With so many website builder apps available does it still make sense to employ a professional web developer to build your website, or should you just do it yourself using an app?
We’ve been building websites for over fifteen years, and throughout that time there have been website builder programs available. They allow a keen amateur to get a simple website online for themselves. They are often affordable too!
All website builder apps advertise their system as being super simple and quick to use. If you believe the advertising, you might imagine having a super slick website online in minutes and a queue of new customers within the hour! But just how realistic is that?
The first thing you’ll need to choose is the template design. Builder apps will offer you dozens, if not hundreds, to choose from. You’ll probably choose something that you ‘like the look of’ and dive right in adding some content.
But wait, is that design right for your potential customer base? What content blocks do you need for the pages you’ll be adding and does the template have them? In fact, what pages do you need anyway?
With a builder app it’s common to build several sites around different designs before you arrive at something that really works. This can take hours and hours of changes, frustration and even complete abandonment.
All this hassle can be avoided if you have someone that has hard-earned experience in what will work and what wont. In fact, a good web professional wont start with the template design at all. They’ll start by looking at things like user journey’s, visitor flow and performance objectives…
Once a template design is chosen it’s time to start adding content. Now, most companies, big or small, have some text and images they’ve used before - maybe for print brochures, company listings and even social media posts. So, these get dropped into the app to fill in all those parts of the page that need text and images. Job done, right? Nope.
Firstly, web copy is different from print copy and social media copy. It needs to be the right length and in the right voice and to support the visitor’s journey through the website at the time it appears.
Again, this is where a web professional adds skills that are so important. They will look at each block on each page and craft (or at least recommend) the right copy and right image for each part. They can properly size images so that they look sharp on any device and load quickly.
It's easy to think that, once every page has content, the website will just work, and new customers will just arrive. However, the truth is that there are dozens of other factors that contribute to the performance of a website.
For example, you’ll probably be aware of the need for good SEO. But do you also now how to craft proper meta data, page schema, social sharing tags, newsletter subscription integration? Do you know how to install and analyse the performance of Google Tags and Analytics?
A true web professional will be an expert in these fields and not only look after these aspects at launch, but can also constantly analyse their performance and tweak where necessary.
Now you might be thinking “Ah, but I can learn all of these things, can’t I?” Well maybe you can. The internet is full of useful information, and you can always practice these skills until you get them right. But should you?
The honest answer is that it depends if you have the time. Your time is worth something, often more than you think, and there’s normally something more profitable for you to be doing.
When you employ a professional you know you’re not only getting the time they spend on your project but also the thousands of hours they’ve spent learning their craft too. Using a professional is simply the most efficient & highest value way to build a website and the end results are usually far superior too.