In these harsh economic times it can be very tempting to go for a ‘do-it-yourself’ website package. Many companies are offering them, promising quick setup times, easy access and cheap costs. But are they really worth it?
While there are some very appealing benefits to these packages it’s worth noting a few drawbacks that might not be instantly visible…
You don’t get a unique design. This is bad because your website will end up looking exactly the same as tens, maybe hundreds of others. You may very well be able to switch images and colours, but with the internet first impressions count for a lot, and it may take just a second for a visitor to mistake you for a different company – and if they’ve had a bad experience with that company chances are they won’t stick around for long.
Poorly constructed code. In a similar way to the designs you’ll be sharing the same basic code (HTML) as all the other sites on the service. In order to provide thousands of instant websites the source code will have to be duplicated, which means there’s no way to tailor it for your business. This can result in poor compatibility on certain browsers or devices (like mobile phones) or a loss of search traffic.
Use of stock images. Chances are you will be provided with ‘industry specific’ stock photography. This can be a good thing, particularly if you don’t have many of your own images. But stock photography should be used sparingly as it can lead to false impressions and leave users feeling that the website feels “fake”. It’s always better to use ‘company specific’ images.
Too many options. One of the great things about instant website services is that they will probably have a long list of optional features that you can include on your site at the click of a button. The danger is that it’s possible to include all of them. When putting together a website (instant or not) it’s always good to take a step back and think about it from your customers point of view. What do they actually need? It’s probably not everything that’s been made available.
Web design has a reputation for being quite expensive, and instant packages can seem an attractive alternative. But consider this: would you buy a ‘do-it-yourself-heart-surgery kit’? If all you’re looking for is a sticking plaster, to last you a short while these packages may well be the right choice. But if you are looking for a website that is there to aid your business in securing customers and sales there are alternatives that will benefit you in the long run. If a website is worth creating it’s worth creating well.
By Kevin Sanders