Do you know what? Anyone can be a painter and decorator. You can redecorate your house from top to bottom, by yourself, if you have the time and inclination. You can probably find a few tips on Google and some helpful videos. And it isn’t hard to find a store to sell you what you need. Paint. Rollers. Stepladders. Away you go. And you could save yourself thousands.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this, but the same is true for websites. Anyone can build a website, for very little money. Anyone who is prepared to put in the time and effort. There are plenty of free resources around on the Internet to help you. You could probably start by looking on Youtube, or trying a few sensible search phrases into Google and go from there.
But web designers and decorators are still in business. How come?
Because they are better at it than you. I met a very interesting man at a networking event I attended. He was there to promote his business, which was nothing to do with web design, but the subject came around to websites. Money is tight when setting up in business – any business. And he, quite rightly, took considerable pride in telling the group how he’d built his own website without spending any money. He’s a bright chap and he simply sat down and taught himself what to do, using Joomla. And I have to take my hat off to him because Joomla isn’t the easiest of web development systems. He said it only took him about a week and a half of his time away from his business to get to grips with it.
He was keen to warn the group about unscrupulous web design companies who will charge you an arm and a leg for something you could do yourself, and then because you don’t understand the system they have built for you, you’re locked in to paying them every time you need to make an amendment. Who wants to be in that situation?
It was my turn to speak next and after what had gone before, I felt rather sheepish introducing myself as a web designer. There was a bit of embarrassed laughter. I started by thoroughly agreeing with most of what the last speaker had to say. He built his own site so he knew all about it and he felt confident he could maintain it at no extra cost. That’s a good benefit. (Then again, he’s got no-one to turn to when he’s too busy to put the time and effort in.) I was able to reassure the group that nobody who purchases a Togethernet site is locked in – on the contrary, because it is a WordPress site, if you are dissatisfied you can find another WordPress developer who will be able to make changes should you need to, but the great thing is you can also make your own amendments to the content yourself, because it’s been designed from the outset to be easy. (After all, WordPress started out as a blogging platform – i.e. for people who want to write, not code.)
This chap was quite enterprising, yet by his own admission he had taken more than a week out of his business development time to learn how to build his own site. That’s valuable time that he might have been able to invest doing what he knows best, not into what he doesn’t really need to know. The ins and outs of Joomla?
“He was keen to warn the group about unscrupulous web design companies who will charge you an arm and a leg for something you could do yourself”
Going back to decorators. I’ve done a bit of decorating myself – who hasn’t? It’s quite satisfying to do some from time to time. But I know my limitations. There’s more to it than first meets the eye if you want to get a great finish. And I tend to skimp on the details. Fact is, I am just not as skilled as a professional. To be honest I don’t even know what it is that I need to know to do a good job. But I do know it is actually darnright hard work.
Though of course I am saving a little money.
Or am I? Our decorators are coming back in a couple of months to fill in the inevitable cracks and other imperfections that have become apparent due to the house renovation work. This revisit is included in the price. (Just like the 3-month maintenance that you get with every Togethernet site). Frankly the last thing I want to do is stop work on my business and find the filler and touch up paint. So I for one am very glad I used a professional. And as I am sure you will have twigged by now, I encourage you to use a professional web developer, and not try to do the job yourself. There are just too many things you need to know.
So here’s some common sense. Would you choose an accountant who hasn’t had any training? Why would anyone let a beginner practice on their business website? Even if that rank amateur is your good (and otherwise very capable) self. Your website is there to make you money. If you put it in the hands of a rank amateur, any savings you may have made by taking on the work yourself could turn into lost revenue if your site is not as persuasive or as useful as it could potentially be.
And you thought I was just going to make some crass statement about ‘freshening up your image with some brighter colours on your website’. Well, more than happy to do that too, if you like.