As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve seen a lot of DIY websites. Listen, I get it–you’re thinking, “All I need is a homepage and a few other informational pages. How hard can it be to make a website?” And, you think, with all the platforms out there now, after all, surely one of them will do the trick.

You’ve got your pick of web-based web-development and hosting platforms. They include:

 

Squarespace

Squarespace is a website-building platform attached to Square, a payment processor that began as a mobile payment app. Their platform is simple to use and offers drag-and-drop simplicity. While their sites are aesthetically pleasing, they don’t allow for customization of code, and professionals find them very easy to recognize, as their templates all have a similar look.

 

Wix

Wix is a website platform that is free and available to the public. It allows for a lot of customization and still makes it easy for a beginner to understand. Most aspects of the site are free, and paid services include things like online storage and unlimited bandwidth.

 

Weebly

Weebly is another free website building platform for your websites that is geared toward both beginners and those that dabble in HTML and CSS. Weebly sites also come with mobile optimization and have sections on SEO optimization and how to put in an online store in intuitive, simple ways.

 

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is a website host company that also offers customized website building. The platform is pretty straightforward and the site offers bundled deals that can make managing your site easier. It allows plenty of customization and direct control over the code which is great for developers.

 

Frankly, yeah–each of these platforms will help you make a relatively decent website. And that’s great, if “decent” is all you’re aiming for. A professional website developer can make a website that’s better than decent. With that in mind, here are a few mistakes you’re making on your DIY website–and how to avoid them:

 

You have no plan or clear goals for your site.

Whatever the exact nature of your business, you need to know what the purpose of your website is before you start. If you don’t know what you want, your audience isn’t going to either. Good things to consider are your audience demographics, what information is most important to them, what will make your website or services stand out, and what you are hoping to gain from having one.

The photos are not yours, not high-resolution, or not appropriate to the site’s subject matter.

Your website is supposed to represent you, whether it be your business, your blog, your digital portfolio, or otherwise. That being said, you could face potential backlash from using unauthorized images, so it is important to either get permission from the image’s owner or find pictures that are public domain before posting them to your site. Keep in mind the image you want to present to your audience and use high resolution, appropriately-sized photos.

e-Commerce isn’t set up properly–or at all.

If your service happens to be one that people can pay for online, there should be an option to pay online. There’s no point in having a product or service that can’t be paid for online, and paying attention to how you can exchange payment for services can set you apart from local competition, especially if it is simple and convenient to use.

Search engine optimization isn’t even on the radar.

If no one can find your site, you may as well not have one. You must at least include basic keywords in your content if you want search engines to pick up your site. Including your location is important to being seen when people search for specific companies in their local areas.

There is a distinct lack of proper legal disclaimers.

Most big companies are going to include some basic terms of service or a privacy policy on their site. But when a small business creates a site, they often don’t think to include these legal documents. The best option is to consult a professional who will know you need those items and can guide you to sources from whom you can obtain them.

 

Regardless of the purpose of your online website, it is important to keep these things in mind in order to optimize your chances of success.

CloudZen Designs is here to help. If you run into any trouble working on your DIY site, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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