Welcome to Part 4 of our 6-lesson crash course on What to Know for a Successful Website Design!
In Part 1 you learned that the one big mistake almost everyone makes is…your website is NOT for you; it’s for your customers! Thus, your website must appeal to them so that they will do whatever action you want them to do.
In Part 2 you learned what the six main steps were to designing or redesigning your website.
(Don’t forget to grab our checklists on either of those two posts.)
In Part 3 you learned that your budget is your MOST important decision in this process.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the importance of What you really should and should NOT be working on.
Whom you hire is the second most important decision, just slightly less important than your budget.
However, the person(s) or company you select, or even the do-it-yourself tool, will be the MOST important factor in your overall experience that you have throughout the entire process.
Now first of all, we do NOT recommend you doing your own website. Why?
Not too long ago, a business, that’s now our client, had a MAJOR problem with their website.
It was down for more than two days!
The hosting company got hit with a denial of service attack that took them awhile to resolve. Way too long, unfortunately.
The business lost time, had a lot of stress, lost revenue, lost traffic, lost goodwill, etc. You get the point.
Almost all of the angst they went through could have been avoided with proper design and maintenance.
And this is just one story.
If you’re serious about your business, you should NOT create, maintain and secure your own website by yourself. Do NOT design your own website! Unless you don’t care about poor design practices, improper maintenance, or low security on your portal that presents you to over 4 billion people.
Specifically then, here are three reasons why you should NOT design your own website:
1. You won’t optimize it properly when you design your own website
While you might be very good with design, maintenance, security, etc., you won’t know all the best practices. Even after thousands of hours of webinars, training, creation of websites, and studying, we are still learning on a daily basis – the world of the internet keeps changing. What looked good last year looks old today.
And furthermore, areas that require some skill for optimization are:
Speed. What are the best practices to be sure your website has a minimal footprint, that your pages load fast, which leads to higher rankings? How do you even find this out? According to this article on kissmetrics blog, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. While there are times when loading slower is OK, ideally you want it to be fast.
Proper hosting. If you use cheap hosting, you’re on a shared plan and you don’t know how many other folks are sharing that server today, let alone tomorrow. If one of the people that shares your server has a spike in traffic, your site will load slow, and people will not wait around.
SEO. The best Search Engine Optimization is done through keyword research, applying those keywords throughout your site (titles, descriptions, images, etc.), monitoring, and tweaking. Some basic work can be done rather easily; however, monitoring of results and performing tweaks are important.
Backup and Security. Proper backup, both onsite and offsite, can keep you independent of total reliance on one hosting company. Now even the best hosting companies go down from time to time, but if you have offline backups (and your domain hosting is separate from your web hosting – this is really important to do), if your hosting company goes down or somehow cancels your account mistakenly, you can recover and have minimal downtime. Preventing hack attempts from infiltrating your site is required, as bots and bad people are trying to get into your website to take it over, or at a minimum, to upload their code, execute it, and steal your computing resources. And if something does happen, knowing what to do is vital to keeping your site online.
2. You won’t maintain it properly when you design your own website.
Again, several best practices must be stated:
Security risks. Both prevention AND monitoring are needed. Understanding who and where hack attempts are coming from can lessen the chances of something happening in the future. And of course, vulnerabilities in the various modules and plugins being used on your site does happen. Without regular maintenance, you’re taking a serious risk, and it’s even possible google can de-list you (See this article about the soaksoak malware attack on a popular plugin).
Bloat. Over time, your database can grow with draft posts, many unused revisions, images that aren’t used anywhere, etc. Keeping your site clean is important for speed, security, and maintainability.
Updating of internal links. Linking internally on your website helps with SEO, and also keeps a visitor on your site longer, exploring it more and more. It’s important to update links from one page to another often.
It will go stale. Design preferences are changing and it’s important to your branding to have your site appear modern and up-to-date.
3. You need to spend time on other things and not design your own website.
There are hundreds of things a business owner must do; designing, creating, and maintaining a website should not be one of them.
Figure out what only YOU can work on to grow your business, do that, and hire or offload the rest.
Here’s a short list of things you should be concentrating on:
- Content creation
- New product definitions/creation
- Testing your offers
- Talking to your clients
- Strategizing with your team on how to grow your business
- Improving your leadership capability to help get more out of your team and improve their satisfaction.
When it comes to your health, you should consult a doctor. Yes, educate yourself to ask the right questions, but leave what’s important in the hands of an expert.
Likewise, when it comes to your website, you should consult with an expert, and use the learnings from these lessons and our checklists to educate yourself to ask the right questions.
In part 4, we’ll take an in-depth look the visual look-and-feel of your site and the importance of Copywriting.