Build Your Own Website

Why the do it yourself to build your own website option is not as cheap, or easy as it sounds.

TTMG Internet regularly builds websites for people, or businesses that have previously had a go at doing it themselves. In many ways these clients are easier to work with than others because they understand the technical challenges better and can appreciate the preparation work that goes into even a small site. The following is an overview of some of those challenges.

If you are thinking of setting up a website and are thinking of building it yourself there are three main options:

1 – get yourself a website development package such as Dreamweaver and build it from scratch

2 – use a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla and get a free template from somewhere

3 – use a build it yourself system with a bunch of existing templates, content etc.

1 – Building It from Scratch

diy_checklistIf you have the technical and design skills to do this, then why not? If, however, you expect to pick this up as you go along you may require a steeper learning curve than you think as you will have to learn the technology, the design, picture manipulation / optimisation, FTP connection to servers, page optimisation for search engines, etc as well as come up with the right content and structure of the site.

If you think the templates from packages such as Dreamweaver will help, then think again because, although helpful, they will only take you so far and if they are used unmodified they often stand out a mile as an amateurish effort. Also graphical user interface design will only take you so far and eventually you will have to do some work in the code.

All of this may be fine if you have lots of time and really need to learn this stuff, but if not then you may want to reconsider.

2 – Use an Off-the-shelf Open Source Content Management System

There are a number of options here, the most popular is WordPress and that is closely followed by Joomla and there are others.

You will need to setup some server space, a database, upload the source files and unzip them, or unzip them then upload them (not recommended).

Typically there will be an install routine and this is usually fairly straightforward. Where the challenge comes is learning the system, installing and customising add-ons and plugins, customising and switching templates and, like building it from scratch, picture manipulation / optimisation, FTP connection to servers, page optimisation for search engines, etc.

Getting started is relatively easy (if you know what you are doing), taking it from there can be a bit more challenging.

3 – Using a Build it Yourself System

The advantages of this approach is that all of the files and templates are laid out for you. It’s just a drag and drop, or select, affair. You may well have seen this stuff on TV ads: at the end of 60 seconds – ping, you have a website.

The company you are buying renting this from may have 100s of templates and images you can use, even a 24/7 help line, but I think you will find the help line is a technical help line – as far as your particular site is concerned you are still on your own.

It probably starts to get a bit more tricky when you are using your own images instead of the standard ones and, of course, arranging the page the right way is still down to you and thinking about how to structure the thing also needs thought.

If you want to stand out from the crowd this may not be the option, except, if you do not do a proper job of it, then you will stand out, but for the wrong reasons.

None of this says that DIY solutions do not have a role to play, or are impossible. However, in a world where everything is moving faster and faster and time, more than ever, is money, then a hard calculation needs to be made. If you took a charge out rate for your time and applied it to this work, what would it really cost? Because the time you are spending on this stuff you are not spending, selling, earning or working on your business. Not only that, in most instances, the end result is second rate. So for all of that effort and lost earning opportunity you end up with something that you will probably scrap in the not too distant future and pay for someone to do anyway.

Oh, ‘you have a hidden agenda’ you say, ‘you just want to sell me a website’. Well, yes of course, and if you are interested then get in touch, but the real agenda here is to save you, the reader, valuable time and money and if that is a sin, well I am a sinner.