A lot of sole traders and small businesses have a goal to build their own website. A do-it-yourself website is possible, and many people have created a website that looks great. Many more have created a website that looks, well, dreadful is the word that comes to mind.
So is a do-it-yourself website build right for you and what are the things to consider?
Are you good with computers?
There are many do-it-yourself website builders which you can find online. Often the advertising accompanying their website building platform promotes how easy it is to use.
Well of course if you’ve built an online platform that can build a website you’re going to promote how easy it is to use!
For people who are very good with computers and like working through techy problems, the more user-friendly website platforms will be reasonably easy for you to navigate and understand. For people who struggle with computers or just don’t enjoy working through and learning new online programs, the process is unlikely to be easy or enjoyable.
The first thing to consider is, is building a website within your skill set? If you are good with computers you’re half-way there.
The easier website builders are Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. The more difficult ones are Shopify and WordPress.
But all of them are harder than Facebook. And all of them are harder than what they, or many of the YouTube video tutorials claim they are. Don’t get fooled into the idea that it is easy. You’ll spend hours and hours working through what sometimes are little, but turn into big, issues.
How’s your visual literacy?
Websites need to look good. It is your most important online marketing asset. Your clients and potential customers are looking you up online. Will your website look professional or will it be clunky?
Design is an important element of websites. Many templates will give you a head start in creating a good looking website, but the final decisions about what photos you use, how big they are, what colours you blend together and how to divide one section or part of a page with another is with you. Do you have a good eye for how things look?
Websites need to be aesthetically pleasing and technically solid – often these things are not noticed when they are in place and working well – but they are very obvious they are wrong.
Do you understand what you are buying?
Many of the website builders have add-ons that cost money. The original offer could have a tempting monthly or annual cost, but you may end up paying more in the second and subsequent years as the first year was a sweetener deal. Or as you go through the process you realise a needed bit of functionality or usefulness was not included in the original payment.
The pricing packages often use jargon to explain what you get for your money. Sometimes information is left out or assumed to be known. For most first timers, the list of items that are included in the website builder or theme is a puzzle. If you don’t understand what you are buying you may end up buying what you don’t need or want.
I love the resourcefulness and independence of business owners. I thrive on helping business owners learn how to do stuff themselves. But building your own website is often not the right decision as it’s a hard process to understand all the information.
If your website needs are simple, our first recommendation is to consider the all-in-one website builders like Wix, Squarespace or Weebly. That is, platforms that include hosting the site as well as the website builder. These are usually paid for on a monthly or annual subscription basis. Most of these platforms will provide templates and themes to help you create the look you are after.
How-ever if a WordPress site is what you want and you are keen to learn how to create your own WordPress website we recommend you look to a short course in your local area. In South Australia, the WEA regularly offers a create your own website with WordPress course. Nationally across Australia, TAFE or other education providers may offer short courses. Look around for what you can find in your area.
Tyler Moore is an active YouTuber who creates great videos on how to create sites in WordPress. His videos go through step by step with no step missing. Allow for many hours watching and learning. Here’s the link to his channel.
Here’s another YouTube video tutorial by Dale McManus that optimistically shows you how to create a WordPress website in 10 minutes. He does get a website up and running in that time, but significantly under-estimates the need and time required to learn how to edit the website with your brand, look and information.
DIY Digital and WordPress training
We have a package to assist WordPress owners who already have a site, often one they’ve inherited because they’ve taken on a new role or they’ve been sitting with a website that has been left languishing for many years. For details about this package please contact us.
We don’t offer one-on-one training for new website builds.
We find training and developing at the same time doesn’t work. Develop then train. Or train specifically with learning uppermost in your mind. Doing both together, especially if there are tight deadlines or complex requirements, is a difficult recipe.
We find a lot of the training is redundant. Much of the development part of a website build is once-off. For example, decisions around which plug-ins to use, how to configure the settings and what look is being created are not repeated activities. Teaching someone who isn’t likely to build another website is wasted energy for both parties.
What we love to do is build the site for you and then give you very good training on handover. All our websites come with 3 months training. We teach our clients via .pdf lessons, video tutorials, email and phone support how to update their site. We’ve road tested this package with many of our website builds and continually tweak and adjust it as needed. We continuously improve our training to give you the best learning possible.
Our experience and knowledge as professional website builders counts. We can make you look good online and trouble-shoot the techy stuff. If this is of interest to you please contact us.
If you do end up doing-it-yourself we wish you the best of luck.
Get in touch
Use the contact form or send us an email.
Better yet, call us on 0400 835 161 and let’s have a chat.