QCS Hawaii local consulting firm
Small Business Casual Blog - Web Design, Quality Assurance, and More

Should you build your own website?

The short answer is no.  The long answer is still no, but with more words.  There is almost no scenario where it is recommended to build your own website.  Take it from someone who made that mistake, and eventually had to learn a whole other industry.  But weʻll get into that later.  In the off chance, you want to learn an entire industry… then yes, build your own website.  To do even a half way decent job, thatʻs basically what you will have to do.  There is a reason that quote from your favorite web designer was the number it was.

That being said, the drag and drop website world is much better than it used to be.  WIX put some much needed effort into making their SEO better, but still leaves a lot to be desired.  Shopify has become pretty popular now days for e-commerce as well as SquareSpace.  At QCS Hawaii, we build our sites on WordPress and so does 33% of the over one trillion sites on the internet.  Keep in mind when we caution you about creating your own site… would we have linked to all of these DIY pages if it was a good idea to build your own website?  We sell web design.

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If you do build your own website

You can do it.  But just because you can build your own website, doesnʻt necessarily mean you should.  Even if you decide to build your own website, weʻd like to give you some guidance.  There is not really a best DIY website.  They each have their benefits and drawbacks.  Choose the one that you are most comfortable with and that best accomplishes your small business goals. 

Do not just go with the one who has the spokesperson you have a crush on.  Celebrities are not cheap.  Like weʻre going to recommend again, do your research.  Believe it or not Google My Business even offers a free website builder.  Remember if Google builds it, they are going to promote it and you can benefit from that.  If you do decide to build your own website, along with a prayer for you, weʻd like to offer some more advice.

Choose a mobile responsive theme

How much time do you think you spend on your phone?  You donʻt have to answer that.  According to one study, the average American spends more than three hours on their phone every day.  According to Google their is a greater than 6 in 20 chance you are reading this on your phone right now.  As a side note, according to one Australian study, there is approximately a 1 in 10 chance that if you are visiting us from your phone, you are also on the toilet.

People literally spend hours on their phone, everyday.  That is where your customer is, so thatʻs where your small business needs to be.  Bring your products to them in the format they want.  If you absolutely insist to build your own website, make sure you choose a mobile responsive them.  That will make your life a whole lot better, because it will make your customers life a whole lot better.  Google even can help you with their Mobile First Best Practices.

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Do your research

The only reason this is second, is if you donʻt do this, you better at least do that.  Now Iʻm going to let you in on a poorly kept secret.  If you didnʻt click that last link and you build your own website, you have already lost money.  If you thought a proper web designer was expensive, just wait until you find out how much money you lost by not paying it. 

Believe it or not, if you have too many elements on your page, according to Google, conversion rates drop 95 percent.  On the other hand, they also say an increase in page speed of only 850 milliseconds increased conversion 7 percent.  It literally pays to do this right.  Feeling overwhelmed, donʻt worry, thereʻs more.

Does my business need a website?

Yes.  Yes.  A thousand times, yes. Never ask does my business need a website.  The answer is yes, every time, all the time.  Does my business need a website that is some crazy, 1000+ page, steroid pumped, master of modern technology, super coded monster?  Probably not.  As with most things, less is probably more.  The question isnʻt does my business need a website, but what type of website does my business need.  The answer is the type of website your customers need.

 Google tells you themselves, “present the information in the most useful way.”  Even if youʻre a social media influencer, not everyone uses your platform.  Everyone uses the internet.  When asking yourself, does my business need a website?  Also ask yourself, how long do I want to be in business.  Because, according to projections, 95% of business will be online by 2040.  Hence the sunset metaphor in the pictures we chose for this post. 

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Go where your customers are

If you are hungry for fish, do you sit around waiting for them to come to you?  No.  You go to them.  Itʻs not an option, itʻs not a theory, itʻs a fact.  If you choose to ignore that fact, your plate will be as empty as if you were fishing from your couch.

Thatʻs how business is done in todayʻs society.  So itʻs time to stop asking, ʻdoes my business need a website?ʻ and start asking ʻhow does my website get found?ʻ There are more search engines than just one, and thatʻs important to remember.  However, as Forbes mentioned, Google captures up to 92% of traffic, so weʻll start there.  

Does my business need a website with sales or scheduling?

That can definitely be done.  Whether you build your own website or you find a web designer.  Once again, do your research.  The right scheduling program can be a life saver.  The most popular choice for sales, inventory, and shipping is WooCommerce.  You may even be able to find a program that does billing, invoicing, all in one.  There is tour reservation software designed specifically for the activity industry. 

One of the best reasons to find a web developer and not build your own website is they often have knowledge of these programs.  We are happy to include this in a Website Audit from Quality Consultation Service.  As well as an in depth look at your top competitors.  If your business already has an online presence, you should be asking does my business need a website audit?

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Find a web designer and boost results

You wouldnʻt build your own shop, why would you build your own website?  One study showed that 73% of small businesses invest in brand design services but 71% of them do their own digital marketing.  Why invest so heavily in something to look good but not in showing it to customers?  The same study showed that 28% of small businesses spend less than $500 on a website.

This means some businesses spent more on creating their logo than the website it appears on.  As bad as that is, at least they have a website.  Approximately 35% of small businesses donʻt even have one.  But for the small businesses that have invested properly, 2 in 3 of their websites generate between 1 Million and 2.5 Million dollars annually.  So ask yourself, which statistic would you rather your business belong to.

Should you find a web designer?

Again, the question isnʻt does my business need a website, but what type of website does my business need.  By now, you should be asking if you need to find a web designer.  They are the best person to ask that question.  We might be bias, but the answer is yes you need to find a web designer.  Quality Consultation Service of Honolulu, Hawaii would like to be that web designer and want to help you compare us to other sites.  There are some ways to test the technical aspects of a website.  Weʻll share those with you next.  

Hopefully you have a better understanding about if you build your own website.  The answer to does my business need a website should be a resounding yes.  You canʻt afford not to have one as you might have picked up from the last section.  There is a personal testimonial to that coming shortly, but the 1 million to 2.5 million dollars in sales annually should have pretty much done the trick.  Just one more reminder, $1-2.5 Million Dollars.

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How do I find a web designer?

So now that you have 2.5 Million answers to does my business need a website.  You have to consider if you need to find a web designer.  It can be confusing trying to find a web designer.  Thatʻs one of the reason why you were wondering how to build your own website.

Apart from the looks and bells and whistles, it can be hard to find a web designer you trust.  How do you know whoʻs actually better.  We recommend and use a host of tools including web.dev from Google.  Alot of other designers use Pingdom and a huge variety of other tools.

We always say build for your customers, and Google is one of yours.  So every design and test, we have them in front of mind.  The good thing is, they have their (and your) customers at the front of theirs.  So we always recommend their Chrome Extensions as well.

 

Where can I find a web designer?

Well, right here, obviously.  For this part, weʻre going to get a little more personal.  Iʻm going to share the story of how I got into web design here, in the first person.  I began building websites because of the same reason most business owners did.  Like many people, I thought it was cheaper.  Now, I am laughing as I type that.  Rarely in my life, have I been so wrong and thatʻs way before including my time spent actively making the mistake.  Fortunately, after  years of renovations, redesigns, haliatours.com looks pretty darn good now, but weʻre constantly improving it.

That leads us to the personal testimonial.  It is my personal story.  Fortunately I didnʻt need to ask does my business need a website?  I knew it did.  Unfortunately, I didnʻt find a web designer first.  No embellishment, in the first 3 years of my original business, I failed to capture at least $50,000 in sales by not having a proper website.  Thatʻs not to mention having real SEO.  Fortunately for me, I have no kids, donʻt drink, and do nothing with my free time other than surf.  Unfortunately for me, the number is probably much higher than that, but for my own sanity, I had to stop counting..

 

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Build your own website disasters

That may not sound like a lot of money, but as every small business owner knows, it is.  Prior to the pandemic and subsequent devastation to the tourism industry, it was a lot of money.  Imagine how much it is now.  I can not explain how significant that amount of money can be in that situation.

Most people think the time and money spent to build your own website is insignificant.  Itʻs not, and it tends to add up quickly.  As any small business owner will tell you, those are also the two hardest things to come by.  

The site that you see at haliatours.com is the 5th generation in as many years.  So when asking should I design my own website?  Ask if you want to keep doing it, all the time.  Even a perfectly built site needs to be maintained and updated.  The alternative is a conscious effort to bury your head in the sand.  Much like in nature, that is a dangerous choice.

Want to find a web designer career instead?

Neither did I.  When I originally opened the business, I tried building a site on WordPress.  Immediate disaster.  $500 and two weeks immediately wasted.  So, like a lot of business owners, I tried a find a web designer on a freelancer site.  $500 immediately wasted along with two more weeks.  Then I started studying.  My industry is the biggest in the State and my competition has deep pockets.  Search Engine Optimization quickly became my only hope.  But even if you can put turbo on a moped, itʻs still a moped.  The site needed redesigned.

Like a lot of people, my friend said you donʻt need to find a web designer, he said heʻd take care of it.  Long story short, 3 months and 1 hurricane warning later, it was WIX DIY time.  Waste another $500 and about 5 days.  Then it was time to find a web designer and SEO to improve it.  Fortunately, I realized I would have been wasting another $500 and decided it was time to switch to WordPress.  

My booking software offered a free site build and hosting.  I wouldnʻt have to find a designer, or so I thought.  I quickly realized it was mediocre and I would have to do another complete redesign.  There was another hurricane warning so I built a brand new site on their shaky foundations.

Two hurricanes and a global pandemic

Believe it or not, that perfectly sums up the DIY small business build your own website experience.   But wait, thereʻs more.  This newest version of the site bumped me up from the doldrums to page 2 almost over night.  Thatʻs when I realized, I was going to have to do it again to get Halia Tours and Transportation to the first page.

The entirety of April through December 2020 was spent immersed in SEO studies, user experience, best practices and more.  After that redesign we were boosted to the first page of the organic search results.  Thanks to the heavy focus on local SEO with Google My Business, we have held the top Local Pack rankings for years.

If you prefer to learn your lessons the hard way, by all means.  However, the chance of another global pandemic and reset are relatively small.  But if you already know the answer to does my business need a website and you are ready to find a web designer, Iʻd like to help.

Look no further than QCS Hawaii to find a web designer

Throughout those years, each free moment was spent studying SEO, posting content, and working on my Google My Business account.  Instead of the two or three days it would have taken to find a web designer.  Since then I have became certified by YOAST in WordPress, as well as several of their SEO modules.  Fortunately, because of all the hours, days, and weeks spent learning web design and SEO, my business survived. However, if you have any sort of life, or any one who depends on you, I wouldnʻt recommend my path.  

So if you have realized you shouldnʻt build your own website but should find a web designer, I would love to help.  You get one free hour of training included in any website package.  If you want to build your own site, but would like to have some help, we also offer training at our hourly consultant rates.  At the very least, stop asking yourself ʻdoes my business need a website?ʻ  The answer is always yes. 

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