You spent hours figuring out how to drag and drop your way to a DIY website. By the time you were done, you felt totally relieved that you could finally press publish, right?
If you’re a tech-savvy person with an eye for colours and typography and an excellent writer, you probably felt great! If those sorts of things are less than your zone of genius, you might’ve felt frustrated that you couldn’t get it to look right, but you decided it was good enough to hit save anyway.
Either way, after you invested all that time, I bet you started printing your new www. on your business cards and linking to it from Instagram. You might even have told a few potential customers about it, and maybe you’ve gotten some sales! Maybe your DIY site has even lasted a few years into your business!
If you feel your site is working for you, then I’m so glad you had a good DIY experience. But if any of these next items feel true for you, then it might be time for an upgrade:
1. Your sales are lower than you’d like.
Websites that work well and make sales have a specific strategy that leads customers on a journey from first finding you to trusting you enough to invest. When sites are built from templates, they’re often not set up to guide visitors correctly from page to page, so when they arrive on your site, they’re unsure of where to go. If you’re not booking enough of your services, odds are your website could be optimized to highlight your amazing offerings and show your ideal customers why you’re the right person to help them.
2. You tell people not to go to your website because it isn’t up to date.
Website embarrassment is all too real. I’m a frequent networker, and as soon as my new friends find out I’m a designer, they’re all trying to grab their business cards back from me so I won’t visit their sites.
Like it or not, your website is a reflection of you. If you haven’t put the care into it that it deserves, you may feel a disconnect, and that often manifests as website shame. The problem is, if you’re actively telling people not to go to it, or you’re avoiding sending people there because you wish it looked nicer, you could be missing out on potential sales and opportunities.
3. Your mobile version doesn’t work or doesn’t exist.
About half of our browsing now happens on mobile devices. If you spent all of your time making your website look perfect on your 27inch Mac but neglected the phone version, odds are it’s not doing you any favours. Because mobile viewers spend even less time browsing - because they’re usually multi-tasking or on the go - your mobile version needs to be even easier to browse and faster for them to find what they’re looking for. Too many clicks, and you’ve lost their attention and they’re on to the next Instagram profile. It’s crucial to design with mobile in mind to be able to serve your visitors coming to you from their phones.
4. There are still parts of the original template that you couldn’t figure out how to change, like the font or the photos.
When there’s a dead giveaway that you’ve used a template, I’m sorry to say, it can make you look unprofessional at best, and lazy at worst. Your visitors can’t see the hours you spent googling how to swap out the banner photo, they just see that it’s the same as another website they’ve just been to. (Same goes for template fonts and colour schemes.) Part of the magic of business websites is having them customized to YOUR brand and YOUR customers, and if there’s still some template pixie dust left lying around, your unique vision and voice might not be coming across.
5. The navigation or menu is confusing for website visitors.
A disorganized website isn’t working hard enough for you... it’s like having a bored teenager answering your business # or taking care of the front desk. If it’s difficult for customers to get around, they are likely to go in search of whatever’s easier - and that just might be a competitor’s site. In today’s world of short attention spans, appropriately named pages and options make the difference between getting a customer and losing a sale.
6. It looks messy - maybe the words and pictures overlap or the fonts didn’t line up right.
Like it or not, website visitors are judging websites as a reflection of business strengths and weaknesses. If it looks like the website process was rushed through and the site was put up quickly, visitors may wonder if your services will feel much the same. A messy site might come across like the business is disorganized. If that couldn’t be further than the truth, it’s important that your website reflect that so that you can inspire confidence in your ideal clients.
7. You worked for hours on the website words but they still don’t sound like you OR your ideal client.
Writing is hard. Writing about yourself for your About page is even harder. Writing about why you’re the perfect person for your perfect client? Almost impossible. Many small business owners try to DIY their website words instead of hiring a copywriter - and though they do their best, sometimes it misses the mark.
There are two main goals of website copywriting: one, to make it very clear who your ideal client is and *who your services are for and not for* and two, to make it clear how you help and what kind of results you get for your clients. It isn’t about manipulation, and conversion copywriting isn’t about being deceitful. It’s about using language to communicate to the people who will be a perfect fit to work with you, and showing them how they can do that if the time is right for them. If you’ve DIYed and you’re not convinced your words are doing that well, it may be time to uplevel!
8. You’re missing important pages like About, Contact, or Services.
Search engines and customers are both looking for these types of standard pages. When they’re missing, visitors might feel like you’re hiding something or just aren’t a fully established business. You also may rank lower in SEO rankings with Google, which looks to these structures to determine how legitimate your site is.
9. Your website doesn’t make you feel like a “real” business owner.
One of the best benefits of working with a designer who really gets you and your true voice is that when you launch, you’re also levelling up in how professional you feel. While it’s not impossible to feel this way after making your DIY site, it can be a lot more difficult. For many of my clients, having a website they are proud of completed and launched helps them step into their voice and power as business owners, and the way they show up in their businesses afterwards totally changes for the better!
10. Your website has 6 or less buttons guiding your visitors around your site and towards conversion.
My pet peeve with website templates is that they never have enough buttons. When customers have to search for an opportunity to Buy Now or Order Here, they start to look elsewhere. If your website has less than 2 call-to-actions on every page, the perfect people might not know how to take the next step to working with you.
My intent isn’t to call out the DIYers out there... if you can use this list to better your site and get the results you want, I’m thrilled for you! If you have questions I can help you with, please reach out on my Contact page.
If you’ve decided that making changes to your site is important, I’d also be happy to help. The question is, now that you’ve read through the list and evaluated your own DIY site, how do you feel? Are you going to put a website redesign on the list for a potential business investment?