There more and more code-free website builders popping up tempting many to build their own website. Just because you can build a site for “free” doesn’t necessarily mean you should. These DIY sites are fine if you are building a website for a book club or perhaps a personal photography site, but do you want to stake your business on this approach.
Here are some things to consider before deciding to build your own site.
- While it is critical for every business to have a website, it can be detrimental to your business to have a poorly designed site or one that is obviously a DIY site. Many prospective customers review a company’s website before deciding to make a purchase decision. They are not only checking to see if there is a good fit between their needs and what you are offering, but they are consciously or subconsciously assessing your businesses credibility. This is why good design is important.
- Website design is about your audience not about you. You must take into account your target audience and design with their needs, tendencies, likes and dislikes in mind. Consider their age, income level, sex, reading level, sophistication, knowledge of your service or product offering, etc. before deciding on content, choice of colors and fonts, page structure, navigation, and graphics. Designers take all of these things into consideration to deliver a positive overall user experience.
- Designing for multiple screen sizes or “responsive design” is more important than ever. Consider how important it is to optimize your site to be clearly viewed on a tablet or mobile phone as the use of mobile devices is dramatically increasing. Using Google Analytics on your site will help gather this type of user data.
- Graphics and use of images are extremely important in creating a visually appealing site. Considerable thought goes into creating graphics that clearly illustrate a concept and deliver the desired message. Images/pictures must be carefully chosen to be compatible with the content, color scheme of the site, and page structure. Images must be owned, royalty-free, or licensed to avoid violating copyright laws. If you take pictures with people, make sure to get a release before publishing.
- Content is king. Writing content that is clear, concise and valuable is, obviously, one of the most important elements of a good website. If you don’t write well, consult with someone who does.
- Don’t forget about Search Engine Optimization or SEO. A lot goes into to preparing your site to be properly indexed by sophisticated search engine algorithms. Considerations include selection of keywords, page structure, links, image text, headings and subheadings, and much more.
Designers are trained to consider the use of color, contrast, balance, white space, typography, alignment, hierarchy, page structure, and graphics. It isn’t as expensive to hire a web designer as it used to be when sites had to be hand-coded and it took both a designer and a coder to produce a website. Now sites can be created much more quickly through the use of themes and code-free design sites. A great looking site can be built from scratch by an experienced designer in just two weeks.