The rise of DIY website builders like Shopify, Squarespace and Wix has been astronomical over the last couple of years. You can’t seem to watch a Youtube video or listen to a podcast without hearing about them and how easier it is to get your business online. At first glance, it doesn’t look too bad either, with some flashy looking templates and reasonable monthly rates of around $29 (USD). But today, I’m here to tell you about some hidden costs of do it yourself Website builders that might make you rethink signing up.
Locked in and closed-looped system
All these DIY companies are referred to in the industry as a closed-loop systems. The long and the skinny is simple; by signing up for their services, you agree to all their terms and conditions around their servers and how you can use their platforms. This has some benefits that we will get into later in this article, but it means that you can’t be entirely free to develop higher-level functions in the future.
But I just want a simple website, no bells and whistles; I hear you say. That is fine at the present moment, but I’m sure you want to scale your business over time like most business owners. Starting on a system like Shopify, Squarespace or Wix can mean either very costly developer involvement to create the high-level functionality you want or rebuilding your website from scratch on an open system.
The other major thing to consider is that all of these do it yourself website builders are large multi-national companies. If you need help, you could be waiting a long time to get a response via tedious email ticketing systems, and some don’t even have a phone number to talk to an employee. You are also locking yourself into a yearly fee of around $348 (USD). This might not sound like much, but if you just need a simple website, you can have it hosted with a domain name and SSL in Australia for less than $100 after the build is complete.
So let’s do a little bit of math (Horray, I hear you all say) and figure out the actual cost over time. So we know that the average entry-level website will cost you $348 via these DIY builders, but this doesn’t include things like themes or any plugins. So including these costs can be as much as $300 to 500 dollars either once or ongoing. So that’s around $700 in your first year, $1148 by the second and $1496 by the end of your third year.
Now let’s compare this to having your website built professionally by a web developer. It is hard to compare as you can have a website made from around $500 to $5000 depending on who you use, but let’s compare this with an average build price of $1500. So at this price, it would include your first year of hosting, SSL and Domain Registration fees, and by the third year, you would have spent a total of $1700.
Still more expensive, right? Well, Yes, if you don’t include a few other factors, but we will get into that in a moment. By the fifth year, things start to even out, with the do it yourself services coming in at $2292 and the professional built at $1900. But if you push this out even further to the 10-year mark, you can see just how much more it will cost you. The DIY service sits at $3932 spent, while the professional build costs $2400. That is a $1500 saving over this time frame. But there is one other factor with these DIY services that is the highest hidden cost.
Value your time and be more productive
Everyone starts their businesses for different reasons. Some do it for money, others, freedom and some just because they have a great idea. But if I had a dollar for every time a client tells me, “I just don’t have the time”, I would be retired on a beach in Margret River right now! The biggest asset of any entrepreneur or business owner is their time, and you will waste it if you don’t value it.
Here is a quick example. Say you run a workshop, and most of your day, you are helping out on the tools getting it done. The rest of your day, you’re making phone calls to win new business, cleaning the workshop and doing admin work. This might seem ok, but you can make and break your business if you are the only one bringing in new business.
Now let’s say for every ten phone calls you make, you are winning new business worth $1000 to the company. So if you can make ten calls an hour and you’re working an eight hour day, that’s a potential of $8000 a day or $40,000 a week. Not bad, right, but can you see where you’re going wrong? You’re spending time cleaning and doing admin work! Cleaners and admin staff cost less than $40 an hour, and you’re giving up time to do these simple tasks?
Here is the point around DIY website builders. To learn, create and implement a half-decent website, you will be spending twenty hours minimum, if not hundreds, to get the end product you want. This doesn’t even include ensuring load speeds, Google and Facebook integration, chat integration, SEO page layout, Technical SEO, and great content.
There is a reason that platforms like WordPress are the significant players for business websites in Perth, Australia and the rest of the world. It’s open-source, and you have the freedom to create unique websites. To give you an idea, as of 2021, there are 455,000,000 WordPress based websites around the globe. Compare this to Wix with 22,000,000, Shopify with 500,000 and Squarespace with 2,900,000.
Yes, there are costs with plugins, just like the do it yourself websites, but the sheer volume of choice is enormous by comparison. The point of this article isn’t to dump on the DIY services, as they have their space in the marketplace. Instead, you need to value your time and focus on the tasks that you’re good at to grow your business.
The long and the skinny of it is this. Yes, I am a website developer, and I can give most businesses a 100% custom (No Templates) website with unlimited hosting, bandwidth, and all the bells and whistles for around $1500. Comparing this to the DIY builders’ costs when you value your time, you can see how more efficient it is to get it done professionally.
Are there any Pros to DIY website builders?
It’s not all doom and gloom for the DIY website builders platforms, and in some unique cases, I would even recommend them. For example, this would work if you haven’t started your business yet but want a simple page to point potential customers towards while you figure everything out. Or maybe what you’ve created is just something for fun and not an entire fledge business. The main difference between DIY and Profesisoanly built website is the upfront cost.
There is one other point that I alluded to earlier: website security. Straight out of the gate, most DIY website builders have excellent protection to stop hackers from gaining access to customer data. This isn’t to say the professional websites don’t, but it is usually something that is an add-on and will cost you more. The saving grace is that a simple plugin like Wordfence or even having a managed security arrangement isn’t that expensive.
So like always, Live Large and Take Charge – Cam.
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