Should I build my own website?
- Anyone, absolutely anyone, can make a website given enough time & determination to learn what they need to know.
- There are different platforms that might look good at first but have some hidden pitfalls.
- Be wary of free themes, templates, & plugins.
- Understanding potential code conflicts & knowing how to handle them isn’t something that comes easily.
- Having the time to care for a website & run a business can be challenging.
- Creating, caring for, improving, & growing a website can be very gratifying.
Anyone Can Do It
There was a time that I would have said yes, definitely, why would you pay someone else to do what you can do for yourself & now look at me, making a living in a family business with a focus on websites – ironic, no? I recall getting started after realizing that I knew enough about modern web design to be dangerous & taking a few online classes to fill in the major gaps, after which I rolled up my sleeves & got to work!
It would take a few months for me to realize that even though I was working mostly on a free platform, WordPress, I was doing a lot of things that just don’t come naturally to most people because I was in it every day & had/have a real desire to understand what I was working on. I thoroughly enjoy putting the various pieces together & watching the puzzle complete into a fully functional & beautiful device for the client.
There are several well-known platforms that are usually most people’s first attempt at creating their website & what they find very quickly is that these platforms are either so severely limited once you get beyond text & pics on a page or they get incredibly expensive as they add in more functionality that it just takes the joy out of it for them, leaving them feeling defeated or bitter over the experience. A good way to think of something free is that if you’re not having to pay for it, you are the product. Access to someone who has demonstrated a real interest in a specific field is worth quite a lot to many, many companies.
Watch Out For That Free Theme!
Another thing that several new website hopefuls will notice is that, gee, these themes are expensive! Why on earth would anyone pay that? So they keep looking to find something close to that one theme that they fell in love with & then, lo & behold! There’s THE SAME THEME FOR FREE! Oh, this is too good to be true! And it is. Using free versions of premium themes or plugins, also called nulled themes & plugins, is something that can get a website kicked off of a server because these nulled versions are notorious for having backdoors & displaying ads from adware to website visitors. It’s usually set up so that anyone logged into the site won’t see the ads, too. This is just one example of what could go wrong using free themes from some shady website, there’s always the risk that the hacker will take complete control of the website, wipe everything off, and start sending spam from the website owner’s domain. Not cool.
Code Conflicts Are Real
Nowadays it seems like we can make a website do pretty much anything, if we can create a connection between it & something else like a phone or a printer. It’s tempting to start experimenting with new code to see what you can do in addition to all the other things already happening under the hood but then, hmm …. something isn’t right & my website looks all wonky. Worse yet, maybe it looks fine & there are no errors being displayed but your eCommerce section of your website just stopped working. That’s kind of a problem when you’re paying the bills, in whole or part, with a website but it’s a very real danger & we’ve fixed many, many instances of this sort of conflict. Conventional wisdom dictates that a website owner run a development site so they can test out new designs, new code, changes, etc. but most websites just won’t ever do this because they don’t have the time.
Who Has Time?
This makes it really difficult nowadays for a new website owner to devote the proper amount of attention to their new digital baby to give it a fighting chance to even get out of the sandbox. So what can they do? Add in yet another task to their day? Personally I think that this only makes sense if they remove something from their likely already full schedule because work-life balance really does make a difference, especially if it’s a family situation.
It Can Be Incredibly Rewarding
With all of the challenges presented, it almost seems like someone either has to be a masochist or unwise to take on a new website & then care for it, improve it, & grow it. But having it pay off in the long run is so rewarding – we really love seeing a website client be able to walk away from a job that they didn’t necessarily love & actually do the thing that they get fulfillment out of in their work life. Working with your family or best friend & getting paid to do whatever it is you & yours enjoy is almost an unheard-of instance nowadays unless it’s in aristocratic circles but we can testify from our own experience & that of clients that if you have the will for it, it will happen.
Do you want to step away from the DIY?
If you’d like to chat about your website project, we’d love to hear from you.