Do-it-yourself projects can be fun and rewarding. If you want to build a website for your business, you have the option to DIY too. Amid the increasing popularity of platforms such as SquareSpace, DIY websites have sprung up in huge waves in the recent years.
But the question remains: Are DIY websites really the best option for your business?
This article will present the facts, by showing you a comparison between a DIY website and a professionally built website.
Let's dive in!
|Artwork by our team at 1 Stop Coder|
Using DIY Website Building Platforms: Pros vs Cons
At 1 Stop Coder, we like to show not tell.
Pros of DIY website:
- Low cost to start.
- All the necessary components are available on one platform.
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop user interface.
- Good customer support.
Cons of DIY website:
- Cost starts to add up once you load up the packages.
- Design is restricted by templates.
- Can be difficult to integrate advanced functionality & customization.
- Can be difficult to handle heavy traffic.
- Can be difficult to have a consistent SEO.
- Prone to fatal mistakes that are hard to spot by untrained eyes.
|SquareSpace's pricing plan as of 12/13/2020|
The good thing about DIY website building platforms is that they are getting better over time. They have been introducing more and more features to make up for their inherent shortcomings. For example, SquareSpace just added an SEO tool.
However as these platforms get more and more complex, eventually they will reach a point that they are not easy enough for DIY any more, and will actually require a pro to use it.
As for which DIY website building platform is the best. I could only speak from my personal experience. Here is how I would rank them.
- Webflow. Strictly speaking, I wouldn't consider it to be a DIY platform. As it is definitely much harder to use than the other true DIY platforms. But the features and customizability they offer are second to none, in my opinion. I would consider it a drag-and-drop alternative to coding.
- Wix. Wix strikes a perfect balance between ease-to-use and functionality. It does allow more design customization than the other DIY platforms. I even know some professional web development companies use Wix to build websites.
- SquareSpace. The poster child of DIY website building platforms. Although I am not a fan of their overly simplistic interface, they have indeed been improving. They are constantly publishing new features. And there is no sign of stopping any time soon.
Presenting the case: client's old DIY website vs professionally built new website
Our client Todd Stockwell of Premier Services LLC, a WA based floor service company, is the perfect example. Prior to working with us, Todd had a DIY website built by himself with GoDaddy website builder. I had a consultation with him, analyzed his old website, pointed out a few areas the site was missing out on, and told him how a professionally built website could transform his online presence.
After we finished building his new website, Todd and I were beyond thrilled to see the drastic differences between the old (DIY) and the new (pro built).
Let's take a look.
Improvement #1: Better aesthetics
From the appearance of the home page, you can already tell the difference.
- The color palette is well defined and kept consistent across the pages.
- Well designed navigation bar, footer & floating buttons.
- The padding and margin between page elements are professionally tuned.
- The call-to-actions are placed in the right places.
Overall, the new website is a much more aesthetically pleasing presence. And that helps attract & retain site visitors.
Improvement #2: Better SEO
We also performed a deep SEO for Todd's website. Here are the things we tuned up.
- A title tag that has the optimal length and keywords.
- A description tag that has the optimal length and keywords.
- Heading tags (h1, h2, h3 & h4) that cover keywords.
- Generated a sitemap and robot.txt file.
- Added open graph tags for better social media sharing.
- Added article (blogging) functionality. Todd can now use great content to drive up traffic.
Improvement #3: More advanced functionality
Besides aesthetics and SEO, we also incorporated some truly sophisticated functionalities.
- Added ADA compliant widget to make the website more usable for people with disabilities.
- Added Google reCAPTCHA v3 to prevent spam emails. The biggest feature of reCAPTCHA v3 is that the user doesn't have to tick that checkbox, their credibility is automatically determined by the algorithm.
- Added appointment booking functionality that allows users to book virtual Zoom evaluations. The appointment time slots are automatically synced with Todd's iCalendar.
I hope the above example has given you a more clear idea of DIY websites vs Pro built websites. Here are our honest suggestions.
Use a DIY website builder if you have a restricted budget and want to quickly whip up a simple online experience.
Hire a professional if you want a site that looks professional, performs well in searches, and packs functionalities that will improve your workflow and your customers' user experience.