Do It Yourself (DIY) websites like cheap websites are doomed to fail and will never live up to the potential of a custom website designed and developed by professionals.
Business owners with DIY websites fail because they do not have enough experience to realize that there is much more to building a successful website that helps to generate sales, than dragging around graphics and throwing in some AI generated copy.
Developers of cheap websites know their target audience primary motivation is price. These developers just care about a quick sale and turnaround so they can move onto the next client. It’s quantity over quality for them They don’t care about the success of the customers business or finding out the real goals of the website project. They do not try to sell the potential client on what they actually need to succeed, and level up their business.
What is a Do it Yourself (DIY) Website?
It is a website that is built by the business owner or one of their employees or family who has no professional experience in designing and developing a website. They have seen and believe the marketing hype and commercials that companies like GoDaddy, Wix, and Squarespace produce showing how “easy” it is to build a website by using their online software and prebuilt templates along with drag and drop components. These companies make it look simple and just concentrate on the visuals of the website and nothing else, thereby skipping the key ingredients to a website’s success.
What is a Cheap Website?
A cheap website cost less than $1000. You will see many ads online for websites that cost just a few hundred dollars. How can these web designers and web agencies charge $200 for a 5-page website that a professional website designer or agency normally charge at least $4,000 for?
Well, they spend zero time and money on project discovery and figuring out the best marketing strategies for attracting your business target audiences. They don’t care about the goals of your website or improving sales for your business. They use pre-built templates and page layouts and adjust only a few things like the logo and color scheme. You need to provide all the copy and images. Nothing really matches your brand essence. Your website looks pretty much the same as all the other websites they have slapped together.
Without strategies in place to develop search engine rankings and sales funnels that will inspire and convert your visitors into customers, the website will never be found, it will never generate sales.
What is a Failed Website?
On the surface a failed DIY website (or cheap website for the matter) can look like any other website. It appears to function fine and displays content and media in a reasonably pleasing way. The problem, and the reason why the website is a complete failure is, it is not meeting the goals of the business. For most service-based business websites, the overall goals is to attract traffic and convert as much of the traffic into ledes or sales.
While these DIY websites may be viewable, they are just sitting on some web server and being ignored by search engines and quickly skipped by any visitor who happens to stumble upon the website. The web pages do not attract the businesses target audience nor do they guide and inspire action of potential customers.
On average (this varies a lot between industries) it takes 50-100 quality visitors to make up a lede or a sale. By quality visitors, we mean that the people viewing your page must do so with the intent of making a purchase. It can be difficult to attract these types of visitors and depending on the traffic of the website, it could take thousands of real-world visitors of all types before you have had enough real quality visitors to potential get a lede or sale.
Reasons Why Websites Fail
Here are the top reasons why DIY and cheap websites don’t work:
Poor Search Engine Optimization
It’s very competitive online. Almost every business has a website, and they all are competing for visitors. Search engines account for a large majority of organic traffic a website receives. This makes search engine optimization very important.
If your website doesn’t sit on the first page of the search results and you don’t have other ways to get traffic, your website will not be found.
To rank a website and its pages, search engines look at many different factors. They look at the structure of the website and if it is built in a way that it can understand how the content is presented. It looks at the copy provided to determine if it can answer queries the searchers have.
Search Engines also looks at the business itself and the author of the content to determine how much Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) they have. These signals come from the website itself AND how other websites reference yours (including your online reputation).
Lacks Marketing Strategies
Researching the business industry and developing successful marketing strategies that target the right people at the right moment in their life for the product or service the business offers is one of the keys to making websites a success.
This strategy does overlap with SEO since it is related to content and providing the type of content your target audience is searching for to solve their problems.
Marketing strategies also need to determine the best way to convert traffic into sales once the visitor is on the website. The website content needs to show that the business understands the visitor’s problem and what they are going through. It also must show they have the expertise and the solution to solve their problem and entice the visitor to take steps to purchase the solution (product/service). Establishing trust is an important part of this as well.
Ideally this all has to be done independently of what stage the visitor is in the buying cycle (i.e. are they just looking for information or ready to buy).
Other related marketing strategies can also be employed to help the website achieve its goals by either finding additional targeted traffic or by nurturing past visitors who are stuck at a stage in the buying cycle/sales funnel and help to convert them into customers. This includes things like PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising, leveraging social media, setting up drip email campaigns, and content strategies that target specific sets of visitors.
Lacks Originality and Consistency
Most DIY and cheap websites don’t really stand out nor do they reflect the brand of the business. Most use templates that have been designed and styled a certain way which takes time and makes it extremely difficult for novices to change and better reflect their brand essence and mood.
These templates also have been used by thousands of other business owners who also haven’t made many changes beyond updating the logo and some colors. This means there are a lot of websites out there that not only are styled the same, but also have the same page layouts.
Most template packs have a standard set of layouts for pages and sections. If the user doesn’t find a layout they like for a certain page/section, they cannot easily build their own since they have no idea how. To solve this problem, they usually end up mixing and matching templates from different packs. Doing this introduces different styling and a lack of consistency and professionalism across the website.
Content is a major issue as well. Bland uninspiring copy that is just a mishmash of what was found on competitors websites means your website will not standout to search engines or visitors. The website will get lost in the shuffle and be forgotten.
While even the cheapest websites and those websites created by do-it-yourselfers usually offer some form of limited responsive design (i.e. the website responds to the size of the screen it is being viewed on), other important factors regarding the functioning of the website were not considered when it was built.
How accessible the website is for people with disabilities is extremely important not only from an ethical point of view but legal as well. You want to ensure that all your potential visitors, including those with disabilities, have a decent user experience and are able to easily access the information and navigate and interact with your website. This affects everything from how the website can be navigated with different devices (keyboard or mouse) to making sure the content can be read back by screen readers that is understandable or can be viewed by people with poor eyesight.
Security & Performance
Security and performance are other important factors. This affects not only the hosting environment which runs the website, but the website software itself and how the website was built with the software. You want to ensure that the website is not only built structurally so page speed is considered but also has enough hosting resources so that your target audience can access the website without waiting for it to load.
Poorly written software, software not setup optimally, and software that never gets updated usually leads to security problems and provides openings for bots and hackers to take over websites and deface them (or worse). Ensuring the web server is secure along with the software itself and having appropriate firewalls and monitoring in place means a hacks is much less likely to happen.
Flexibility & Scalability
A new website or redesign project is just a starting point. A website needs ongoing maintenance and regular updates to its content and functionality to stay relevant to search engines.
When designing and building the website, the structure, techniques used for styling, and the organization of the content should take into account the possible directions the website may take in the future. While this takes some additional work at the beginning, it can reduce the cost and time needed to update the website substantially down the road.
Claims Made by Do-It-Yourself Services and Cheap Website Developers
Don’t believe the marketing hype! All do-it-yourself website services and software along with cheap web designers and agencies claim to offer the best service. They focus on cheap prices and the visuals of the design. All the other important aspects brought up in this article are either not mentioned or glossed over.
They know their target audience are not experts and do not understand what is needed to create a successful website that will meet goals and improve sales for the business. They use the customers lack of knowledge and cheat them out of a website their business actual needs.
Other designers and developers may think they are experts, but are missing key ingredients in their website design and build process leaving you with a website that functions but no traffic from visitors interested in your product or service. They may have the best of intentions but their real-world experience and results is lacking.
When do DIY and Cheap Websites Work?
They can work if the business owner doesn’t care about branding or getting more ledes and sales. If their only goal of the website is so that the business can have an online presence that existing customers can find when they search for the business name. If the business name is unique enough and competition is not high in their industry and service area, then search engines like Google should return a listing for that business on the first page of the search results (most searches never look beyond page 1 of the results). The business will not be found when searched using other industry related keywords.
Existing customers can then use these types of websites to find information like how to contact the business, hours of operation, location, and information about their services.
eSilverStrike Consulting can help. We create professional custom WordPress websites that consider your goals that will help your business grow and thrive. Our marketing first approach is built into our website design process to ensure your website becomes your #1 sales tool.