The Five Differences Between DIY and Professional Websites

It isn’t a surprise that there is a challenge or two to face when taking on a DIY project. So when does the challenge outweigh the perks of saving money by doing it yourself? In this blog, we’ll run down the five differences between DIY and professional websites and let you decide whether they are a worthwhile investment. We’re sure you’ll agree that sticking with the professionals is the best route for success.

Wait, what is a DIY website?Image contains a man hammering a nail in wood.

A DIY website is a website that individuals create themselves without the assistance of a professional; a few examples of site builders are Wix, Weebly, and Shopify. The characteristic that makes the sites so likeable is how easy they are to use. Their software incorporates the drag and drop method along with other similar methods that allow users to easily design their site. This eliminates the need to have a website built by professional developers and designers. But they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Note: DIY websites may be easy to use, but professional websites can be too. In fact, websites built on a WordPress platform are easy for the everday business owner to manage – just like they would on a DIY website.

1. You don’t own your site.Image contains a website with a

After the launch of your professionaly built website, the website is then handed over to you. You are free to do what you’d like with it such as host it with the company you choose. In other words, you can choose where your website files reside. However, this isn’t the case with a DIY website builder because they have proprietary software. For example, think of your cable subscription. You aren’t allowed to keep your cable box, wires, and remote controller after you cancel a subscription. This is exactly the case with DIY websites. But instead of cable equipment, it’s the website files that you can’t keep. Essentially, they are loaning you your website and while you pay for it you never truly own it.

If your DIY website builder goes out of business, changes its services and products, or if you decide you want to move your hosting to a different company, poof, your site is gone. Now you’ll have to start from scratch and the money you spent could have been better spent on a professional website.

Disclaimer: Whether you own your DIY site or not may vary from platform to platform.

Read the Terms of Use for Wix, Weebly, and Shopify.

2. They have limited capabilities.

Image contains a list of 5 tabs with the option to expand each tab.

Figure 1: An example of an accordion plugin.

Among the huge differences between DIY and professional websites is the fact that DIY websites have limited capabilities. While a professionally built website can do pretty much anything your heart desires, DIY websites are limited. While this contributes to their easy usability, it can also negatively impact experience people have on your website.
A DIY website may have common functions such as a contact form for clients or e-commerce capabilities for shoppers. However, they don’t have access to every functionality you may need. For example, many of them don’t permit the use of content plugins, such as the accordion plugin you’re reading from right now and that is shown in Figure 1. This accordion plugin is used to organize large amounts of content – especially when read on a smartphone. If your clients often view your website on their phones, you’ll want to have access to these types of plugins. Another example is blog posts, which you are also reading from right now. Many DIY websites builders only permit pages and not subpages, which are needed for blog posts. Since Google and other search engines consider this type of content important, not having blog post capabilities can negatively affect your SEO (search engine optimization).

3. You don’t get the expertise of a professional.Image contains a button that says

Perhaps the biggest setback is that you can’t consult a professional designer or developer when you build a website yourself. They come in handy when it comes to the user’s navigation experience on your website, adding your brand and colors, and adding functions specific to your company. While DIY website builders have customer support services, they are very limited and only cover software problems and not design issues. If functions or designs go awry, you’d have to find the solution on your own rather than relying on a team of professionals to fix the issue.

4.Image contains a man holding the inside of his pockets out. Many of them have hidden costs.

While DIY websites like Wix, Weebly, and Shopify claim to have a standard monthly fee, there are a few stipulations. For example, you may be paying for your subscription and just got started working on designing your website. However, they may still require an additional cost when you go to launch the website. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay extra for unique themes and plugins if you don’t want to use their standard ones. So while many of these builders advertise a low starter cost, the cost can go way up once you start building the website. On the flip side, professional websites usually have a set price for an entire website design along with set monthly prices for hosting and maintenance updates.

5. Doing it by yourself eats up a lot of time.

GIF contains a man throwing his computer.Most importantly, a DIY website is time-consuming whereas having a professional build it is not. The truth of the matter is that regardless of how easy-to-use these builders are, websites are complicated. Rearranging, uploading, and designing your own website takes more hours of your valuable time than people realize. If something is to go wrong, you’ll spend even more time trying to fix the problem or getting in touch with customer support.

Think of it like this, a car mechanic can complete a simple task like changing the brakes on a car in an hour or two. However, it may take someone who isn’t a mechanic twice as long. This is because this person doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, or correct tools to make this an easy task. We understand that your expertise and valuable time is needed to do what you do best.

So are DIY websites worth the work?

Just like you wouldn’t want a DIY logo, a DIY website isn’t in your best interest. Sure, they are easy to use; the fact that you don’t need the skills of a developer is appealing to many people. However, this luxury is a double-edged sword – and has five major pitfalls. In fact, if you aren’t convinced yet, we’ve got more proof for you. Check out our blog where we compare WordPress (an open-source CMS) and Squarespace, another DIY website.

Websites are confusing and that’s why we’re to help. If you already feel in over your head from this DIY website talk, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re a web firm that delivers and are glad to take the worries of your website off your shoulders.

If you are convinced that DIY websites aren’t worth the hassle, contact us today to talk about getting your professional website built.

Call us at (904) 829-2772 to schedule an appointment or contact us by clicking the button below.

Let’s Get Started on Your Professional Website

Mission Statement

The mission at Old City Web Services is to navigate the world of web design, web development, and advertising for our clients so that they can focus on what they do best – running their business! Our business intentions go beyond the metrics of graphics, coding, and SEO. Located on Florida’s First Coast, we run a personable home front service and consider our relationship with our clients as a partnership in their success.

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