- “Can I create my own website?”
- "Should I use that software I heard about on the radio?"
- “How hard could it possibly be?”
- "Maybe I can get my [insert younger relative] to do it?"
People inevitably ask these questions when launching (or re-vamping) their business website. Sure you can use an online site builder --- but if you don't have a ton of time, don't have a marketing background, and don't have experience in design, functionality, and best practices --- you'll probably want to invest in a custom web site created by professionals.
Unique design:Unlike with site builders and templated systems, with a custom design there are no built-in restricitions. You can draw a rough outline on a piece of paper, send it to your web design team and they'll bring your vision to life. Designers do this every day --- and they’re good at it! You can take your time planning a design on a site-builder, but unless you’re planning on becoming a web designer yourself, you probably won’t want to spend hours on this.
The latest and greatest:
You get what you pay for. Don't try and shoot blind. Design firms know what what works and what doesn’t. Want to create something that actually drives business and impacts your bottom line? You’re almost always better off with a team of experts than trying by yourself.
Employing a design team can save you hours of research on what features to use, provide perspective on what looks good, and instruct you on where to begin. It will also allow you to focus less on the look of your site, and more on the actual content!
Okay, so you’ve created your own website on Wix or Weebly, but what do you do from here? No one’s visiting your site organically? Unfortunately that's certainly possible. In order for people to find you --- without specifically searching for your company name --- you need to have a plan in place to start generating interest, traffic, and building authority in your niche.
There's a wealth of information available about how search engines work, but the technology is constantly evolving. Do you have the time and energy needed to keep up? Will you be able to implement changes as needed?
Is your business hyper-local? Do you have a very specific geographic service area? You need to show up on the map! How do you get on the map? You’ll need to have a Google My Business account or you'll risk people not even knowing you exist.
Personal vs. Business
One caveat: for a personal website meant to, for example, showcase your resume, a site-builder should be just fine. But they’re probably not the answer for your business. Site visitors often make subconscious judgements about a business by the look and feel of their website. Don't make a bad first impression.
Investing in the future...
Who will help you?
Working with an agency to create your website means that you’ll have someone to bounce ideas off of and ensures that you’ll have a partner invested in your success. You'll also get the ongoing tech support you need.
Important:If you begin your online presence with a site buillder and love the design you created, you'll have a hard time recreating the same layout should you decide to switch to another provider. With a custom site, however, you'll own the code, so you can do with it what you please.
“One downside of most of these [online site builder] services is that, should you someday want to move your site to another host, you'll likely be out of luck because of the custom code they use to display your site.”
-- PC MAG
The bottom line:
Work with a product or service provider that you trust and are comfortable with. Whether that's a local design and development team or an online software platform, you'll need to make a call based on your unique needs. Good luck out there!
Check out our other related blog posts:
- Why your website can't be an online brochure
- Why a Custom CMS is More Secure Than Wordpress or Joomla
- Why B2B Businesses Need to Blog