Web design and Content Management today! I have been in the business of building corporate websites since 1994 and have had an LLC that focuses on nothing but digital marketing since 1996. And, over the past 2+ decades, I have always yearned for a way to allow my clients a way to do things for themselves. I remember back in 1996 when new clients would ask the age old question, “If I have you build a website, can I make my own changes without having to pay you”? Back then, the answer was always “yes”, but the drawback was the fact that it would have taken way more to make that happen than it was worth. Looking back, I realize that more than 85% of my clients would have been better served paying for their updates as needed, rather than paying me upfront to build out a Content Management System that would allow them to make their own changes. And even as awesome as it sounds, the reality is, most clients never have the time to make their own changes.
So, let’s assume you have already done your research and you have decided that you already know more about graphic design, SEO, SMO, hosting, and maybe a few other things that would help you overcome any unforeseen things that might arise as you forge ahead with your website than a seasoned web developer knows. That’s a bold assumption. But, nevertheless, you are determined to do your own thing. Great! But there are several things you need to be aware of.
If you have never built your own website, there are several things you need to take into consideration:
- Do you have experience in graphic design?
- Can you optimize images for use on the web and do you understand the differences between a .jpg, .png, .gif, .pdf, .mov. and their applications, etc.?
- Can you write? Do you know the acceptable guidelines for writing content?
- Do you know what longtail keywords are and how to implement them into your content without violating acceptable guidelines?
- Do you know how to install Google Analytics on the site and use the webmaster tools to research and improve your organic results?
Since the early days, much has been accomplished. Back in the day, we pretty much had to develop a made from scratch way for our clients to update their pages. Since then, we’ve seen several Content Management Systems surface. Some greater than others. To me, as a developer, I find it very satisfying to have well supported CMS platforms like WordPress available. When you are selecting a content management system to build you website on, there are things you should know. For instance, did you know that if you choose Wix as your platform to create your new website on, you are stuck with Wix forever. Once your website is built, you can’t take it anywhere else. They have a proprietary platform that requires it to remain on their servers. Additionally, let’s say you already have a site built on Wix and you are tired of the template you picked and decide to change it up. Think again. You have to start all over again and repopulated the new design.
Having something plug and play works for sites that aren’t intended to be longterm, like a campaign website. Build it fast and let it run for a year and then take it down. Same goes for other short lived projects. However, if you’re in it for the long haul, consider at least engaging in a consultation session with an experienced designer who can point you in the right direction. The decisions you make up front can mean the difference between smooth sailing and never ending regrets. With any template-based DIY website maker like GoDaddy, Squarespace, or Wix, you’ll likely need to sacrifice something along the way.
When you do business with me, I can offer nearly 25 years of experience and ensure you won’t be painted in a corner. I have yet to meet someone who designed their own website with one of the DIY sites that could honestly say they made the best decision.