I think one of the things that make me cringe the most as a digital marketer are the DIY website builders. These things are hideous. Now I can understand the appeal from a business owners standpoint…you get a website for a fraction of the cost of a professional web design firm and a lot of times once the website is complete they see no real difference in what they created and what a professional could create.
But I do want you to consider this…let’s just say you have a project that needs to be done in your house. And let’s say you realize that whatever this project is, you are in over your head to try and do it yourself. So you call a professional. An electrician. A plumber. A landscaper. Whoever it may be. And they tell you, “it’s a good thing you called us. We see many DIYers ruin X by doing it themselves since they don’t know all the ins and outs of X”. But isn’t it odd then to look at that contractor's website and see that they made it themselves as well? Why do they preach that you shouldn’t try doing a project on your own and let a pro handle it when they don’t practice that same philosophy with their own business?
When I look at a DIY website, I could spend all day finding things wrong with them. From glaringly obvious things to things only I would notice. But here are five things that many do-it-yourself websites are missing more than I see them have:
No Clear Call-To-Action
It’s hard to believe, but this simple thing seems to be missing from almost every single DIY website I visit. The goal of every visit to a website is to get the visitor to perform an action. Buy something. Sign up for something. Download something. Call! But many DIY websites seem to forget to leave these instructions out for reasons beyond me. The fact is, strong Call-To-Actions increase visitor conversion rates by a tremendous amount…so why is this missing?
No Regular Updates
Add some content! Your visitors like it. Search engines like it. What gives? Yes, this adding new content can be time-consuming, but this is the point of a website…to communicate with your audience. Posting new blogs properly optimized for search engines can be a significant boost to getting your website to the top of search results.
Visitors also love seeing new and exciting services and products being offered. Many DIY website owners have a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality with their websites. But seriously, how are you supposed to attract new customers and even keep current ones, if you aren’t staying competitive and letting everyone know what you are up to and what you have to offer?
Website Not Effective
Frequently we hear “Can you build us a website? We just need a simple one”. My question back is “why would you want a simple one? Wouldn’t you rather have an effective one”? You have a website; it can be as big and robust as it needs to be…whatever it takes to get potential customers to convert. Now a site can be simple in its appearance, but no truly useful website is simple in its design and construction. Even the simplest professional-designed websites have a lot of thought and planning that goes into making it. And those websites that don’t have a lot of thought put into them, they show.
Here’s another missed item on most DIY websites and here’s how I know. Properly executed SEO techniques take not only technical knowledge but a lot of time and effort…and you can tell by most DIY websites, time and effort were the last things anyone put into it…so why would they have put in any behind the scenes work either? Ranking well in search engines isn’t easy and isn’t quick and what’s the point of having a website in the first place if no one can find it.
Even a DIYer surely has heard about branding consistency when it comes to marketing. You build a brand and it all mediums, stick to the brand and message. How is it possible to “stick to your brand” when you’re using some off the shelf template that hundreds of other people are also using? You want to stand out with your business. Be unique. You want people to remember you and what you do. Hard to do when you have a generic look that doesn’t match your message. Unless you know some coding, customizing a template to match your brand isn’t going to be easy, and consequently, it doesn’t make for decent branding.