I build a lot of websites for people but I also hear a lot of people who tell me that they can do their own site, thank you very much. Tools like Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and even WordPress absolutely offer a very simple way to create a very beautiful website that does have a lot of good features and looks terrific. So what’s the problem?
I have personally partnered with SquareSpace to do the vast majority of the websites I do because you can create a great website very quickly that looks great and tells your story effectively and beautifully. In fact I once had a discussion with a restaurant owner about his needing a website and he was so insistent that it was a long difficult process that, by the time lunch was over, I showed him his new site. Lunch was on him.
As I’ve written before, you do still need a website if you’re in any business whatsoever. It is the only place that can tell your story the way you want to tell it without interruption by advertisements, pop-ups, friend requests, more interesting pictures and all the other things that make social media such a distraction.
A website also offers the advantage of being in the same place today and years from now. As Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all the other social platforms move forward and migrate this and that and have their mood swings, the place you tell people to look today may not be the same place your information is tomorrow if you’re only on social media.
Your website also has the ability to deliver the information and images you choose. It’s your digital home. It’s also the place where you can put links to the various social platforms that are appropriate for your business as it is important to be where people are looking. But it’s good to have a home base where you control the information.
The problem with the do-it-yourself websites is that most of the people who do it themselves don’t take the time to learn all the ins and outs of Google, which is the master we all presently serve who doles out information.
I see a lot of websites that may look pretty but the information behind them isn’t what Google and other search platforms are looking for to help them deliver the information about you. There is definitely a science to optimizing a site for Google but also an art form. And it’s not horribly difficult. Essentially Google just wants to accurately deliver information in search and, if your website effectively tells the story in the way Google wants it, then you’re way ahead.
But they also have a lot of stuff under the hood of your site that can give you a significant boost in search. And this is where a lot of do-it-yourselfers miss out.
Essentially Google has ways it wants information presented to it so that it can accurately disseminate information to those who are looking. And people are looking!
It’s not just Google either. As I’ve mentioned, I partner with SquareSpace to develop sites people can then go and update themselves. Recently SquareSpace completely re-did the component of their system that serves social media. The objective was to serve much more beautiful imagery to the social platforms in the form that they want it delivered to make your posts look better.
In last week’s article I talked about image sizing and the folks at SquareSpace were already on top of this so that, when you update the page on SquareSpace about your new menu items or add an event to your calendar or any of the things you might want to share on social media, it looks the way it’s supposed to look on social media.
So should you use one of those do-it-yourself web platforms? Perhaps. I think, in particular, SquareSpace is the best one of the bunch but that’s just me. But if you do make sure all the important infrastructural components are there as well. Or work with someone who does understand this aspect of your website.
The analogy here is that I do understand some basics of home wiring and electricity. I have replaced wall sockets and light switches in the past without shocking myself. Much. But I also almost burned my house down by not doing one little thing right. So now I hire someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to electricity. It’s good to have professionals on the team.