January 15, 2008
The other day I was having a conversation with a potential client when she started apologizing for not being better with technology and not having had any success building her own site. I get this a lot. I am not sure why, but it seems web design and financial planning are the two main fields where people for some reason think they should be able to do it all on their own. I mean, I have yet to hear a colleague or client say “I have this painful tooth, but if only I were better at dental surgery I could get this fixed right up in my spare time.” Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Yet that seems precisely the line of thinking many solo and small businesses take when it comes to their website and Internet Marketing.
Now, if you are dead set on taking the DIY route, I am not here to stop or criticize you. It is your business and the choice is ultimately all yours. However, I would like to put forth a compelling list of 7 reasons why it is not the best use of your time or money to do so.
1) Do you consider a website a once and done project? Are you prepared to make an ongoing investment in writing content, updating the site, and maximizing your technology investment so customers can find and buy from you? On the web content is king so unless you only want a virtual brochure, you need to be ready to invest ongoing time on your site on a regular basis (at least monthly). A team of professionals can help you navigate these waters and make it easy for you to do so.
2) The world of the web and its related technologies are constantly growing and expanding. Even if you work in the field full time for years it is impossible to know it all. Why would you want to take on the gigantic task of learning all this expertise in addition to your core field of expertise (what you do or sell in your business)? And, even if you could learn enough to get by, what about the little things you miss (and not even know) that could cost you big time in terms of mistakes or lost opportunities?
3) Do you know which technologies to choose to get the most bang for your buck and marketing efforts and why? Does the world of autoresponders, hosting companies, blogging platforms, merchant accounts, podcasting, shopping carts, and the like leave your head spinning? If so, how can you make informed decisions around which technologies can help support your overall business (and not be a case of technology for technology sake)?
4) Just because you can buy Photoshop or another graphics editing program doesn’t mean you are a designer. Talented artists can help you brand your business through visuals in a way that sets you apart from your competition. It takes years of experience and innate talent to be able to do this successfully. Even I know my limits which is why I work closely with artists on my team to ensure people who work with me get only the best.
5) Web standards and best practices are there for a reason. If you don’t know what they are, why valid websites matter, or how they integrate with one another, you may build your site and unknowingly exclude an entire segment of your potential client base from being able to view your site as you intended.
6) Your current and future customers are counting on you to be a master at what you are offering them. Unless that offering is web design and consulting, you are shortchanging your most precious commodity by dabbling in the website business. Your time IS money and wouldn’t you rather spend it generating more revenue for your business doing what you do best?
7) A good web professional will co-create with you what you really want and need. You will work as partners and you still get to be as involved or uninvolved as you wish. Most importantly she should be able to offer you ongoing services in a mix that is right for you so that you can get the most out of your investment (this isn’t a build it once and forget it project). If you’re not getting that level of personal service you’re being shortchanged.
As always, the choice is up to you. My experience has been that just as you are a lot happier when you have a doctor mend a broken bone vs. trying to DIY , your business can be that much more joyful when you give yourself permission to bring in the technology experts.
Author: Using her signature down to earth and “plain English” approach to website design, Paula Gregorowicz and The Paula G. Company work with small and solo business owners to make the web work for them so their online presence is a true reflection of who they are and what their business is all about. Visit http://www.paulagwebdesign.com