By Randa Clay

In increasingly competitive markets, business owners are always looking to reduce costs so when creating or updating websites, they may choose to search for do-it-yourself tools to build a site. This may appear to be simple using pre-made templates, but, what you don’t know could cost you more in the long run. So what are the potential pitfalls?

cryingConfused customers

Expectations are high and attention spans are low. When browsing the Internet, potential customers will not patiently search far and wide for your site. If they cannot see it on the first screen, they will move on. You cannot afford to lose those customers simply because your website is hard to find or confusing when discovered.

Experienced website developers can make your products and services easy to locate. And, visitors need to have a rewarding experience on your site whether they are browsing on a personal computer, phone or tablet. Often, sites look fine on a computer, but terrible on mobile device screens. Even your current customers may eventually jump ship if your website is consistently difficult to navigate. And, web development professionals can help you devise ways to keep your visitors coming back.

Poor communication

In addition to the development, focused messaging is needed to clearly communicate your value proposition.. You may have great product offerings, but if there is a lack of clear, consistent communication and no compelling reason to do business with you, they will move on. Even with clearly presented messaging, this communication is lost if your site loads slowly. Visitors will simply click the “back” button and go to another site. Working with a team of professionals in communication and design will yield in a site that grabs visitor attention quickly and engages them.

Bad impression of your brand

There are a lot of nice looking website templates available, and it can be tempting to look at them and think, “Why do I need to hire a website developer when I can just buy this template for $39.95 and do the website myself?” You can, if you don’t mind looking just like a thousand other sites. First impressions are everything, and your site is a representation of your unique brand. A cookie cutter site sends the message that you are just like all of your competitors.

Lack of support

Work on a website does not end when the site is live. Every website needs maintenance, updates and changes, as well as quick response when hacked, or other problems occur. Skillful site developers are not only equipped to quickly address problems that may come up, they can anticipate common issues and prevent them from occurring. If your site is down, you lose business. If you choose a big hosting provider that spends a lot on advertising but offers poor service at a higher than necessary price, you lose money. When you make what seems like a simple change, and suddenly your whole page is displaying incorrectly, it can take hours for an inexperienced person to find a resolution. Google will blacklist sites with hacks that go undetected and unresolved. A website is much more complex than designing a brochure you produce once and never need to worry about again. An experienced team can keep your site running smoothly and give you peace of mind knowing that if something does go wrong, you have the support to get things back on track quickly.

Missed opportunities

Beyond site design, working with an expert to analyze your site’s traffic can increase knowledge about potential customers, and provide education in search engine optimization best practices. Experts can keep your site in the higher rankings by installing code for tracking and analytics. If properly installed, good analytics provide tremendous information, but SEO is a deep subject that changes constantly, as search engine companies regularly revise their algorithms.

Your time is valuable and should be spent on what you do best. Time spent on a DIY website project means time away from growing your business. Your website is a primary communication channel and should be a compelling and consistent representation of your brand.

Let us help you take your website, your brand and your multi-channel communications to a high level of professionalism! Contact Susan Carol Creative today.