The pitfalls of designing your own web site
“Get Professional Results Without Knowing Any HTML!” Yeah, okay.
There are many free or low-cost web design tools out there that claim anyone can get professional results without knowing HTML or other web-related things. What they don't teach are good practices or design basics.
- Graphics optimization: A photo from a digital camera is enormous, both in dimensions and download size. It is cruel to make your visitors download large graphics when you only want to show a small version. Do you know how to make pictures ready for web use? Do you know what image formats are suitable for the web, or when to use which format?
- Readability: Numerous studies have shown that people don't read content on the web the same as they would a magazine or newspaper. Do you know how to format your content for good readability on screen?
It’s the visitor’s technology that matters. Not yours.
These do-it-yourself tools are commonly referred to as “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG). This term is a fallacy because it makes you believe what you see is what all your visitors will see as well.
That is the lie.
Customers and prospects alike come to your site using a variety of browsers, operating systems, and viewing devices—not just Internet Explorer on a desktop PC with a broadband connection.
If you design your own site, do you account for such things as:
- Pop-up blockers, anti-virus software, and firewalls that can filter out Flash, scripting and selected images.
- Technology that assists disabled visitors, such as talking browsers and keyboard assistants (think Stevie Wonder or Christopher Reeve browsing the web—physically challenged people browse the web in growing numbers).
- Desktop computers ranging from antique models with old technology and small monitors to the latest cutting-edge, high-resolution, big screen toys.
- Mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones.
If you think a visitor will change anything on their system to “properly” view your web site, think again. More likely they will go to one of your competitors instead.
If your web site is going to succeed, it needs to work effectively regardless of the technology or browser that gets visitors there.
There’s more to it than you thought, isn’t there...
Besides all of the above, doing your own web site means having to think about countless little details, like what fonts or colors to use, where to put what pictures, aligning text and a slew of other tedious decisions.
It takes thought, effort and time. Time you could be devoting to your real business, or to more pleasurable pursuits.
Are you really saving money?
If you thought you could save money by doing it yourself or by friends and family, consider what it may be costing you with lost visitors because your site doesn't meet the demands of the modern web.
And if you thought you couldn't afford to have someone else do it for you, then maybe you just weren't looking in the right place. Until now.