Servicing Nanaimo, Victoria, Duncan, Ladysmith, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Courtenay, Campbell River, and other locations on Vancouver Island as well as clients world wide.

JAMAXX Web Design

affordable sites that are hard working... not hard to work on


Woman frustrated with DIY website results.In recent years, the option of Do It Yourself web design services have become more prevalent. Companies like moonfruit, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and many others have bombarded the market, offering the opportunity for businesses to create their own websites, using their easy to use software, in a short amount of time, for little cost or even no cost at all. Many of these services have spent a lot of money on marketing their services, so you may already be familiar with at least a few of these services. You may already be thinking to yourself, "I need a website for my business, but my budget is limited. Cheap, fast and easy seems like the perfect option for me. And the ads I saw sure made it look like something I could do."

A DIY website builder may be a great solution for you, but in my opinion, in almost all cases, a DIY site is not the best solution for most businesses. Fast cheap and easy enough to do it yourself are great selling points, but when considering a DIY site over hiring a professional designer, there are some important things to consider.

If all you require is a place on the web where you can send traffic to get get basic information about your business, and you are not concerned about generating traffic (to convert to leads), establishing your brand on the internet or providing an optimal user experience for users and potential customers, then a professional designer is overqualified to meet your needs. A DIY site builder would be a viable option for most people under those circumstances.

Most businesses require:

  • a unique design that reflects the company's brand in a professional manner
  • that the user has an optimal experience when using the site (in this context, the “user” is anyone visiting your site from the front end)
    • pertinent information should be easy to find within 1 or 2 clicks
    • the user should be able to understand what your business is about after arriving on any page
    • the user should be able to intuitively understand how to navigate the site
    • information should be obvious and easy to read and understand quickly
    • Information should never be difficult to understand or read.
    • If a user wants to contact you, there should be obvious ways for the user to do so
    • the experience should be consistent from page to page, so the user does not have to re-learn how to use the site from one page to another
  • the design should allow for optimal viewing on varying screen sizes on various mobile browsing devices
  • the design coding should make it easy for search engines to index site pages and understand the content you offer, allowing your site to be appropriately ranked in search results.
  • the design should allow for easy changes to content and also to overall design as the site grows and needs change
  • the design should allow for the addition of customizable plugins or programs that allow for greater site functionality as the need for these arise (think shopping carts, galleries, online booking, live chat, support, social sharing buttons etc.)
  • the design and formatting of content should take into account important design elements like space, typography, contrast, balance, color theory, etc.
  • content and design should all work together in such a way that a goal is accomplished (in many cases the goal is generating leads and customers)

As you can see, there is more to consider for a site than just a page or pages with your logo and some information about your business. DIY website builders allow anyone to build that kind of site easily and inexpensively, if none of the other requirements are of consideration. If you want a site that meets all of the criteria, a DIY site builder will also be able to meet many of the other requirements... if you have the experience and knowledge of a web designer.

1 in 1000 may have the knowledge and experience required, but most using a DIY site builder will not have any idea of how to utilize design element and layout in a way that provides an optimal user experience and achieves a goal, nor should they be expected to. That is the milieu of the professional web designer. It is his bread and butter. He is comfortable in it and uses his expertise and experience everyday. A non experienced layman, more often that not, might be able to recognize a good design but does not have the ability to implement it. That is why many of the DIY services also provide professional web designer services. They also realize that how the site content is presented is as important (often more important) than just being able to present it at all.

You might now be saying to yourself, "Hold on! I have seen the commercials where a businessman or woman, with no web design knowledge or experience, made a beautiful functional site in minutes! How do you explain that if web design requires so much more experience than we laymen have?"

In response I want you to consider a television ad for any fast food burger franchise. I bet you are imagining an absolutely perfect burger being served by a friendly and attractive server. Am I right? Is that burger perfect? Is the bun fluffed up as though it just came out of an oven and was never packaged? Is the patty perfectly centred and thick, with a square cheese slice perfectly melting and just enough onion and tomato showing so you realize they are fresh and abundant in that burger? Of course it is. I want one now. You probably do to.

Now consider all of the times you have ordered one of those burgers and it looked like it did in the commercials. If you are like me the answer is "It has never looked that good". Not even close. If the burger were accurately represented in a tv ad, it would not be nearly as effective as an ideal representation.

Similarly, when a DIY site building service advertises, it is not in their best interest to show an accurate representation of what the average person could create using their product. They show an ideal representation of what could be created. Just like that perfect tv ad hamburger was prepared by an artist, experienced in food presentation techniques, an experienced web designer was used to design that website in the DIY website builder ad, and it was very carefully planned and designed (not whipped up in a few minutes). To be fair, I do think the designer actually used the advertising company's product.

A professional web designer (a good one) will have experience, knowledge and tools to meet all of the requirements listed above, and will be able to offer you a multitude of options to meet those requirements, according to your needs and budget. Yes, a hired professional is more expensive than doing it yourself, but you are paying for the years of knowledge and experience they bring to the table. That knowledge and experience makes the difference between a fast, cheap site that no one sees and generates no leads, and a site that reflects your business and meets all of your business requirements.

I am not saying that the DIY option is never a good one, but I am saying that it is important to consider what you are actually getting with a DIY service, and what things only a qualified and experienced professional can provide. In considering those things, you are better able to weigh the cost of savings against the value you may not be getting with the DIY option.

Richmond Lauman
JAMAXX Web Design

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DIY Sites for Business by Richmond Lauman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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