If you’re trying to grow an online presence for your business, you might have considered saving a buck by designing your own website. And why not? There are lots of solutions that make DIY affordable—and even free—and the results seem to look pretty darn good. So what can you lose? We asked a panel of professionals. Here’s what they had to say.
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Quality and design are subjective to some extent
Oftentimes, when it comes to website design, the difference between a DIY/free website and a paid/premium design is its functionality. Or more specifically, how clean the code is.
This is very important to note because back in 2010, Google already told us that they use site speed in their algorithms. They also told us to aim for 2-3 seconds or less. But several studies have confirmed that most websites have terrible speed. On average, desktop versions fully load in ~10 seconds, while mobile versions take an average of ~27 seconds to fully load.
A quality website to me means it loads fast. No matter how “nice” looking your website is, if it doesn’t load fast, that’s a low-quality site.
In that sense, you should never sacrifice quality, or in this case, site speed because it affects your traffic and rankings on Google.
Invaluable for gaining sales
Companies put a lot of resources into developing their particular ‘Brand Voice,’ and the web is easily the most accessible and impactful medium used to portray this to a potential customer. Why spend time and energy building a brand’s identity and particular message only to dump it on a free builder with the same look and feel that dozens, or even hundreds, of companies could be using in the same space. A quality, ‘custom-tailored’ website will help portray a message better than what a pre-purchased theme or DIY builder can, while opening up the possibilities for custom-developed features which can prove to be invaluable for gaining leads or sales.
Quality is important
People have much more power and ability over making their own website, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people have the funds or expertise to design an impactful website. In my experience, quality should matter more than a free/DIY website when your main goal is making a website that stands out from the rest. Free/DIY can leave someone to their own devices, and may not guide a user to the full potential of their website.
Quality is important, both in how a website looks, but ultimately its function and ability to achieve the goal of its existence. An e-commerce site that doesn’t get you any sales isn’t achieving its goal. You can achieve a quality website with free/DIY, but what you sacrifice is time to figure it out yourself, and lack of guidance on what makes a good website in the first place. Quality should be at the forefront of anything you do if you’re looking to showcase something you care about, and a website is no exception.
Won’t serve you the way you need
If you’re starting your first business or aiming to be a leader in your industry, free or DIY website designs won’t serve you the way you need them to. SEO is proven to amplify your website and services [to make you] a serious competitor online. Many of the free/DIY websites are not designed for proper SEO implementation, and while the process of building the right SEO-friendly site is a longer process, it’s worth it.
If you expect to be a competitor in today’s internet world, your website is the last place where you should cut corners.
Quality should matter more
Quality should matter more than getting a free site when you already have a proven track record of offline sales and are looking to start selling something online. When you know something already sells and it works, then you should be willing to invest in a site that will do the best job of selling your product online. If it is good enough to sell, it will also sell online, but only if you invest a little to give it the best chance possible.
Why use it if nobody ever sees it?
What use is a free website if nobody ever sees it? Or—in the rare case that they do —it looks amateur and they leave almost right after they visit.
Having a quality website is essential to making [a company] a success. User experience is key in satisfying customers and keeping them on there long enough to purchase your services or products. Paying for an experienced designer will lead to a well-designed website that is optimized for search engines.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.