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Should you make your own business website?
I can hardly watch a YouTube video without having to sit through another Wix ad. Just get on the software, drag and drop content in place and you’re off and running, right?
But that is not all that your business website design needs. Not by any means.
Because your business website is more than just a pretty face.
What Your Business Website Needs
Let’s say you decide to build your own house. What if you don’t lay the foundation correctly? What if you neglect to get your building permits, do plumbing or electric incorrectly, or run out of money before it’s usable?
Your home will not serve you well.
Let’s say you build your own website. What if you build a website and load it with animation, media that is not web-ready, poor or no SEO (Search Engine Optimization), walls of text, slow-loading pages, poor images, or it is not mobile-friendly?
Your website will not serve you well.
- Google will not smile on you = Low Search Rank
- Low Search Rank = Visitors only find you if you send them
- If you do manage to get them to your site…
Website visitors may experience your site in an entirely different way than you intend.
They may get a poor impression, get irritated, or even leave.
Why I Do What I Do
Before I decided to ‘take a web design class’, I made my own business website. I worked hard on it. I invested money and a LOT of time. It looked okay, but behind the scenes I know that things were not what they should be. It was overwhelming to try to learn about ‘code modifications’, and the ones I made probably are part of why my website just laid there in internet space.
Google did not like my website. Visitors did not come. My products did not sell.
So… I went to sign up for that web design class. It had two prerequisites, so I took the prerequisites.
What did I learn?
- I learned how little I knew.
- I learned how much I needed to learn.
Fast forward several years. After completing two degrees I finally began making websites for other businesses.
What I Have Learned About Web Design
Website design is a complex dance.
And the rules are always changing.
You must appease the 800-pound gorilla named Google.
And Google is not very forgiving.
Website visitors are a tough crowd.
Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.
Do you see what I see? Not necessarily. The harsh reality of seeing through new eyes means…
- What looks good to you may not look good to others. Sometimes content that we hold dear looks cluttered, tacky, or unprofessional to others.
- What looks good in the physical world may not be right for your website.
- What seems important to you may not be right for your website. In web design, we must always consider the website visitor. How they experience our web design is key.
- Website visitors don’t read, they scan. Generally.
Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability is my favorite website design book because it’s a great reality check. Look over illustration from the back cover:
Details are killer.
I love my job, but sometimes the details are killer. When I get through the initial design of a website, if I’m lucky I am halfway done. Maybe. After the design comes the details…
- You need to have security in place so your site does not get hacked. You need backups that you can roll back to when something goes wrong. Believe me, it will.
- If you are revising or moving a site you need to have your 301 redirects in place.
- Your forms, links, and menus will need to be properly set up and tested. You need the right images and SEO, Google Analytics, social media, captchas, and a child theme.
And this list is only part of what your web designer does behind the scene.
Yes, you can build your own business website.
But what will it cost you?
Can you afford to lose the business you could have gained by making sure the foundation of your business website is all that it should be?