Thinking of a DIY website, you must read this first

Recently, a mate of ours was in your shoes. He was planning to show off his resume and project management portfolio, with a simple little website. With this website, he was going to stand out at his next job application. How hard could it be? There were plenty of Facebook adverts promising a simple, low cost, DIY website.

I’m sure you know the ones. The in-feed Facebook adverts that use a stunning travel photo, some delicate text and a sharp-looking menu; and promising an amazing low-cost website.

So, our mate jumped in, purchased his domain and within minutes he’d signed up for the baseline package. How hard could it be?

Little did he know it was going to cost him hundreds of dollars, hours of YouTube tutorials and endless ‘trial and error’.

DIY website builders are complicated

Our mate had bought his website and started to fiddle with the control panel dashboard. Menu after menu, setting after setting, he began to wonder why his new pages didn’t look anything like the advert.

He could get the blog post function working, but it was overly simple and it looked ugly.  He wanted to stand out from the crowd with his next job application, not look incompetent and uncool.

Off into YouTube he went, and late into the night, he finally got the knack of the basic functions.

Customisation of the website name. Check. 
Customised colors. Check. 
His favorite fonts. Check!

But how could he create the stunning resume page and portfolio of his dreams? Back to YouTube the next night for some more tutorials.

They are inflexible to your customisations

The stunning advert’s paint a very nice picture, but when it comes down to it, there is a stack of experience and knowledge required to get the most out of these platforms.

At the simplest level, the basic package provides us with a fully automated cover page and a blog facility. Don’t get me wrong. This is great, especially if you’re traveling the world and wish to send stories home to family and friends.

You can write a short summary of your latest adventure, attach an image and hit ‘publish!’ However, most of the design ‘themes’ that create the style and design of your site, are rigid and inflexible to customisation.

They need plugins and with plugins come more costs

Our jobseeker soon realised that he needed some plugins to customise his website. Plugins for those who have never heard of them before, are like small apps or small pieces of software that improve the functionality, look and customisation of a website.

On average, a high-quality website will use about 8 – 15 plugins. And whilst some are free, most require ongoing payment to unlock the premium features that make a website look sexy.

What our mate also realised, is that he needed to upgrade his basic website package to the top-level, to be able to actually use plugins.

The proposition of a low-cost, simple, stunning, DIY website had now turned into a small investment, and he hadn’t actually achieved anything. So, he began to install the plug ins; each with its own set of complicated settings and installation requirements.

“What had he got himself into?” He thought.

They need advanced ‘building software’ for the professional look

If you are planning a professional website for your business, the base level platform simply won’t do.  Even with a swag of plugins, you may still find yourself looking at a hideous contraption that reminds you of a primary school media studies project.

At this point, as you can imagine, old mate was getting pretty frustrated.

As a business, you have product pages, contact information, team profiles and much more to display. All these things require advanced customisation and most probably, the support of a website building software (that lives inside your DIY website platform).

By now, our man found himself 5 or 600 US Dollars down and having wasted dozens of bleary-eyed nights going around in circles.

He also began to realise that he could remember certain tasks he swore he learned just a few nights ago.

“Now how do I change the pages listed in the menu?” He thought. As he went back to the search bar to find the tutorial video again.

And that’s exactly when he messaged us! You can visit his finished website here; nsutho.com

Do you want to be a web designer?

His idea was brilliant. A quick, little DIY website to show off his resume and project portfolio.

One-click and any potential employer could explore his previous job experience and capabilities, and be impressed by his amazing project portfolio. A super-professional, digital resume was sure to be his advantage in the next job application.

But what our mate realised, is that he didn’t really want to be a web designer, did he?

Perhaps, you are about to embark on the same journey?

You might also be starting a business and really want to tackle all the cool jobs. This is your chance to be super creative, and do all the branding and marketing yourself. But just like our job seeker, you need to (quickly) realise which activities are worth your time and which a better trusted to a professional.

Yes, you could learn all the ins and outs of your favorite web builder, but sure enough, you will hit a snag and need some expert help.

You will be missing these vital things!

What we have also found, is that DIY websites miss a swag of ‘insider tricks’ that a digital agency should automatically perform on your behalf (now that’s another story). Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), image compression, alt-text for images and automated Facebook previews are just a few of the simple tasks most DIY sites miss.

Missing these things will bring down the overall level of professionalism and credibility of your site.

Excluding some of these things can also make a load of difference to website visibility in Google and Facebook, and hurt you in other important areas, like website loading time and user experience.

Don’t get us wrong, go for it, have fun and build your own website if you have the time!

But if you have any questions about the process or the contents of this ‘disclaimer’, please get in touch for an obligation free coffee or chat about your dream website.