In the age of Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace it is easier than ever to do your own website. And fairly affordable. Or, is it?
In the past five years DIY websites have become increasingly popular. The quality of websites on the web hasn’t necessarily increased. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, a person who is not trained in design or typography is not going to be able to do page layout well without some training. They also almost always make huge mistakes in the typefaces they use and the coloring/bolding of type.
I am thinking of the website where the owner thought it would be a great idea to use red type and bold it. Or, maybe they are using the wrong header text to communicate something important. This looks so terrible!!! Or, what about where there are three to four different typefaces chosen. This makes the website look like a first time affair. Placement of objects, blocks, widgets, etc., is often haphazard. Doing a DIY website if you have no training in web design is a great way to communicate to your potential customers that you aren’t a serious business.
I am not saying that there is no place for DIY websites. But really, you should take a course on visual design for the web, and also on typography, before you even start. This is a signficant time investment but it can be a lot of fun for those who are interested.
People who do DIY websites also often try to do the cheapest or free plan, which is so limiting that it is not possible to make a well designed website. What you usually end up desiging is a bad advertisement for Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace.
As someone who also designs a lot of church related organization websites eCatholic is in this same camp. The majority of eCatholic websites on the web are really junky. Even sites that were professionally designed by them initially are handed are over to people with no web design skill. It is only a matter of time before the main part of the body of the web pages begins to look haphazard at best. A great example of this is the Diocese of Lafayette website. Take a look below the hero image and first panel on the home page. It is a mess – and this is a fairly new website.
So, if you do want to do a DIY website, I recommend setting it up with your custom domain, getting all your content in there, and then having a professional clean it up. And this should be repeated every 6 months to 1 year. After doing this for a few years, you may begin to get the feel of how to keep it well designed and layed out, and updated over time.
A lot of people think they will save money doing a DIY website, but you probably won’t. The way these programs are set up you have to pay more per year than you think. This is especially true if you add the hours in that you devoted to it.
Also, professional website designers and developer use domain and hosting resources that are typically more affordable. An example of this is a common domain that through Google Domains costs $12 per year and through Weebly is at least $30. However, with Weebly you are paying for the convenience of not having to have advanced knowledge in setting up a domain for a website.
The last thing I want to say for DIYers is that the initial launch version of a website is only the 1.0 version. A website, like any software, is a type of application that requires ongoing updates, design changes, expanding, and increasing of functionality. Most websites these days have the capacity to function as databases, podcast publishers, CRMs, CMS’s, learning management systems, and data collection tools.
If you are making a website for your business, or updating one, contact us for a free consultation. We promise we will help you choose the solution that is the best fit for you. We can help you and be a boon for your business or organization if you partner with us. Send us a note and we will get right back to you.