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Websites: DIY vs. Hiring a Pro - Part 1

By now you probably understand the importance of having a website. Wonderful! However, do you want to build it yourself or hire a professional?

Cost is most likely your first thought when it comes to building and maintaining your website. Why would you hire a professional if you can do it yourself and save money? That's a fair question. However, DIY websites aren't all that they're cracked up to be. It may or may not be the best idea for your tour or rental business. But, we won't know if it's a fit until we compare. Should you build your own website or hire one of RESERVEC's professionals to build it for you?


DIY:

Where do you begin?

First you need to make sure that your domain and hosting are purchased. Some build-your-own website companies will allow you to purchase domains and hosting through them. Although this sounds like a simple process, it will make changing providers very difficult (trust us, we have experience).

What comes first when you start building your DIY website? Is it content then pictures, content then layout, or structure and then layout? Unless you went to school for design, this can become very complicated and have long-lasting structural effects on your website. You wouldn't want an unskilled teenager to build your house, right? Likewise, you wouldn't want an inexperienced person building your online storefront.


How do you design?

Despite the commercials, an average build-your-own website takes hours. Plus, if you wanted to make tweaks here and there you may need to know some coding. As an amateur, learning web design is akin to learning a new language and can take countless hours away from what you should be doing: running your tour or rental business.

You may struggle with creating a functional cohesive design for your website. Did you know that people spend an average of 3 seconds on a website? Those 3 seconds are crucial, and a functional design will aid in converting customers during that important window of time. If your design doesn’t flow well, there is a good chance customers will click away and you will lose sales.


What do search engines (such as Google and Bing) say about websites?

Google and Bing have a lot to say about websites. It isn’t enough to just create a website, throw it up on the internet, and expect customers to come. The recreation industry is competitive and websites must be optimized so that potential clients find you on the internet.

Website speed is important! Oftentimes DIY websites lose customers because their images load too slowly and their data isn’t optimized. Remember the 3 second rule mentioned above? Patiently waiting 10 seconds for images to load on your website is not something your potential customers will do.

What about mobile and tablet devices? Bet you didn't know that 46% of your customers (and growing) are using mobile devices exclusively for their internet searches. Also, 48% of your customers say that if websites don't work well on mobile, it will indicate that the business simply doesn't care. Want to make your website mobile-friendly? Great! Make sure to educate yourself on the complex topic of responsive web-designs.


Being wise with how you spend your money is very sensible. But as the proverb goes, you get what you pay for. Business websites are meant to build trust with potential clients, so be careful when choosing a web designer. If your company (or boss) is dead-set on building a DIY website then make sure that you carefully research the best practices and designs for an optimal outcome.

You've read all about the DIY route, now lets cover the other side of the coin; hiring a pro!
Continue on to read Part 2!


Part 2
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