’ll often find your site looks generic and fails to stand out.

At the heart of this issue is the fact that your website should be specific to you and your businesses’ needs. It’s content, functionality and navigation should all be tailored to your own requirements. Professionals understand this and spend time working out your needs before selling you anything.

Design is harder than it looks

Getting the UX (User Experience) right means balancing colours, images, fonts, navigation, and marketing so that the visitors end up loving their time on your site. Unless you’ve got experience of these things it can be a really hard mix to balance and a poor looking site will turn away visitors. Once they’ve gone, it’s unlikely you’ll get them back. In addition you’ll often be stuck buying expensive stock content to try to pad out the site and make it look professional.

The devil is in the details

There are a host of invisible factors that go to making a successful website. Knowing where to place content is often as important as the content itself. Placing your CTA (call to action) in the wrong place can make it pretty much useless. Using the wrong plug-in or add-in can mean the site doesn’t work across all browsers and if you’re not careful, you’ll base your site on functionality that makes the site insecure or leads you to a dead end in a few years’ time.

Once you factor in the above, as well as the need for ongoing security and maintenance, the costs can quickly rack up. Rather than starting down a road that can lead to headaches it’s often better to seek the advice of a professional. The good ones will let you see the price up front so you know what to expect and you’ll be much more likely to end up with a result you are proud of.

I design websites day in, day out. I’d be delighted to offer you the benefit of my experience if you’d like to get in touch.