It’s easy to build a website for your business, right?
Well, of course it is. Anyone can build a website. There are programs you can download that let you just drag a few elements around with your mouse, type some text, and POOF! they’ll spit you out a website with your business name at the top and a list of your services down the page in comic sans. Now you’ll get a slice of that web traffic and business will boom!
Maybe you know a little more about web design than all that, but in 95% of cases you still shouldn’t build your business website, and you shouldn’t let your tech savvy intern do it either, and I’ll tell you why.
Do you know what SEO stands for? Search Engine Optimization is a critical element for websites, because it determines how appealing your site looks to search engines. As you know, most people who are looking for you online will be doing it through a search engine, and if your site’s not maximizing on the potential for search traffic, that’s money out of your pocket.
Probably the most obvious reason is that it’s going to show. A website not built by a professional, is going to look like what it is: unprofessional. You might be a polished professional in your field, but if your field isn’t web design that’s going to show.
If you decide that you’ll do your homework and build a near professional looking site that will appeal you customers, that’s great! Except that it’s going to take a lot more work than you probably think.
Building a website isn’t as quick and easy as sketching the layout. You could easily find yourself spending 8 hour day after 8 hour day at your desk trying to figure out why the fonts went wonky or the headers’ a little to the left and won’t move. Why’s that image broken now? Why are all the links dead? Building a professional grade website is a lot of work, and if you don’t already know what you’re doing, the learning curve can be shockingly steep.
This is a big one. Nothing sours customers like getting a virus from your site. Let alone if you want to actually sell items from your website. Keeping your website clean, secure, and your customers safe is a job many don’t even realize needs to be done. A website isn’t like a storefront. A hacker could stop by your site this afternoon and find a way to insert a virus straight onto your home page, so that it’ll infect every customer that drops by your site. Just one more reason a site built by professionals is more than worth the money.
“Hang on,” you might be thinking. “If I build my site, I’ll be able to make it however I like. If I have a professional do it they’ll be trying to put their style on it.”
However, the reality is that if you build your own site there will be some things you just don’t know how to do. Lots of little sacrifices you might not even realize your making, because you don’t have the first idea how to put that in. If you tell a professional web designer that you want the site to have a contact form, or dynamic pages, or anything else though he’s going to know how to do that for you. What’s more, the professional will present you with options you may not have known you wanted until he mentioned it.
This is a big one. What do you do when the site goes down heading into the busy season? What if your site’s giving out free viruses to customers? What if your online catalog cuts half your inventory out and refuses to show anything but blenders?
You could drop everything, go to your desk, and spend the next 32 hours digging around in forums and source code trying to figure out what’s wrong. Odds are though that if you’re working with professionals, a quick call can have most problems fixed in moments.
So, it’s possible that on top of everything else, you’re an expert in web design. But if you’re not, YOU should not build the website for your business. It’s not going to look professional, it’s not going to maximize customer experience, it’s not going to maximize traffic, and it’s going to lose your company money. A website is a bit like a store front. It’s not just a vital utility, it’s an investment. And it’s worth paying to do right.