How to Build a Website Cheap and Easy the DIY Way
I get this question all the time. The new website building software out on the market now is so great that no one needs to higher a designer to create a simple, professional website.
There are three reasons that clients hire me instead of doing it themselves: 1) time – they just don’t have time to do it themselves, 2) fancy functionality – they need something very special that DIY resources don’t provide, 3) design – they need a very specific, custom design to go with their brand.
So, if you don’t fall into one of those categories, you can totally do this on your own. There are a lot of DIY website builders out there today. In my experience, the best is SquareSpace.com. (My favorite tool is WordPress, by far, but SquareSpace is much easier to use for the total newbie who’s just trying to get a simple, professional website done.)
- 24/7 friendly customer support
- beautiful website templates that will look total custom when you add your logo and photos
- a cool interface that they are constantly upgrading and improving that makes designing your pages a breeze.
- a proprietary system — this can be a pro and con, the pro is that it means they handle all your hosting issues and all the security updates, etc. So you never get a scary email from your webhost saying that your site has been hacked.
- update it yourself! login whenever you want and add a new blog post, fix a staff bio, whatever you need!
- a tiny bit more expensive than regular webhosting
- a proprietary system which means you’re stuck with all their plugins, their updates and tech decisions. But in my experience, they make great decisions, so it’s nice to benefit from their efforts.
- limited design options – they have a set menu of templates that they offer. you can hire a designer to customize them if you want something specific, but ultimately they have a basic look that you need to decide if you like or not.
- the number one tip of any web design project is be patient and allocate time for it. The average squarespace site is going to take you 30-40 hours to build. So give yourself that time. It takes time to pick out the right pictures, fix all the menus how you want them, adjust your copy, etc. I spend anywhere from 30-80 hours on an average site and most of that is planning and designing. So even with great DIY software, you want to give yourself the time to get it the way you want it and do feel frustrated when you can’t build the whole thing in one day.
- watch all the Squarespace training videos before you start. Their system is very unique and it’s not intuitive when you first start it — it is not like word processing software.
- don’t hesitate to contact tech support! That’s what they’re there for!