I’m speaking at WordCamp Kansas City today, and looking forward to it. Unusually for me, I’m doing a presentation for beginners: “The Care and Feeding of Your New WordPress Website.” The presentation was inspired by a very enjoyable project I did earlier this year with an intrepid nonprofit creating a DIY website (with a little help from Haden Interactive).
They’re a very competent group, dedicated to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, and I’ve enjoyed helping them figure out the best way to keep their website in good trim on their own. For a nonprofit, it can make sense to band together and take care of a DIY website, and having plenty of volunteers makes it practical.
If you’re thinking about a website for your business or your practice, though — even assuming that you’re a competent and dedicated group — there are real disadvantages to having a DIY website.
I know that admitting this is not the WordPress way. The Party Line is that anyone can set up a great website for his or her business in minutes for free and reap all the rewards of digital marketing with no special skills and no help.
And that’s true, in a way. Just as you can learn to build your own crossbow or make your own wine, you can learn the skills you need to build and maintain your own website.
The problem is when you think that having a professional website is something like having a POS system or a phone — a thing you spend a little time researching and acquiring, which then fits into your normal workday. Chances are good that you’ll discover that building and maintaining your own company website is a project you don’t really want to take on. Here’s why:
- It’s not as easy to make your business website as you might think. I recently had a middle school student as a Career Day shadow. She built her own blog at WordPress.com in just about four minutes. You can probably do the same, or someone on your team can. But she’s not trying to run a business from that website. She doesn’t need ecommerce, appointment apps, conversion points, ways to capture leads, a clear path to purchase, or HIPAA compliance. An effective website for your practice or your facility needs more than just a pretty face.
- You will have problems. We like long-term relationships with clients, but we have built websites for people who wanted to take care of their own websites. They have problems. Our clients typically don’t have problems, because we’re in their websites on a regular basis and we prevent problems or catch them before the clients even know they’ve had an issue. If you have an in-house web team, they can take care of you the way we take care of our clients. If not, you had better enjoy coping with website issues.
- You won’t have time. You have a job. The work involved in making your website a successful part of your overall marketing strategy is time-consuming. If your website is successful in bringing you more patients, clients, or customers, you will have even less time. If it’s not successful, then you certainly need help. Either way, it makes sense to budget for professional website support.
A successful website needs fresh, original content on a regular basis. It needs social media promotion, linkbuilding or content marketing, and monitoring for security issues, required updates, and unpredictable challenges. If you’re using your website for digital marketing, then you also need a digital marketing strategy that aligns with your overall marketing goals, and you probably need technical or creative support for your marketing campaigns, too.
I’ve been impressed and delighted by the people I’ve met at WordCamps who are making their own websites. I know that I’ve enjoyed learning how to build and maintain websites, and I respect those who want to do the same.
But I’m a web professional. For most researchers, entrepreneurs, doctors, wellness experts, and business people generally, the company website isn’t a fun project and it also isn’t part of your job. So it either becomes a burden, or it gets ignored. Or both.
At Haden Interactive, we prefer to work as strategic partners with our clients, making their goals the priority and using our expertise and their data to work toward their visions. When you work with us, you can maintain the control you want but get the expert help you need. Contact us to see how we can help you.