So, you’ve decided that you do need a website for your business (if you’re still not convinced, please read here). There are many ways to go about getting it built, but not all of those lead to a place that will serve your business. Those ways are why your nephew shouldn’t build your website.
My Host Has Free Tools
Most web hosting companies now have tools that promise to have your website up and running in minutes. That is accurate; you will have a website. And it will look the same as every other website built with that tool. Those tools, by design, have a limited number of options in the look and functionality of your site. They are meant to be used by anyone and to minimize the amount of support the hosting company needs to provide.
Your website is the face your business presents to the world. If it looks just like everything else, how do you stand out? A custom or semi-custom website, with the look, feel, and experience you want to show to your customer base, is the way your business says, “Here is what makes us special.” You get to decide what the content is, how the visitor interacts with it, and the ways it ties in with all of your other marketing materials. Do you want an advanced functionality, like users getting special access depending on their registration or subscription status? Do you need to have a library of instructional videos? How about a specialized gallery or portfolio? These are generally not included out-of-the-box with free website tools.
I Bought A Theme That Does Everything
There are several everything-for-everyone themes available, and many are quite beautiful with more functionality than you can shake a stick at. The demo sites have stunning photos and exciting videos that precisely convey what you want. Then you download and install the theme and all that content is gone. Wait, what happened to the photos? Where did the clever captions go? That demo you saw was exactly that: a demonstration of what is possible when you have a designer or developer doing the build for you. The back end has lots of blank pages, some with page building tools that you can stumble through, dragging and dropping your way along a steep learning curve. Meanwhile, you are taking time away from running your business.
Additionally, all those functionalities come at a cost. Often, they are several different tools bundled together. You have them whether or not you will use them, and they must be maintained and updated regardless of the use to prevent security vulnerabilities. In every system or process, the more complications that exist, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong. A web professional can create that beautiful site with just the functionalities you want without the additional overhead of unnecessary programming.
I Know A Guy
Everyone knows a kid/friend-of-a-friend/family member who can build your website “cheaper than one of those developers.” Your nephew may, in fact, be an excellent coder or have an eye for design. But he also has a chemistry test on Wednesday, a trumpet lesson on Thursday, and just bought the newest release of his favorite video game franchise. In short, his focus is not your business.
Ask yourself this: do you want the face of your business to be someone else’s side gig? A web professional’s only interest is in helping you present your business in the best way possible to the broadest audience to get the most significant engagement. He or she spends time getting to know you and your business, what you want to accomplish, what your resources are, and knows what additional pieces to suggest to get you there.
This Is Business
A business website is not something that is built, set in motion, and then watched from afar. There are updates and maintenance to the programming, SEO improvements to implement, blog posts to schedule, social media tie-ins to make, changes to content, and integration with other marketing. It’s a communication conduit between you and your customers, and you will have many things to say over time. Someone building websites on the side will have to shoehorn your needs into his or her schedule. A web professional’s business exists to support your business. The urgency is evident, because he or she has a business, too.