The Temptation of DIY Web Design

When the seemingly inevitable point comes when your Calgary business cannot do without a website, when people wait with baited breathe and poised pen for your lips to start “double-u, double-u, double-u” or for those living in the fast lane “dub, dub, dub…” you may well be tempted to go the DIY route and whip something together over the weekend or during the evenings when the house has become quiet – just to relieve that mounting pressure.

Or, if you have a young employee with fingers blazing away at text-lightning speed, you might naturally assume they know what PHP, MySQL, and DNS mean because they apparently were born without umbilical cords (ever since pregnancy went “totally wireless, dude”). This is not to say that today’s youth are not skilled in technology, since we all know that a toddler’s knowledge of home theatre often stumps the thirty-something cable guy, but it is to say that successful technology is based on pairing geeky science (the language of the introverted) with the fleshy test ground of the general masses (the dance of the extroverted).

The Web didn’t wait long to look us dead in the eye and say, “Web 2 point what?” and then grab its long board made up of forums, chat rooms and membership sites and go for a new ride by turning into a more business-savvy entity, now known as “Social Networking.” Okay, this to me sounds like the geeky science guys went to a party and met some inauthentic marketers and they all got whacked out on a couple of six packs of those Energy drinks that come in lady-finger thin cans with logos done by a tattoo artist – so it’s cool – and they ALL decided in between slurps and tweets that it was time to “Network Socially.” This is akin to the brain thinking about emotion and deciding it’s the same thing as emotion.

Whatever “Social Networking” is or what emerging Web trends afflict on you, whether you’re an entrepreneur, dedicated employee, Fortune 500 owner or someone unemployed and on that vacuous Web treasure hunt on EBay or looking to “Make $10,577.98 per month with no effort whatsoever” (that includes the effort to use discernable common sense), the Web can be daunting wherever you are in the world. So to begin the task of stepping into this full spectrum virtual reality takes more than just exporting your site from Publisher or getting your Graphic artist to create your site from JPG images cut up in ImageReady.

Websites often seem to be singular entities and still look like electronic versions of a 3 panel brochure, but they really do rely on multiple strata of technology and human interaction.

A basic Website now needs the following support:

  • A well-chosen, not too long, but definitely relevant, domain name registered to you.
  • A loving and supportive Web host that provides all email and Web services 24/7.
  • An attractive Web design (either pre-fab or custom) to wrap around the content
  • The most intuitive and clearest navigation possible, including a planned site structure
  • Unique, accessible, informative and/or entertaining, Search Engine Friendly content
  • A doting audience of actual people, not just Search engine bots.
  • Advertising support provided by links, banner ads, Adwords, print advertising, etc.

Before plunging into building your own website, you do need to ask yourself:

  1. Do I have the time and patience to learn about: domain registration, domain name server IP switches, hosting account set up, email account and email forwarding configuration, fundamental website design, GUI design, ASP or PHP, DHTML or XML? Browser compatibility, Content drafting, revisions and changes based on recent SEO trends, how to set up Google Analytics, what Content Management solution works for you, if your images are to be stock or custom, if those images are copyright or royalty-free, whether you write promotional articles yourself, if you want a blog fully integrated or if you have to set up one on ANOTHER server at ANOTHER web address, or find a 3rd party e-commerce shopping cart to “somehow” fit into your html site, what GUI means, how to run adwords, adbrite, overture, how to add in a multi-page “sticky” form, or upload a file for your visitors to download, custom MX records, A records and just for fun, how to write your very own SPF records.
  2. Were you born without an umbilical cord? If the answer is yes, indeed, you were born “cordless”, you’re in luck, since you should know all of the above anyway, so no problem, right?

There are so many facets to building a successful Website that really; the Web designer is only part of the equation. A good Web designer will provide you with a good looking, functional site. A great Web designer will do their best to create a site geared to bring abundance to you, to plan for the future, to work in organic SEO at every level possible, build toward expansion in content and traffic and provide a look to the site that will not become dated as fast as you can say “drop shadow” or “3D bevel”. A great Web designer will do whatever you choose not to do, and do it better than you could. So keep your weekends free, spend evenings with family and friends and when you’re ready to say “dub, dub, dub” give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest.