YOU NEED A WEBSITE. Why not do it yourself? Create your stunning website right away, says Wix. During the Super Bowl, Squarespace ran a series of ads that told you to Make it Yourself. These services do a very good job of tricking the customer into thinking they can, in fact, create the site they desire…engaging, elegant, unique…in minutes…The GoDaddy slogan is by far my favorite Building a website in under an hour is easy. I love this commercial so much that I want you to watch it! (note sarcasm)
Designing and developing a website is simple…right? If you opt to use one of the do it yourself (DIY) services, you may be able to build a website quickly. Unfortunately the site will be limited to what the chosen theme will allow you to do. Furthermore, you only have a couple dozen templates to choose from. If you’re a real estate agent that wants to include a mortgage calculator, or a consultant, or photographer who wants to offer a members only section of your site, your options are limited because DIY sites do not allow such customization options. If you want to add new features, you will have to pay for them, which in the end will likely cost you more than hiring an experienced developer. These DIY services also neglect to mention other key components involved with web development, including optimization, maintenance, security, SEO compliance and more. Compare this to purchasing a brand new home, but the real estate agent neglects to tell you that you can only live in the floor model. You cannot upgrade to granite countertops, you may not have central air conditioning, you cannot choose the paint color or decide to go with hardwood floors instead of carpet. Meanwhile, not having a secure site is the same as not having locks on the doors of your new home. In short, you have no input into the design or maintenance of the site that will be the main marketing tool for your product or service.
Before learning about the benefits of using WordPress over other content management systems, I tinkered around with Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. At first, it is easy to pick a template from a DIY service, but then you realize that they do not give you photos, write your content, or optimize your website. Although most small business owners may have never heard of website optimization, be aware that a poorly optimized site can ultimately be the death of your site. A slow, poor performing website is an easy way to lose customers. In the blog post 32 Things You’re Doing Wrong With Your Website Design, Neil Patel suggests that If it takes more than four seconds for any web page to load completely, it’s too slow. He further notes:
Google found that 70 percent of the websites they surveyed in their study took seven seconds or longer to load. They also found that the slower the site, the more likely a user is to bounce. Google also noted that 3 seconds is the accepted best practice for website owners who want to keep their visitors on-site.
Last week, I decided to test Patel’s contention that 70% of websites take seven seconds or longer to load. I started with local businesses that I have been to within the past six months. I used highly reputable industry standards to test the sites. First, I used GTMetrics to test performance including optimization and speed. Nearly all of the sites returned very poor grades. Below are images of results for the first two business pages I tested:
Next, for the same two Websites, I used Google PageSpeed Tools for additional insights. See below for the staggering results:
Such poor performance and optimization scores will result in high bounce rates, which means users leave the site as soon as they arrive. Ultimately, users are attracted to an engaging, beautifully designed websites; however, if the homepage takes too long to load, they are likely to leave, and NEVER RETURN. Have you ever walked out of a Starbucks with a long line? Same thing applies to the 3 second rule for page loading.
End result: lost customer = lost sales.
I most certainly do not blame small business owners with limited budgets for searching for ways to minimize costs by creating their own websites. While some folks with technical knowledge will be able to produce a workable site, the harsh truth is that the majority of the sites will not only fail to engage customers, they will also result in lost business because of poorly designed, slow, unsecured sites that are not optimized. These are the businesses who then complain that websites just don’t matter anymore because theirs is not getting them any business. That’s like saying, I put in a new phone and it just doesn’t ring. Do you think there might be other reasons why? It is exactly the same with a website. If yours is not ringing, we can find the reason why, and fix it.
Minimizing money spent is one of the main goals of small businesses. However, as a business owner, you are the expert, the best person to sell your product. On the other hand, you are most likely not the person who understands the technical aspects of your business. Designing and developing a website is best left to professionals who make a career out of their expertise. Although you may be tempted to use a DIY service, remember they are highly limited in what they offer, and they neglect to tell you about the key technical components that can make or break your site.
If you are in the market to build your digital presence involving a new or re-designed website, a digital marketing strategy, and SEO options, and you know that you will never do this yourself, contact VujaDay Creative Digital Agency to discuss our variable priced options to handle this campaign for you.