You must have a website. There is no other way to build a successful business in the modern era. But if you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship, you’ll quickly realize that designing, developing, and maintaining your website aren’t easy decisions to make.
Are you hiring a professional web designer to create a layout for your website, paying thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege? Or are you trying to build a website yourself with only time investment?
DIY website design is certainly appealing, and for more reasons than low cost – but most DIY website design projects inevitably fail.
Why is this the case, and can you prevent it?
The high level view
Before we can understand why so many DIY web projects fail, we need to understand “failure”. What does it mean for a website to fail?
There are several potential points of failure. First, most people want their website to be functional, show their brand in a positive light, and ultimately persuade visitors to take action, like buying a product or filling out a form. Because of this, a website could potentially fail in a number of ways, such as delivering a horrible user experience and ruining brand reputation, suffering catastrophic losses from a cyberattack, or simply facing a permanently low conversion rate.
Why Most DIY Web Design Projects Fail
The simplest answer is because of inexperience.
There’s a lot to learn about effective web design and development, from the essential components of how a website works to the latest trends in user experience. However, if you don’t understand these things and try to put a website back together from scratch, even the best website builder in the world won’t help you overcome the hurdles you will face.
In other words, inexperience leads to poor design, leading to poor results.
The Lure of DIY Web Design
It’s no wonder DIY web design is so appealing. As mentioned before, it’s much cheaper than designing a website from scratch with an agency.
It’s just as easy these days. There are dozens if not hundreds of free website builders that promise the experience of designing an effective website in minutes. Thanks to WYSIWYG editors and helpful guides, even an amateur can make something work.
On top of that, DIY web design gives you much more transparency and control over your website development. If you’re new to the world of web design, or have had a bad experience with professional designers in the past, you might be skeptical about what’s going on on the backend – or you might just want more autonomy over the process.
The Problems of DIY Web Design
DIY website design also tends to be a hassle due to the sheer number of things that can go wrong.
- Platforms and choice of CMS. There are dozens of viable web builders and hundreds of options for your content management system (CMS). Some of these platforms are objectively and completely better than others. Most of them have unique strengths and weaknesses that are worth considering. they may be great for one type of business, but virtually useless for another. The time it takes to comprehensively research all possible CMSs, weigh their pros and cons, and make the right decision is important – and it’s not something you can afford to ignore. If you end up with the “wrong” CMS, it could cause a massive ripple effect.
- Cybersecurity issues. Cybercrime is a huge problem that you cannot afford to ignore either. Cybercriminals around the world are constantly looking for easy opportunities to exploit people who don’t follow best practices. It only takes one flaw in your website’s design and development, such as a missing patch, corrupt file, or lax password, to ultimately compromise your security. If you don’t know what you’re doing, one of these vulnerabilities will undoubtedly show up – and it’s only a matter of time before it affects you.
- Patterns and resulting problems. It’s natural to turn to template-based designs if you don’t have a lot of experience or want the quickest and easiest web design solution. But the models themselves can present an array of new problems. For starters, working with a template means you won’t have as much control or flexibility as if you were building a website from scratch.
- Damage to the main file (and inability to recover). What would you do if you accidentally damaged or deleted an essential file from your website? A skilled developer would have a backup, or he would know how to attempt a patchwork fix. However, if you’re inexperienced and unfamiliar with this type of complication, you may end up with excessive downtime – or a totally down site.
- Lack of direct access to your database. Likewise, if you use a free website builder or similar platform to build your website, you cannot access your database directly. Again, this may not be much of an issue for simple, small-scale websites. But if you face any problems in the future or want to expand your business in the future, this lack of access can lead to huge problems.
- Bad optimization. Your website may technically work, but is it loading as fast as your users would like? Does it load correctly on different operating systems and browsers? To achieve these goals, you will need to properly optimize design elements such as images. If you don’t have the skills or technical expertise to accomplish this, you could end up with a clunky (or barely functional) site.
- The possibility of a significant break. You might get lucky and have your website working perfectly well, on an indefinite basis. But if it suddenly becomes impossible for a customer to buy something from your online store, your whole business model will crumble. More than one company has succumbed to significant losses due to long periods of downtime. You may be able to recover and continue with your business once you find the problem and fix it, but this leads to another potential problem.
- General troubleshooting issues. If something goes wrong with your website (and given enough time, it will eventually), do you know what to do? Skilled web developers can usually find the root cause of the problem and fix it quickly. But with minimal experience, you might be completely unable to fix the problem on your own. At the very least, you’ll need to hire a professional to help you figure out what’s going on – and that can jeopardize your otherwise inexpensive base.
- Inability to evolve. Finally, building your own website means you won’t have as much flexibility to scale. Most introductory web builders and simple web design tools are not designed to support large-scale sites with complex functionality and substantial user bases.
Design isn’t everything
It should also be noted that design is not everything. Even if you manage to create a functional and beautiful website yourself, there is no guarantee that it will be a success. You will still need to optimize the site for conversions, invest in marketing and advertising, and continue to promote the site as it grows. It is certainly possible to DIY everything here, but it is not easy.
For the most part, DIY website design projects are doomed one way or another. The good news is that there are many potential solutions.
You could, for example, invest enough time and effort in studying the fundamentals of web design and development to become an expert in your own right. But for most entrepreneurs looking to build a website from scratch, it’s easier to work with a professional agency.
Image Credit: Kaboompics; pexels; Thank you!