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Is it a good idea to 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 we recommend you build your own website.  At least if you are building it for a small business site.  Take it from someone who made that mistake.  Then eventually had to learn a whole other industry.  But we will get into that later.

On the off chance you want to learn an entirely different skillset, then yes, build your own website.  Just to do even a decent job, thatʻs what you will have to do.  There is a reason that the quote from your favorite web designer was that price.

On the other hand, the drag and drop website world is much better than it was.  WIX put some much-needed effort into their SEO, but it still leaves a lot to be desired.  Shopify has become famous for e-commerce, and SquareSpace is making some noise.  But with all these sites, you will at least need a designer eye, extra time, and a few hundred dollars.

At QCS Hawaii, we build our sites on WordPress and so do 33% of about one trillion sites on the internet.  There is an important question to ask yourself when we caution you about creating your 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.  We are not saying you canʻt.  But just because you can build your own website, doesnʻt necessarily mean you should.  But if you decide to build your own website, weʻd like to give you some free pointers.  First, no DIY website is the best.  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, looking at you Danica Patrick.  Like weʻre going to recommend over and over again, do your research.  Believe it or not, Google My Business even offers a free website builder.  Remember, if Google builds it, they will 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 free tips.

Choose a mobile responsive theme

How much time do you think you spend on your phone?  Donʻt worry, you donʻt have to answer that.  According to one study, the average American spends more than three hours on their phone every day.  Google says there is a greater than 6 in 20 chance you are reading this on your phone right now.  According to one Australian study, there is a good chance that if you are reading this, you are also on the toilet.

People spend hours on their phone everyday.  That is where your customer is.  So that is where your small business needs to be.  If you want to build your own website, make sure you choose a mobile responsive theme.  Improving your customer experience will make your life much better.  Google even can help you with their Mobile First Best Practices.

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Do your research

If your research stops here, you better at least do that.  Want to know a poorly kept secret?  If you didnʻt click that last link and build your own website, you have already lost money.  If you thought a proper web designer was expensive, wait until you find out how much a bad one costs.

According to Google, if you have too many elements on your page, conversion rates drop 95%.  On the other hand, they also say an increase in page speed of only 850 milliseconds increased conversion 7%.  It literally pays to do this right.  Feeling overwhelmed, donʻt worry, thereʻs more.

That doesnʻt even cover website security.  Did you know that most attacks are automated, not targeted?  Any old plug-in, malicious code, and a wide range of nasty little details can kill all your hard work, even your entire business.

Does my business need a website?

Yes.  A thousand times, yes. Never ask the question does my business need a website again.  The answer is yes, every time, all the time.  But 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 generally more.  The question isnʻt does my business need a website, but what type of website does my business need. Google tells you “present the information in the most useful way.”  Even if youʻre a social media influencer, not everyone uses your platform.  But everyone uses the internet. 

When asking yourself, does my business need a website?  You might as well ask yourself, do I want to be in business?  According to projections, 95% of transactions will be done online by 2040.  Unless you want to split 5% of the pie, itʻs time to get moving.

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Again, go where your customers are

If you are hungry for fish, do you sit around waiting for them to swim up to your couch?  No.  You go to them.  It is not an option, and it is not a theory.  It is a fact.  If you choose to ignore that fact, your plate will be as empty as if you were fishing from your sofa.

That is business in todayʻs world.  You go to your customers, their couches, and yes, even their toilets.  So stop asking, does my business need a website? Start asking how my website gets found?

The answer is search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google.  However, as Forbes mentioned, Google captures up to 92% of traffic.  So start there.  

Does my business need a website with sales or scheduling?

That is an important question to answer before you get started.  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. 

WooCommerce is one of the most popular choices for sales, inventory, and shipping on the internet.  You may even be able to find a program that does billing, invoicing all in one. Another reason to find a web developer and not build your own website is they often already know about these programs. 

We are happy to include this in a Website Audit from Quality Consultation Service.  It consists of an in-depth look at your top competitors.  If your business already has some online presence, at this point, 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 the entire store.  Why would you build your own website?  One study showed that 73% of small businesses invest in brand design services, but 71% do in-house 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.

That means some businesses spent more on creating their logo than the website on which it appears.  As bad as that is, at least they have a website.  Approximately 35% of small businesses donʻt even have one.  But for the small companies 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 be?

Should you find a web designer?

Again, the question isnʻt does my business need a website? By now, you should be asking if you need to find a web designer?  Whether you decide to or not, you need to answer that question.  We might be biased, 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.  By all means, test us against other web design services.

We will even give you some tools to compare.  Apart from the looks and bells and whistles, it can be hard to find a web designer you can trust.  How do you know whoʻs better?  We recommend a host of tools, including web.dev from Google.  Many Designers also use Pingdom and a massive variety of other programs.

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How do I find a web designer?

Hopefully, you have a better feeling about whether or not you build your own website or find a web designer.  At least the answer to does my business need a website should be a resounding yes, you have to have it.  There is a personal testimonial coming shortly, but the $1 to $2.5 million in sales annually should have pretty much done the trick.

Now that you have 1 – 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 frustrating trying to find a web designer.  That is probably one of the reasons you wondered how to build your own website.

Unfortunately, itʻs the same answer, do your research.  We always say build for your customers, and Google is one of yours.  So, we keep them in front of mind for every design and test.  We recommend you do the same.  The good thing is, they have their (and your) customers as their focus.  So, we always recommend their Chrome Extensions as well.


Where can I find a web designer?

Well, right here.  This part is a little more personal.  I will share the story of how I got into web design.  I began building websites because of the same reason most business owners did.  I thought it was cheap and easy.  Now, I am laughing as I type that. 

Rarely in my life have I been so wrong. Thatʻs way before calculating my time spent actively making these mistakes.  Fortunately, after  years of renovations, redesigns, headaches, and heartbreaks, haliatours.com looks pretty darn good now.  Yes it has climbed to the first page, but I constantly update and improve it.

Luckily, I did not need to ask does my business need a website?  I knew it did.  Unfortunately, I did not find a web designer first.  In the first 3 years of my original company, I failed to capture at least $50,000 in sales by not having a proper website.  No embellishment.  Thatʻs not to mention having real, natural SEO.  You can add another $50,000 lost revenue there.

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, I had to stop counting for the sake of my sanity.  That may not sound like much money, but as every small business owner knows, it is.

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Build your own website disasters

That heading pretty much sums up almost every DIY website project ever.  Before the pandemic and subsequent devastation to the tourism industry, it was a tremendous amount of money.  Imagine how much it is now.  I cannot explain how significant that amount of money can be in this situation.

The time and money spent to build your own website are immense, and it tends to add up quickly.  As any small business owner will tell you, the two most challenging things to come by are time and money.  Chances are if you have one, you probably donʻt have the other.  

You see the site at haliatours.com now, but it 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, again and again.  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, and yet here we are.  When I originally opened the tour business, I tried to build on WordPress.  Immediate disaster.  $500 and two weeks essentially wasted.  Like many business owners, I tried a find a web designer on a freelancer site.  $500 again gone with the wind, along with two more weeks.

After that, 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, so I began doing my research.  I quickly learned even if you can put turbo on a moped, itʻs still a moped.  So the site needed a complete rebuild.

Like many people, my friend said he said he would take care of it.  Long story short, despite three months of his hard work and 1 hurricane warning later, it was WIX DIY time.  So I proceeded to spend another $500 and about 5 days.  Once again, 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 back to WordPress.  

My booking software offered a free pre-designed website and hosting.  I wouldnʻt have to find a designer, or so I thought.  The site was horrible.  I quickly realized I would have to do another complete redesign.  There was another hurricane warning, so I built a brand new website on their shaky foundations.  The website wasnʻt perfect, but at least it was on WordPress

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 still more.  This new version of the site bumped me up from the doldrums to page 2 almost instantly.  Thatʻs when I realized I would have to do another complete rebuild to get Halia Tours and Transportation to the first page.

April through December 2020 got dedicated to SEO studies, user experience, best practices and more.  It paid off.  After that redesign, we rocketed to the first pageʻs organic search results.  Thanks to the heavy focus on local SEO throughout that time, we have held the top Local Pack rankings for years, even with the pastʻs subpar sites.

Unless you prefer to learn your lessons the hard way, find a web designer.  Hopefully, you choose QCS Hawaii.  However, the chance of another global pandemic and reset are relatively small, so we donʻt recommend you do it yourself.  If you already know the answer to does my business need a website, and you are ready to find a web designer, I can help.

Look no further than QCS Hawaii to find a web designer

I spent every free moment of those years studying SEO, posting content, and working on my Google My Business account.  Instead of the few days it would have taken to find a web designer.  Since then, I became certified by YOAST in WordPress, as well as several SEO modules, and LinkedIn SEO Skills Test.  I am also proficient with RankMath and a variety of WPMUDEV programs.

Fortunately, because of all the hours, weeks, months and years spent learning web design and SEO, my business survived.  I also found out how much I love web design, the challenge of SEO, and helping medium and small business.  However, if you have any 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 it is time to 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. 

If my personal website battleground hasnʻt convinced you not to go the DIY route, hopefully, you remember the 1-2.5 Million other reasons to hire a pro.

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