How often have you entered a home and immediately thought to yourself “do-it-yourself paint job”?
Even if you are not a professional painter, you can tell the moment you walk in the room. If you are a professional painter, you probably cringe. You silently shake your head at the ceiling hits, drunken sailor cut lines and paint on the light switch plates. A do-it-yourself paint job is obvious.
Now, take that thought and apply it to the website that you are considering designing and publishing yourself. If you don’t yet have a website, it is likely at the top of your winter list of things to do, before busy season starts up again. Are you planning on doing it yourself?
Why not? After all, there are thousands of do it yourself templates, online resources and software to help you design and publish a website. Today there are even a handful of popular blogging websites like WordPress that allow you to build an entire website around a blog. Easy peasy. Right? Maybe not.
Show me a website designed and published by a painter and I will show you a website designed and published by a painter. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sorry guys. Feel free to send me all your comments on how your site is different.
Your website is one of the very first impressions you make on a potential customer. That alone should warrant an investment from you. So is it time or money? Guess what? It is both.
As a business owner you know time is money.
Regardless of whether or not you hire a website designer, your time commitment is going to be enormous. Developing a website is way more than just an IT and design job. Writing content, adding photos, organizing and structuring a site is all part of the process. Now you are going to add the learning curve involved in designing and posting a website that looks professional and runs efficiently on multiple platforms? Just how much time do you have?
Just like a painter has a toolbox and truck full of supplies to make a paint job go easier and look professional, a web designer has the tricks of the trade that is going to make the difference between a DIY site and one that is professional. There is no way you can learn those tricks quickly enough to make designing your own website a productive use of your time.
I am not suggesting that you need to spend thousands of dollars on a website designer. If you are a small sized business, that isn’t likely an option. But that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. There are plenty of one-man shops (you, but with a laptop instead of a paint brush) that can help you set up a decent website structure, design or install a skin and get you started. All for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $500.
What I am suggesting is that you spend your time writing content and doing the stuff that the website designer doesn’t do. Make sure your collection of photos are reflective of the quality of work you do (your cell phone photos won’t cut it). Make sure what you say on your site does the same. It isn’t going to be your website designer that identifies your key customers and writes compelling reasons why they should hire your company. That is going to be your job.
What I am suggesting is that the time it takes to learn how to design a website, even from a template, will in most cases be better served by hiring someone to help you set up the basics. It gets you off the ground running. You are still going to need to learn how to add and change content but it will save you from learning some of the more difficult parts of setting up a website, in the early stages, when you are more likely to get overwhelmed and give up. Many designers will let you buy hourly consulting in bulk, at a reduced rate, so you can budget a certain amount of technical support into the first few months while you are learning the ropes. You start with a site that is correctly built, nicely designed and if you have spent your time wisely, well written.
It might not be fancy or have all the bells and whistles of a custom built website, but I promise it will look better and run better than a do-it-yourself job.
Tell me you can’t spot those a mile away? They look like do-it-yourself paint jobs on the web.