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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Are DIY Websites "Pathetic"?

Can small business owners (SBOs) really build an effective website themselves? Or is the ONLY way to achieve success to hire a professional website designer?

Let me say from the outset that I am not a formally trained website designer. I know the basics of HTML (the language behind web page contruction) and can tweak and manipulate code, but essentially I will use software to create a website rather than code it by hand. I am more concerned with end results and ROI (return on investment) for the SBO than web technologies.

But some professional web designers hold the view that only hand-coded sites can achieve high search engine rankings and convert visitors into customers. Any only THEY are capable of achieving these outcomes. Here's what one particlar web designer had to say in a forum I participate in:

"A small business owner (without professional level website development skills) doesn't have the slightest chance of creating a website that will incorporate effective operational strategies, one that will convert to the max, one that will place well in search engines for effective keywords that searchers actually use, one that incorporates useful tools, or one that is anything but pathetic on all important levels."

This statement really got my gander up. Why? It is complete and utter BALONY.

Sure, some SBOs fall into the trap of "putting up a site". They'll buy some DIY site builder from a hosting company and have their site up in a blink of the eye. It will probably look great, but they'll soon discover that no one visits it and it adds nothing to their bottom line.

But, there is absolutely no reason why they can't build a successful website themselves by simply following a proven formula. Any small business owner, or entrepreneur, can build a high-ranking, high-traffic and high-converting website with the right tools, the right resources, a willingness to learn and a desire to succeed. They do it all the time.

SBOs can and do achieve success building their own websites. How? By hooking into a SYSTEM (not just a website creator) which I've been recommending for years. It's called Site Build It, and here's proof.

For web designers like our friend above, they just don't get it. I guess it's understandable because a system like Site Build It is a threat to their livelyhood. With their nose pointed skyward they'll do their best to put down SBI sites or sites built with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) software such as XSitePro (recommeded if you prefer to work with your own website design software rather than an online site builder). They'll say the code isn't clean, it doesn't validate or other things that only programmers care about. Meanwhile, smart SBOs who've taken the trouble to invest in themselves, shrug off such criticisms because their site is achieving the objectives they set or it.

For sure, there are times when you need to hire a professional designer or programmer - database management, membership sites and interactive sites needing specialised programming skills for example. But for your average SBO or service provider, the tools and resources are there. All you need to add is YOUR knowledge and determination. Content is what makes a successful website, not code.

Yes, there are good web designers out there who know what it takes to make a website successful. But just because they hand-code your site does not guarantee it will be successful.

Oh, speaking of Site Build It, right now they are running a "Back to Work" special where you can get an additional SBI subscription for only $100 more. Save it for yourself, or give it as a gift to your enterprising son or daughter, business associate or anyone who would like to start their own online business.

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