Websites: DIY or Designer
Nothing is stopping you from designing your own website. Seriously. A basic website is 100% achievable by you. Content management systems (CMS) such as Wix or Squarespace make website development widely available to the average technology user.
So, since the average individual is capable of web design, why should anyone hire a designer?
Website developers have practice and experience formatting and designing websites. Designers take into account several factors when designing a business’s site from the independent audience, to branding, color and typography psychology, to website usability, to aesthetics. Web developers pay attention to detail and double check their work before launching a site. They check to ensure formatting is correct across browser and screen sizes. And they make sure that everything on the site works as it is intended to.
With that being said, of course those factors are more in depth. Here’s some common mistakes I see with DIY websites.
Common things I notice that immediately scream DIY web design
Oftentimes, this is the #1 giveaway that a website was designed by someone other than a designer. CMS builders have hundreds of website templates for users to choose from with pages already set in place. Templates make it easy, giving you the only task of plugging in your content.
However, I can’t count the number of times I’ve come across a website for a small business or locally owned store who forgot to put their own content in. Now, I’m not talking about content on the homepage or even the contact page. I’m mostly referring to those pages that aren’t used as often - you know, the ones in the footer section of the website - the FAQ, terms of service, etc. I’ll come across a website and randomly click through, finding FAQ sections with questions such as “How do I add a question?” or “Why are FAQs important?” I even traversed an “About” page recently where the paragraphs started with “Here’s where you share more information about your business…”
These mistakes - often thought to be obvious to double check - go unnoticed until blatantly pointed out. While it’s not the end of the world if this mistake is made, it definitely leads viewers to the feeling that your site (and therefore business) is unprofessional.
Another dead give away that your website is DIY. While website templates can be as simple as plug in your content and make the site live, I often see accidental misalignments. Whether it be paragraphs of text slightly off center, or pictures covering portions of writing, misalignments can easily happen.
A missing or broken link is when a button, intended to take the user to a different page, section, or external site isn’t working. It’s another simple mistake that is frustrating for the user when it doesn’t work correctly.
Misaligned Mobile Sites
When designing a website, CMS builders give you options to design both the computer layout as well as the mobile layout. Mobile layouts often go unnoticed in DIY designs because they’re easily forgotten about. When a site isn’t checked for mobile compatibility during the design process, it can lead to misalignment on the mobile format of your site.
These four DIY mistakes are easy fixes, but go unnoticed all of the time. Not to mention, the not-so-obvious features that come alongside a DIY website such as taking psychology and intended audience into account.
With a website designer, your business can trust that your website won’t have alignment issues, random template pages, or broken buttons. Designers create your website with your audience and brand in mind and attempt to create a website that best fits your business.
This being said, there are thousands of websites created in a DIY way that look and function fantastically. In the end, it’s up to you! If you do decide to go the DIY route - be sure to think through the entire design process and double check everything.