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October 2, 2013
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Web Development: The Truth About DIY

Just because everyone lives in a house, it doesn't mean they know how to build one.

DIY Web Development

By now you probably know that being without a website today means the same as not having a store front 40 years ago. It's professional suicide and you're allowing all sorts of foot traffic to stroll by. Well, the Age of Malls and store fronts is over as websites spring up all over the digital world. You're good at what you do and that's why people pay you (and your employees) for your expertise and know-how. Even if you want to engage in website Do It Yourself (DIY), ask yourself this question: 40 years ago, would you have  built your own store front?

There are great advantages to DIY:

1. ‘Hire' your friends and relatives via free lunches to pound in shingles and lay on roofing tile (i.e. write content and code, and figure out Google ‘algorithms')

2. The satisfaction of being able to point out to your investors and inheritors that it's all hand-made (Write press releases and Pinterest photos of it!)

3. Saving money to plow back into your business branding.

There can also be serious consequences for DIY instead of hiring a professional:

1. The roof leaks and the customers aren't impressed with your Bucket Technique (the mysterious problem with the shopping cart or microsite)

2. Nobody can find your hand-carved front door from the street (the great Flash design can't be seen by 50% of your target market: Apple-loving customers)

3. The toilet always overflows, because the pipes were installed on a slightly wrong gradient (you bought the wrong size server and there are constant shutdowns)

4. Three years to finish the storefront ate into your profit margins (your expertise may be wasted on figuring out how to make something work, as your core business gets neglected)

Tips Before You DIY

It's not the responsibility of Facebook, Google or Yelp to determine the consistency of your branding and message, so know the answers before you DIY:

  • Knowledge: If you don't know how to optimize for mobile devices, you're missing out on the 40% internet traffic segment trying to view your website on a small screen.
  • Search Engines: Google accounts for 66% of online searches, followed by 17% (Bing), and 12% (Yahoo). What does your website need to be Google-friendly?
  • Marketing: Like engineers, good website designers don't always know how to build a marketing-friendly website. Think about blinking words, animated gifs, and too many background colors. It's eye-catchingly annoying, and will away your prospects.
  • Communication: Besides a built-in contact page and blog page, you'll also need an information exchange (“your email for my free e-book!”), and connections to social media.

Customers, these days, are more impatient online than ever. KISS Metrics says that there's a 25% greater chance of ‘page abandonment' after it takes a website 4 seconds to load on a computer, and over 50% of people will abandon a page loading on their phone after 20 seconds. 44% said they'd tell their friends about a bad website experience. Every 1 second of delay means a 7% loss of conversions (people not buying from your site).

The Cost of Delays

If you don't have time or money to lose, it may be worth asking a pro to build you a website – so you can get back to doing what you do best.

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