So, your company needs an online presence and you have found yourself overwhelmed by the abundance of website building options that are out there. It’s a spot many have found themselves in. Instead of comparing companies and what they provide, you should compare what kind of website you are envisioning in making this decision. What this means is determining whether you want to hire a professional agency/freelancer that can build a specific vision you have or purchase a “What You See is What You Get” platform, also known as a do-it-yourself website builder. There are some benefits to using a WYSIWYG but in the grand scheme of things, you will be much better off utilizing a professional who can turn your vision into a brilliantly designed website that best reflects your ideas and services.
Cost: “You Get What You Pay For”
While website builders offer a very enticing price for their services compared to utilizing professionals, there are several reasons why choosing the lowest priced-option isn’t your best bet. Website builders are fast to build and fast to launch, but poor on their return on investment. Their user interface is typically fairly easy to learn but as mentioned earlier, what you see is what you get. It will usually include a drag and drop feature in their CMS (Content Management System). That being said, it still requires a semi-computer savvy person who has hands-on skills and time, which leads me to my next point.
Time: “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait” and “Time is Money”
Patience is a virtue, and it pays off when it comes to online presence. It will take longer for a professional to build your site, but just like cost, there’s a good reason. As a business owner, spending 10+ hours to build the site on a do-it-yourself platform, another 10+ tweaking it, is not an efficient use of time. You can prevent this scenario by allowing a professional to handle your website details. Although you will have to spend more upfront, you do not have to put in the time to figure out how to make your vision come to fruition. A professional website developer has done it before and has the knowledge on how to create a unique website that fits your brand.
Brand: “When people come to know and love your brand, they become repeat customers”
More often than not, when using a WYSIWYG builder, the consumer is going to discover how limited they are to the templates they supply and it will almost never fit your specific brand.
It is fairly common for Web Development agencies to include the services of a professional website designer. A professional designer is more than just someone that makes things look pretty, a designer knows how to get a business’ objectives and vision portrayed through design elements like proximity, color, shape, and balance. However, even if they are a freelance developer or an agency that doesn’t offer said services, a well-versed developer knows a lot more about design concepts than the average do-it-yourself website blogger. When using a professional agency or freelancer, the site will be built to fit your specific brand, not to mention it will most likely include advanced functionality for the end-user. This also ties into a pleasant user experience, which is VERY important in the industry. Everyone wants their website to be intuitive, easy-to-navigate, high-functioning and aesthetically pleasing. Web Developers already know the ins and outs of google’s standards in what will get a site easily visible in search rankings and score higher with User Experience.
Visibility: SEO is Key
Search Engine Optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO, is crucial for companies that want to be found on searches easier, but it’s so much more than that. SEO is not something that’s greatly optimized in website builders, making for a very poor ROI. The size of the company does not matter, SEO is imperative if you want your website to generate more business for you. The business could be a medium to large company that already generates quite a bit of revenue. A proper SEO campaign will still generate more! If you have a smaller business and the industry is rather competitive, the benefits of SEO are incalculable. Some builders do come with SEO tools, but without the proper knowledge and expertise of SEO standards, it will fail. SEO is an investment in your company that almost always more than pays for itself with the lead generations that stem from proper search engine optimization.
While trying to make a WYSIWYG cater to your specific brand, the average person will not know what to avoid and vice versa when it comes to getting penalized by Google. Web Developers build with a set of standards that google has outlined for the industry, knows what to avoid and what is a must. For example, making a site responsive isn’t so much of an option anymore but mandatory by Google’s standards. Responsive websites are when the same code for the site, adjusts for the viewport or screen size. Being that mobile web viewings accounts for around half of web traffic worldwide, it’s easy to understand why it’s a standard now. Yes, they are getting better with the builders on making sites more responsive, but it is seldom ever as clean and concise as when a professional develops the site.
It Takes A Village
Do it yourself options do not come with industry experts. With an agency or professional, you get a designer for the aesthetically pleasing and professional layout, a developer who can have the website functioning just the way you want it, and usually other experts like SEO Managers and Social Media specialists. As a whole, this makes for a much higher ROI.
Integration, Functionality and Platform
As stated previously, an adept web developer is going to make sure the functionality of your site is user-friendly and proficient, but they will also be able to integrate your site with other services. Some companies may want an e-commerce store to sell things, some want their social media managed and integrated on their site, some want to utilize a service that collects email addresses for email marketing, and some will want to portray that they are a trustworthy company with their data. Lastly, professionals build your site so you can own what you pay for, even if you don’t continue to use their services. So yes, you will pay more for the hosting server, etc, but if you want to take your site from GoDaddy Hosting to Bluehost, your site can be downloaded and migrated to a new hosting platform. When you build on Wix, Squarespace or any other DIY platform it is proprietary to their interface and their service. That means when you stop paying, you lose your website.
To summarize, there are definitely attractive qualities about a do-it-yourself website builder option, but the rewards are not even comparable to the ROI when utilizing a professional. Invest in your company and hire a professional.