Squarespace, the DIY website provider, spent approximately $5 Million on their super bowl ad to convince you that if Keanu Reeves can create his own website so can you. After all, creating a website is as elementary as standing the back of a motorcycle…hmmm.
And they weren’t the only ones. Wix also splurged on their super bowl ad, tapping YouTube celebrity duo Rhett & Link to show you how easy it is to drag and drop. Anyone can do that!
But in their 30-second, multi-million dollar pitches they leave out of few of the finer details that go into website creation.
It’s true, DIY websites can be easy to use. But the ability to drag and drop does not necessarily result in an attention-grabbing website that’s going to connect with your audience and drive your business forward. In fact, it could do quite the opposite.
“Launching a poorly executed website is like showing up to a job interview in your pajamas. You immediately lose all credibility,” explains Matt Kustka, Creative Director, Good Soup Creative. “I understand the desire to save money, especially for small businesses, but your website is more than an online business card. It’s a reflection of you and what you’re like to work with.”
Your website isn’t just a first impression either. Very often you’ll meet someone networking, they’ll like you, they’ll take your card, they’ll sit down to call you, but first they’ll visit your website. If it doesn’t look as good as your competition’s website that’s probably the end of it.
So, does that mean no one should create their own website? No, of course not. But before you do, you need to carefully consider these four key elements of website development essential to effectively engage an audience and whether or not you have the time and skill set to execute them.
- Site Planning & Architecture: Do you understand how your audience evaluates companies like yours, on the web, in relationship to your competition? Do you know what pages they’ll expect to see or specific calls-to-action that will engage them?
- Copywriting: You’ve heard it before; It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Can you convey your message in a way that your audience will respond to?
- Design: DIY sites offer templates (pre-made layouts), but from there the design is entirely up to you. Do you have the design skills to select and edit captivating photos, understand the importance of typography and effect the mood of your audience through color selection?
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): What’s the point of having a website if, no one sees it. Do you understand how to set up at least basic SEO parameters?
If these are things you have a clear vision for and you have the time to do it, then go for it, sites like Wix or Squarespace may be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you’re unsure of anything on the list or if you’re too busy running your business, it’s a better idea reach out to a professional.