“Anyone Can Build A Website” – But It’s Your Risk.
By Mike Hauben
A story about what happened when a previous client of mine took over their own website and ignored professional advice, and how these types of decisions will impact their success going forward.
It’s absolutely true – nearly anyone can make a website nowadays. With all the free tools and “easy online website builders” on the market, you may sometimes wonder why you’d need to hire a professional web developer. It’s a common question and usually takes up at least a few minutes of conversation when I’m discussing a website with a potential new client.
It’s not just the technical skills that a pro brings to the table.
It’s not just the design background that will help a pro make your site look much more impressive.
But perhaps most importantly, its having the UI and UX knowledge to make your website a success.
What is UI and UX?
UI stands for User Interface and UX stands for User Experience. Both these things are used together by professional web developers to deliver the best possible browsing experience to your website visitor. A highly skilled web designer will help design your website in a way thats designed correctly to succeed. Often times, this means creating a layout that encourages website visitors to browse the site correctly to get them to the checkout page or “make an appointment” page. Other times, it’s about making sure the design of the site does not hinder the overall experience of the visitor, which I’ll get to in a moment with my story.
These types of things are easy to ignore for most people. It’s easy to think that a website is just a place to showcase your products, but it’s not. It’s actually sales funnel. It’s a place to showcase your products but also create sales momentum. There are a lot of small things – proper call to actions, color contrast, proper locations and layout concepts, and other things that each page should have – that will maximize the chances of getting each website visitor to actually become a customer.
Yes, anyone really can just go onto Wix or some quick free website builder. It’s simple to go on there, throw your logo up on the page with a couple pictures, and claim you have a website. But there really is no replacement for hiring someone who knows how to make a website that actually works for their business.
The Risk Of Doing It Yourself
I had a client last year who ultimately decided they’d rather save money and create their own website instead of move forward with the contract they signed with me.
Bummer. It happens. Nice guys, though.
But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about the website they’ve now launched instead of the type of site a pro would have made them.
The website they launched themselves is a little basic – the visuals aren’t bad. However, the site seriously struggles in the User Experience department. When the company rebranded their image this year, they wanted to use various iconic New York landmarks and skylines in their branding. Really cool idea! However, if I were a visitor on their website, I would not know that it was a jewelry brand’s website. I would think this was a New York architectural website, showing off the city.
Even the homepage video – which is the ONLY thing on the homepage – shows no jewelry. None. It’s a video of New York skylines.
Clicking their “collections” page brings me to a page that shows NO jewelry, but instead various New York scenery. In order to actually see any jewelry on this website, I have to hunt through the site and literally guess which type of New York landmark will take me to each type of jewelry category. Will clicking on the Brooklyn Bridge picture bring me to rings? Who knows. I have no idea.
Then, when I finally find and click on the correct New York picture to see the kind of jewelry I’m after, it’s just a bunch of photos. Only after I click through more will I get to see the name of the product and product info.
This is an inconvenience that most website visitors just aren’t going to deal with. I would imagine that a large majority of people who arrive on this website simply leave.
If the company has a web developer who uses data and analytics to test this theory, they’d know this. But, as we’ve discussed, the company is handling this themselves. So it’s unlikely they have the ability to analyze analytics data to make these improvements.
From a technical standpoint, that nice video they put on the homepage may look nice because its fancy and has moving parts, but since it’s the only thing on the homepage, Google is going to devalue the website because it has absolutely no SEO value. Facebook will also likely penalize the website with a low relevance score, increasing the cost of all their ads.
These are all things that could be improved by working with a professional. So is there a cost to working with a professional? Yes, of course. But the cost of not hiring a pro is much greater.