DIY WEBSITES: What you need to know!

Building a website used to be hard work that required extensive coding knowledge, a sizeable budget, and lots of time. Today, building a website is as easy as dragging and dropping pictures and text boxes. There’s less of an excuse than ever to not have a DIY website that’s all your own.
Today I had the pleasure of being an Expert Advisor on Startup Canada (@Startup_Canada) #startupchats on Twitter to answer questions about what DIY (Do-It-yourself) website designers/developers needs to know about creating their own website. 

Here are my answers to the questions posed:

  1. What are the pros and cons of a DIY website?
    DIY (do-it-yourself) websites are popular with startup businesses & lean startups due to lower cost, however, it’s critical to seek guidance as you often only get one chance to make a great first impression and DIY-er do not know what they don’t know.

  2. What’s your experience with building websites? Does your business have one or do you use other platforms & why might some businesses not have a site?
    I was one of the first website designers in Canada and launched my first website in 1995. Unless you are a covert operation, EVERY business needs a website if only to make their phone number easy to find.

  3. What platforms are available to host your site? What are your favourites and what do you use? 
    There are a plethora of platforms to host your website today however when I’m asked I suggest hosting locally with WordPress — the most popular content management system.

  4. How do you determine the purpose of your website? How does this affect which platform you choose to build on?
    The first step for me is to meet/liaise with major stakeholders and create a website strategy that describes how the website will best meet business objectives & serve stakeholders. Understanding the client’s needs makes choosing the best platform easy.

  5. How do you choose the right domain name for your website? How can you get creative when so many are already taken & what are the best practices for this?
    I’ve written many blog posts about how domain name best practices, including how to choose the right domain name for your website, why multiple extensions are indicated, etc.

  6. Where can you find best practices for website layout while building out pages? Who are the leaders in website design?
    There are tons of great resources online about creating a winning website layout @w3c @GoogleMyBiz @CrazyEgg to awards sites, and of course what works and what doesn’t work for those that rank higher for your keywords…

  7. Once you’ve built your site, how do you test it? How many times should it be tested and at what stages?
    Websites should be tested regularly, including every time there’s been an update to CMS, plugins, themes or the server. As well, UAT (User Acceptance Testing) procedures should be put into place.

  8. How can you set up payment systems on your DIY website?
    There are a plethora of payment systems that range in cost & complexity. From free buttons that allow you to sell one item to #ShoppingCart plugins you install into your #WordPress website, to instant website solutions like @Shopify & @amazon offer.

  9. What happens if you get hacked? How can you avoid breaches, especially data breaches for your site?
    Backups are your best friend if you get hacked, but to avoid breaches, ensure all software, hosting, WordPress, themes, plugins are updated regularly, that passwords are not easy to guess, and of course, that all employees are #cyberaware

  10. At what point should a business call it quits and hire a website builder externally? How much does this usually cost?
    If the budget is available, a professionally designed website is always the preferred option. Costs to create a website vary based on how much; information you want to display, design work required for your brand, functionality e.g. shopping carts, content you provide and the extent to which you optimize it.

  11. Any final words of advice for entrepreneurs looking to build their website from scratch?
    Whether professional or DIY, website design is key to success, because statistics show 94% of first-impressions are design-driven & nearly half your web visitors will decide in less than half a second.

    If you don’t have the budget to do it yourself, consult with experts and learn what it is that you don’t know.

    If your website is more than a couple years old chances are it’s time for a review to find out what’s holding you back. Chances are your website is not secure, mobile-friendly, accessible, responsive, fast-loading or fully optimized.

    Find out what’s holding you back!  Download my whitepaper
    11 Easy Website Tests You Can Do Yourself“, call 1-800-579-9253 and ask for a complimentary consultation, or book me online here…