Tempted to use cheap or DIY websites?
Maybe you are slightly tech savvy, i.e. the thought of using a computer doesn’t repel you – perfect. However… you make the mistake of being tempted to use free or bargain basement websites or even DIY websites. Now the issue here is that cheap is cheap for a reason. Web designers practice and train for years in order to build professional quality and competitive websites and there is a lot more involved with the success of a website, than just finding the cheapest hosting possible and sticking a page or two on.
Choosing a template purely on looks (and not considering the functionality)
You can’t afford a professional web designer, or… maybe you don’t understand or value what they do (trust me there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes); you know about DIY websites so you have decided to find a free or cheap template, knock together a wordpress installation using a free builder and stick on a template.
How did you get to this point?
Well you went on what it looks like – you chose a template which represents something close to how your website should look, but before you buy it and install it, you generally have no idea how it will tie in with your website’s needs. You’re new to this – that’s expected.
So what do you do? Well carry on of course – you’ve already decided your plan of action, but now you try to fill it with content, get confused by the functions built into the template (which were made for the specific purpose of the templates usage, not yours) and end up hashing something together because you just need a “shop front” to your business.
End result? – your website isn’t frequently updated, any changes are hard to do, things don’t line up correctly, maybe it is no longer optimised for mobile, you’ve still left in the theme creators social media links.
You’ve probably also forgot to SEO it (finding out how to do this after going through the above ordeal is too much for the moment, and you aim to come back to it with all good intentions). Truth is you will never come back to it – you are in the making money business, you make money through your business or company and that is what you are good at. You are a smart entrepreneur, you understand opportunity cost; Time equals money, and time spent working slowly on your website is time not spent running your business.
This is why web developers and designers exist, and exactly why we at Rido Media work closely with you when building your websites, right from the start beginning with numerous business analysis techniques and consultations before we even come to a an agreement on your website. Plan your project and fix your existing mistakes now.
Using a cheap template
So, as above you have decided on DIY websites and to use a template – thats fine, we understand your decision, you aren’t to know.
It’s common knowledge that you pay cheap, you pay twice (whether the second time is having to redo your website, the poor performance of the website, or… the hidden malicious code that is often included to post adverts and links on your website without your control (this can be penalised by Google) and even the backdoors they’ve created to compromise your hosting’s security).
You can’t predict at this point what is going to happen if you fall unlucky with this one, and the fact you’ve gone this route in the first place, suggests that you wouldn’t understand what to do in order to rectify it (that’s why you hire the professionals in the first place).
Also why is a template cheap? It’s possible that (especially in the malware situations) that you’ve managed to acquire an illegitimate copy (a whole other can of legal worms, plus does the temptation of DIY websites outweigh the risk?), or rather that the template is malnutritioned with regards to quality, features, and standards required for use on multiple devices, screen sizes, browsers and operating systems across the world.
How do we know all this? As professional web developers, we work with code all day, every day. We know what to look out for… plus we are the guys you hire to fix it or rebuild the website properly when you pull the short straw. You know it doesn’t make business sense to take a gamble on your assets, so don’t do it.
Confusing site structure and navigation
Ok, so enough about templates – now we talk about an existing website that’s grown out of it’s shell and blossomed… into some form of frankenstein’s monster. That’s exactly it, your website started off and was perfect for its use but you grew and you weren’t sure how to grow the website with it, other than to add more pages until the site became so confusing that clients stopped using your site and your bounce rate increased.
Or maybe, a nephew who is “good with computers” built you a website that just turned out to be an ugly duckling that never had the potential to turn into the swan.
Either way, if your navigation is too big, the pages are in the wrong places, and there is no logical sense, meaning your customers have a hard time – it just isn’t working. The whole reason you are reading this article is because something drew you to it – you’re not happy with your site and this could be the reason why.
You have a few options:
- Reduce the number of your pages (delete your work)
- Remove the links (harder to find your work)
- Pay for a developer to modify your existing site to work (remember this already is some form of frankenstein’s monster)
- Rebuild your site with a professional (an opportunity to rebrand, rebuild, improve multiple aspects, remove any other issues, and do it right).
We both know you don’t need anybody telling you what’s best for your business, you’re the driving force behind your business, you know what is best so we will leave you to make the right decision.
Not implementing a strong SEO strategy
I don’t know what you understand about SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, but it is a complex beast.
The purpose of SEO is to build a strong relationship with your website and the search engines, telling them what your website is about and how important it is. Fine, but how do you do it, how do you compete with your competitors (they’ve paid for the professionals) and you are working on it yourself. It can work, but it won’t be easy. You may be tempted by all of the cheap offers to increase your SEO but this does greater harm than good (Google penalises bad practices and blacklists websites).
What are the first basic steps you can do?
- Regular content
- Keyword research
- Correct heading structures
- Correct use of links
- Fixing redirects with correct qualifiers
Now, of course this is mostly simple in principle to do, and I encourage you to actively do it – the more you understand the task involved, the more you understand the importance of it. Of course though, you are telling the search engines (lets use Google here) what to rank you for, and if you do it without care or inaccurately, Google will get mixed signals and your relationship will end up down a road you never anticipated… meaning you may increase your traffic, but albeit from the wrong kind of people.
Plus… you can’t forget that Google needs content, and again time spent building content is time not directly building the business – it’s time to hire a copywriter.
Avoiding analytical implementation
Here is a big one that seems to get neglected, especially with DIY websites.
People either don’t know about it, don’t use it, or ignore the statistics it produces.
Why? Well that’s easy – it’s complicated to use (again they are always changing the game here, and often many professionals don’t understand how to use it correctly – poor, I agree!).
So whats the purpose?
We recently worked with a client who needed a revamp of their website portfolio in order to increase the conversion rate, but as part of our pre-project service, we developed upon their ideal customer profile or avatar, and analysed their existing customer base. However, we delved deeper into their existing statistics in order to produce a strong web marketing strategy for the future website, introduced them to their existing analytics and managed to determine that over half of their traffic actually came from London, rather than Northampton (this was something the client who had been running their business for half a decade had no idea about). This meant that we were able to determine that the PPC campaign we will be due to launch will now be targeted to London, effectively targeting and capturing more of the main customer, instead of pouring money down the drain with a poor web marketing strategy.
So what does this go to say, without analytics, you are effectively in the dark. Use the findings from analytics to develop how to strategize your online business presence – target the right people, provide specific information that they want to see, tone down marketing efforts to the wrong markets and safe money.
The use of analytics is vast, without it you are pouring opportunity away and heading in the wrong direction. Develop a solid web strategy and improve your ROI.