not-build-websiteMaybe you’ve had this experience…You’re starting a new business or blog and you know you need a website. You think, “I’ll just throw up my own site. It’s easy enough.” You do some research and find an enormous range of website options – from the free basic site, to custom designed options costing tens of thousands of dollars. You end up indecisive and more confused and overwhelmed than ever.

There are few other “products” in the marketplace that offer such wide ranges of options and price points. It’s safe to say that not all websites are created equal. For many purposes, a DIY website is completely the way to go. But for many others, it’s not. Typically, cost is the main determining factor as to whether or not someone decides to create their own site. However, that’s not the only factor you should consider.

Don’t DIY Unless You Can Handle It

If you’re trying which route to go, consider these things:

  • What is your computer/internet skill level? Things get techy and a little nerdy at times. Make sure you can handle your head spinning a little when you hear the words responsive images or browser compatibility. If you don’t have someone else who’s got your back here, you need to know these terms.
  • How much patience do you have? Sometimes websites don’t work and you don’t know why. The key to solving problems is being able to patiently test things that seem like minutia and search for answers. AND, to do it over and over again.
  • How well do you retain information and learn new technical things? This will be key to determining how much ibuprofen you should have on hand at all times.

Not everyone should attempt to make their own website – even the most basic of sites. Use the buddy system and make sure you have a resource to go to when you need help. (But don’t expect to get it for free if that resource is a web professional.)

Don’t Do Something Because Everyone Else Is Doing It

Didn’t your mother ever tell you, “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” The same goes on the interwebs. Some of the silliest trends in website design happen because everyone thinks they should have the newest, flashiest thing everyone else has without researching if it’s a best practice or not. Make sure a particular design style, placement of content, or latest bell & whistle will be well-received by your unique audience and will help them find information easily.

The best way to assure you are making sound decisions about your site is to never stop learning and try to absorb as much advice and recommendations from professionals as you can. To get you started, here’s a free video tutorial series by yours truly that will help finally get you going on the right track to website success.

Don’t Get Too Excited When You Cross The Finish Line

Perhaps the reason most websites don’t generate traffic or make sales is because website owners tend to think once the site is up, their job is done. There’s a misconception that all you need is some of that magic search engine optimization glitter for your site, and the traffic will flow. Not so fast, Cinderella! Maybe that was the case 15 years ago, but not any more. Your website needs to be constantly evolving. Search engines (and humans!) want to see fresh material on your site. There’s nothing more likely to kill your site than when it’s exactly the same as it was the last time someone visited.

Likewise, when it comes to creating your site, there doesn’t have to be a magic reveal. We’d all love to imagine that the moment our site is launched, we’ll get hundreds or thousands of hits almost instantly. That almost never happens. Usually, the site sits for a while and has to generate visits one at a time. So, avoid the tendency to strive for perfection the first time around. Focus, instead, on putting something up (but make sure it’s not garbage), then continue to tweak it little by little. Just as soon as you think you’re done tweaking, you’ll want to change something else. Yes, there may be periods of bigger improvements and changes than others, but you don’t need to reach “done”. Just get used to your site being under continual improvement.

What are some other things you’ve experienced that are getting in the way of creating your website? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.