Don’t use the boy next door to build your business website!
So, you are looking for a reliable person or company to build your business’s website or online commerce site, you ask a couple of companies for a quotation and the quotes are on the high side. When you realize the costs involved to build your solution you start to ask around for advice about what is the best option and one of your contacts says…
"I know a guy that can build a website for you and he’s a wizard and cheap, the guy next door to me, he builds website in his spare time when he’s not at school, he’s just looking for some pocket money and he’ll do it cheaply and he’s fast as well!"
Sounds like the perfect solution to your problem, right? NO, its not and here’s why….
Usually this is what happens...
Hosting for your business website
The boy next door organizes a cheap hosting packet that cost you a couple of euros per month which includes hosting for you site, a domain name, and emails. You pay for it because those costs are for you, you are only paying the guy to build your site, he’s just organizing it for you.
Here’s why this is not the best solution for you…
Usually, this type of hosting is a shared resource hosting, meaning your site is placed on a server that runs a couple of hundred, if not thousands more websites and all resources like memory, disk space and databases, all shared and using the same server. This is not really a good scenario for your site because if there are so many other sites running on the same server the chances are your site is not going to be fast and reliable.
Backup up your website is VERY important and MUST be done regularly. There will be a web console (hopefully) you can login to, from there you’ll be able to create backups of your site. Again, these backups will be created on the same shared server. Backing up a site to the same server is NEVER a good idea (read ‘Backups, how important are they and how to do them properly’ for more information).
The responsibility lay on your shoulders to make sure these backups are done and are safe! The guy next door is only getting paid to build your site, nothing to do with backing up your site right!
Content Management System (CMS)
So that you can add all your content and business information into your site, the website builder creates a WordPress website, installs it and you are nearly ready to go! WordPress is easy to use right?
Drawbacks of this scenario for you…
The learning curve
The site builder knows WordPress in and out it is because he uses it for every site. For you is another story. You are going to have to learn how WordPress works, where do you go to create a page of content or to change an image. That’s only part of it, what about making sure the site is found in Google, sitemaps, metadata, and site speed etc.
Learning how to use a CMS takes along time to know how to use it and use it correctly. Just remember, you are going to have to fill your site up with content.
WordPress Maintenance, keeping it up to date
WordPress is a high maintenance CMS. Because it is so popular it gets hacked regularly, to stop WordPress from being hacked, the developers of the CMS create patches and security update on a weekly/monthly basis. These updates need to be installed. This will be up to you to do! The guy next door is only getting paid to build your site, nothing to do with maintenance of your CMS and hosting right!
The guy next door downloads a free WordPress theme or even worse, he uses a theme that he bought a license for another client of his, installs the theme, and changes the menu color and some other changes to meet your wishes, your done.
Draw backs to these two scenarios…
The free theme
Its free, didn’t cost a penny but what’s wrong with that? Usually, these types of themes are not well maintained, used by thousands or other websites and may have security issues. If they are maintained how is going to patch your site with the changes and will the changes break your site?
The paid theme
So, the website builder has used another theme that he bought for another client, what’s wrong with that? It’s simple, the theme will be licensed to either the guy next door or another client, you are using the theme illegally and that’s a huge problem for you!
Is the theme responsive? Over 65% of people browsing the internet are using mobile devices, is the theme that the website builder using responsive?
What happens after a while you want that sub menu to show on the left instead of the right or you would like to use another font type instead of the basic one that is being used. You contact the guy next door, ask him to do the changes but he doesn’t know how. The guy next door is only getting paid to build your site, nothing to do updating the theme of your site right!
What happens if your site gets hacked or you make a mistake and you break your website, where is the support? The guy next door is only getting paid to build your site, nothing to do with content on your site or support right!
You might think that you are saving allot of money getting the website wizard guy next door but in the long run you will have to spend allot more to get it done correctly. It will cost you so much time to learn and fill your site, make sure that your backups are done and safe, but still have a slow site that does not work for you.
Think twice before putting the cost first and not the goal you have for your website or ecommerce site, but you never know, the guy next door might be a wizard and he might be the answer to all your needs.