Top 10 Reasons Why Your DIY Website Sucks (and How to Fix That)
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There are a dizzying array of do-it-yourself website options out there these days and a variety of reasons for their appeal. The problem though, is that many of the DIY websites that are built tend to suck, and here are the top reasons why.
1. Poor Code
Programmers aren’t the only ones who find poor code problematic. Although the visitors to your website don’t actually see the code (unless something is really wrong), they will often see the effects. Alignment issues, functionality not working, or a site not being mobile friendly are just some examples of problems with code.
Also worth mentioning is that Google frowns on poorly written website code, so in addition to making it tougher on your visitors, you’re also taking a little ranking hit with the Google search engine.
How to fix this: if the website builder itself is the culprit here, there is no fix. It might be time to consider hiring a professional to create a new site for you (especially if there’s no way to upgrade the site to be mobile friendly).
2. It Doesn’t Have a Polished Appearance
I see DIY websites all the time that do not present a professional, polished appearance, but more of a cut and paste, amateur one. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners are confident in their knowledge about their particular business, but do they know what actually makes a website good, what good user experience is, what good user interface is, how to effectively use color and images, how to effectively use typography, how to craft an excellent call to action, etc?
How to fix this: if you’ve got the time to do some studying there are plenty of online courses available in design and marketing that can give you a basic understanding. If you find you don’t have the time because you’re too busy running your business, consider hiring a professional for some consulting. They can give you some tips on improvements to make.
3. Too Generic
If you grabbed a free or low cost pre-designed template for your website, this may be why your DIY website sucks. Think about this – how many other small business owners also grabbed the same template? I bet you probably don’t want your customers to see your business as generic, but a plain vanilla template, even if it has your logo on it, does not truly reflect the uniqueness of your business.
How to fix this: make sure your website matches your overall brand and connects with your audience. Don’t use stock imagery that comes with the template or doesn’t match with your business or marketing message. Make changes to ensure it’s as unique as possible while lining up with your goals and overall website strategy.
4. No Clear Call to Action
Even DIY sites that manage to look nice may not actually serve much of a purpose other than checking off the, “my business has a website” box. It won’t be an effective marketing tool for your business if you are not guiding your visitors to take a specific action.
How to fix this: pretty easy – make sure your pages have clear calls to action. Know who your audience is and what action you want them to take.
5. It Doesn’t Give Your Viewers What They Want
If you’re building your own website, it’s highly likely that you’ve also written your own text and chosen your own images (or taken your own photos). If you haven’t taken the time to come up with a strategy and goal for every page of your site and identified who your audience is, it could be way off though. If your website visitors are looking for specific information and they don’t get it, they’ll leave.
How to fix this: hiring a professional copy writer (who understands marketing) and a professional photographer can really make your website shine. Outside of this, work on coming up with an overall strategy to identify your market and what they want from you.
6. It’s Under Construction
There are some exceptions where you may want to hold off on putting certain content on your website, or to put up teaser (coming soon) type of information, but having a blank page, an “under construction” message or dummy/test text is just plain bad.
How to fix this: if you don’t have the content and don’t know when you’ll have the time to generate it and put it up, don’t add that page at all.
7. There are Mistakes
Face it, we’re all human and we sometimes make mistakes. If you’re the only one in charge of building and maintaining your own website, you may make a grammatical error, spelling error, or some other mistake and not catch it.
How to fix this: proof it and proof it again. Have someone else proof it or hire a professional copy writer.
8. It’s Neglected
I’ve actually seen some DIY sites that have to be at least 5 or more years old (and that might as well be the stone age as far as today’s internet surfers are concerned). The owner put the site up and basically hasn’t touched it since. However, I’ve also seen newer sites that suffer from neglect as well. It may have a blog where the last post was 6 months ago, or the business might have moved and the website still lists the old address. If it’s obvious that information on the site is old, it can lead to a poor impression of your business or even a visitor wondering whether you are even in business anymore. Never mind the fact that a lot of these neglected sites aren’t mobile friendly either.
How to fix this: if you’re going to go the DIY route for your business website, you must make the time to update it and maintain it regularly. If you can’t, then don’t add features like a blog or company news that could make your site stale if they’re not updated. Also make sure if important information changes with your business, that you make the time to change it on your site.
9. Something Doesn’t Work
I’ve mentioned poor coding potentially causing things to malfunction, but sometimes the error is on the person building the site. For instance, installing a widget, plugin, or other type of add on and not setting it up or installing it properly. A classic example of this is a contact form that doesn’t work. This sort of thing can obviously frustrate the site visitor, but it could be a real killer for your business too.
How to fix this: sometimes you can find a help link or forum where you originally got the particular add on, but this assumes that you know for sure the add on is what is definitely causing the issue and not something else. So this could be another case where you need to bring in a professional that would be able to troubleshoot and fix any issues.
10. Minimal or No Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Many older DIY builders will give you no or very little search engine optimization capability. For instance, you can’t have a unique title or description tag for every page of your site (or it spits out very SEO unfriendly link URLs). Some of the new ones are much better at this, but even when you can put in your own tags, this is only one small part of overall, technical SEO.
How to fix this: it depends on the DIY builder as some will have more options than others, some will have more complex instructions than others, and some actually do require you to dig into the code a bit. This is another case where if you want something done right, you may have to hire a professional SEO marketer that can work with you to optimize your website.
If you run into a wall with your DIY website, we can help you break that wall down (and get a much better website for your small business)! Give us a ring at (541) 677-7440 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free 30 minute website review.
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