DIY Websites – cheap and cheerful but no recipe for success

DIY WebsitesWith companies like VistaPrint offering businesses DIY off-the-shelf packages it is becoming increasingly easy to set-up and get your company online. But do these ‘build in a box’ solutions harness the core success factors that can make or break your web presence?

Accessibility –This is a legal requirement under disability and discrimination law and should be built into all websites. Accessible web design should support visually impaired site users and those with limited limb movement. It also covers what devices your site can be viewed on – from a PC or laptop to a smart phone or tablet.

Usability – Is your site user friendly? Can they find all the information they are looking for and complete actions efficiently? User centric design enables visitors easily to navigate your site and purchase, enquire, register or interact with the richest experience possible.

Structure – Labelling content into headings and navigation sections not only assists with SEO aims but also makes information more findable by your visitors.

Web standards – Does your off-the-shelf solution comply with W3C web standards? This refers to consistency in the way the site is coded (written) and displayed in different browsers.

Delivery of results – Stock templates, layouts and navigation may be easy to ‘build’ but they may not deliver the business results you are looking for. The lack of flexibility from these solutions may restrict you from emphasizing specific content and offers and reduce your ability to lead visitors down a specific pathway to achieve a business goal. With any website you need to consider its purpose and what you want to get out of it so you can measure its success.

Visual design – If you have very specific brand guidelines in regards to logo placement, colours and fonts then stock template designs may not offer you the flexibility you need to display you Brand. The other disadvantage of stock templates are that there is going to be an increased risk of another company having a site which looks exactly like yours – and it may be your competitor! Bespoke design enables you to differentiate yourself within your market and across the whole of the internet.

Analytics – Not all ‘build in a box’ packages offer you comprehensive analytics with which to track and monitor your website traffic and visitor pathways. You may get the number of visitors and some basic metrics but if you want more detail it’s better to add Google Analytics to your site (all our builds come with Google Analytics).

Legal requirements – They are many laws around web presence, too many to go into in this blog post so we’re going to dedicate one specifically in the coming weeks to make you aware of the most pertinent.

Marketing – It would be great if you could just build a website and leave it alone to do its magic. But unfortunately in the competitive world of SEO, search results and business it’s just not possible. You want to be able to easily update your content, change things around, add new products and keep it fresh. If you package solution won’t let you do this or is difficult then your website will not be working as hard as it could be for you.

At the end of the day your company website is an investment of time and money and can be truly awesome. It can generate leads, convert visitors to customers and foster ongoing relationships with your client base. A bespoke to you website does not have to cost the earth and can be budgeted for and built in phases. With the input of a developer all the above considerations can be factored in to ensure your website delivers the results you want to see.