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«Return to Blog List Why DIY websites are not in business owners’ best interests

Good Intentions

Good intentions don't always yield good results.

You’ve seen the ads and you’ve seen the websites made with Do-it-Yourself web builders: Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and several others. There are even a couple of WordPress themes that come pretty close to turning WordPress into a DIY platform, Divi being perhaps the best-known.

I don’t doubt the folks who developed these tools thought they were providing a valuable service that would benefit website owners. And surely, a few have benefited. But most site owners who use DIY platforms have a website that doesn’t begin to meet their needs.

Is Expertise an Outmoded Concept?

It reminds me of when PageMaker came along (late 80s/early 90s) and convinced everyone that secretaries could design company newsletters (remember print-based newsletters?). As though inadequate technology had been the only thing preventing secretaries from being designers and layout artists. Eventually, people began to understand that handing someone a piece of software doesn’t make them a designer, just like handing someone a hammer doesn’t make them a carpenter, and handing someone a microphone doesn’t make them a singer.

Until Artificial Intelligence develops to the point that human judgment and expertise is inferior or redundant, DIY websites will nearly always show signs of lack of expertise and judgment. Worse, the DIY builder locks site owners into its existing solutions, which were built with a be-all-things-to-all-people approach, with no means of providing a truly customized solution. So, site owners get something sort of close, but not exactly what they want, and they learn to live with it.

Do Site Owners Really Want to Design Their Own Sites?

Well, clearly a lot of site owners think they do. But I’ve talked to many who changed their mind after a few weeks of struggling with it. They concluded that there are a lot of other things their business needs them to do – things they’re good at doing, and enjoy doing. After fooling around with a DIY site builder, many are frustrated and more than willing to turn the project over to a professional.

Does DIY Save Money?

I understand the value of saving money. Maybe, in the short run, you can save some money with a DIY site, but it’s not free. If you factor in the value of the time spent creating the site (your time has value, right?), there are often minimal or no savings compared to hiring a web developer. And DIY monthly hosting fees can be higher than hosting on a good business-grade webhost. 

DIY Platform Limitations

Customization – DIY website builders offer options, but most have to do with appearance, and you pretty much have to go with what they offer. As opposed to options, customization of how things work isn’t something that’s available. DIY platforms are closed systems, rather than open source, so unless they offer customization as part of their service, it ain’t gonna happen.

Shared Hosting – DIY platforms host on their servers, so you don’t have full control over your own content or the hosting environment. Shared hosting is terrible for performance, because your site shares bandwidth with other sites on the server. You have no control over the hosting environment, no mechanism for taking steps to improve performance. 

No Backup – Most DIY builders don’t allow full backup of your website. If you ever decide to move to another platform (and sooner or later you will), you may be looking at a complete do-over, starting with your content.

Does Working with a Web Developer Guarantee No Problems?

Obviously not. It’s important to find a competent, talented, and trustworthy web designer/developer to work with. Then, listen to their recommendations and take advantage of their hard-earned judgment and experience. A good web developer can create a website that functions as an online business tool. They can provide support in resolving website and hosting issues, and they can implement new features and upgrades that adapt to the changing needs of your business. 

Who’s going to do that for you at Weebly?

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