What’s up Solopeneurs! Today is all about how you’re getting your website created. Should you go it alone & DIY or rock with a hired Pro? Sometime DIY seems like the simplest way to go but you could be setting yourself, your website visitors, and your brand up for frustration and failure. Let’s do this deep dive together and help you figure out the best approach for you and some pitfalls to avoid.

Popular Website Development Tools for DIY

Website development & design can be either exciting or dreadful – depending on a couple of factors: the tools and software you use, the plan you’ve created, and the expectations you have.

Most people are comfortable with Content Management Systems like WordPress, Squarespace, Drupal, and Kartra. I’ve learned a while ago that regardless of what you use there is a learning curve and even more so, you should have a deep understanding of what you are expecting to do with your website. Your purpose, pre-planning, and expectations will all help you form a proper decision on what you need. Ultimately this will help you decide which platform would be best to build your website on.

Many folks will tell you want they prefer but never really get into the details of why they prefer these platforms.

I’m a Worpress lover but I’ve worked on multiple platforms including Squarespace, Wix, Drupal, Kartra to name a few. I even worked with earlier systems through Lycos and Yahoo (waaaaay back yonder).

Dreamweaver is not a CMS but I’ve been down that road as well.

So CMSs have been best for those who aren’t interested or don’t have the time to invest in building a website from scratch and through heavy coding systems like Dreamweaver would require.

The Purpose Behind Customization

Despite companies convincing Novice users and on-coders that there’s no need to know code to create their website they leave out the fact that customization is not possible without an understanding of code and/or design techniques. Systems like Squarespace and WordPress.com are awesome if you don't mind using cookie-cutter templates that others will use based on layout and need while implementing basic color changes and block changes.

A fully customized website on those platforms still require access to a Developer platform and/or extensive CSS additions.

WordPress & Page Builders

WordPress.org is more of a standalone version in the WordPress ecosystem and allows users to build with more freedom. To build quickly theme- and page builders like Elementor, Divi, and Beaver Builder are used. These allow for complete customization without the dependency of a theme. Divi unfortunately traps your content (text, images, video, etc.) into short codes which if you decide to stop using the Divi page builder, your website will end up looking code broken and out of whack.

A page builder like Elementor gives you more freedom in not locking your content in codes but you would lose the layout design should you switch away from their system — either way, you never lose your content.

You can handle all these different systems on your own and DIY it all if you have time or are ready to learn along the way. I’ve had Solopreneurs tell me that they were frustrated with having to learn along the way as web design was not their thing. This was the response with Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress — no system allowed a non-techie, non-designer to escape this feeling.

Know Best Practices & Techniques

There’s no such thing as “no need to know” if you are truly trying to build a fully functional website.

There are design and development techniques that are used to ensure that any website is being built for the ultimate purpose of the individual business. There is no one-stop solution for all businesses. Two online eCommerce stores would have different needs and should be built to accommodate those needs. The same for business consultants, online eLearning websites, photographers, and even website designers. Every business is unique and your website should be designed to showcase this.

Investing In A Pro

If you decide to hire a Pro like me you’re investing in someone who thinks of all the elements required to make your ultimate goals become achievable through your website. Our focus is to help Solopreneurs realize map out their website while thinking about what are the top three objectives for the business.

Pulling the Tech Together

Basic CSS and HTML are simple enough to pick up quickly; the tricky part comes in when you want to begin implementing dynamic elements or pulling all the vital elements required to complete a marketing campaign. Time and effort are required with any website project and you want to make sure that whoever works on your website (DIY or Pro) that everything works well with each other to allow you to realize your goals.

If you’re a complete Novice, sometimes it’s best to invest in someone who can help you achieve your goals the right way the first time around – rather than a bunch of misses and lost opportunities.

When it comes to DIY many Solopreneurs get lost when thinking about where to start. Not only is the investment a factor, you want to consider your Pro’s specialties and what you need from them. If you need more flexibility, you may want to work with another Solopreneur or small business as a large agency may be out of your budget and more rigid when it comes to how they work with you.

When possible, use recommendations and see what your Pro has done previously. This is really for you to use as a gauge but not their ultimate breadth of work & possibilities.

The Final Rundown

Either way, if you're going DIY or investing in a Pro you still want to consider all the pieces that should come together to create a website that helps you reach your goal(s). Think about what you need BEFORE you start anything or hire anyone.

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect should you go DIY or Pro, we’ll get into the planning & research strategies to make sure you’re getting what you bargained for with your website.

Show Notes

1:03 • Popular Website Development Tools for DIY

2:46 • The Purpose Behind Customization

3:56 • WordPress & Page Builders

5:30 • Know Best Practices & Techniques

6:21 • Investing In A Pro

6:44 • Pulling the Tech Together

8:24 • The Final Rundown

Resources Mentioned

Kartra: https://home.kartra.com/

WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/

Squarespace: https://www.squarespace.com/

Wix: https://www.wix.com/

WordPress Standalone: https://wordpress.org

Drupal: https://www.drupal.org/

Dreamweaver: https://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html

Elementor (Page Builder): https://elementor.com/pro/

Resources & Show Notes: https://bklyncustomdesigns.com/podcast

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Bklyn Custom Designs: https://bklyncustomdesigns.com

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