It is not so difficult to design your own blog or website these days – buy a hosting package and domain name, install WordPress on your server, pick a basic free theme and click a few switches, change a few colours and add in a few of your own photos and some text and away you go. Simple eh ?
Unfortunately this does not generally produce a good, professional looking design and you can usually see when this approach has been taken. As a starting point when you are starting up this might be an acceptable compromise to get you started and may be better than nothing (although some aren’t and can do more harm than good).
In some cases, for example for a simple blog, a simple basic theme (like the default WordPress themes that come packaged with it) may be sufficient but if you want to use it as a marketing tool to promote your business this is probably not a good approach.
Your website has 2 main purposes, it establishes your credibility as a professional (it is typically the first place someone looks after you meet them to find out more about you and your business) and also it is obviously a marketing tool to promote your products and services, your “shop window” for your business.
Poor quality, less professional looking design unfortunately has a direct impact on the credibility of your business – if you cut corners and do things on the cheap, it can give the impression to your customers that this is the way you always work. Nothing lets a website down more than poor design, poor graphics, low quality images and poor quality content. This also applies across all your branding and marketing materials.
A good tip – take a look at what your competitors are doing. If they have a professional looking website then you clearly need to equal or better this. If they have a poor looking site then you can easily better them with a professional looking one giving you an immediate competitive advantage.
You also need to be aware that a website also needs to be designed and built in the correct way technically in order to work best as a marketing tool and to make it search engine friendly. This takes a fair amount of experience and technical knowledge and takes time and effort to do it correctly but is important to make your site visible and search friendly.
One other important factor these days you must consider – does your website design adapt to work on mobile devices with different screen sizes? With the massive growth of mobile platforms, and the different way people use the Internet the days, if you are building a new website or don’t have this functionality, you need it !
Most “DIY” websites need a lot of additional work to make them look more professional and get them working. More often, it is better to start all over again and create a completely new one.