You built your own website? I'm out!

Posted by Paul on October 14, 2011

As a start-up you have to keep your costs to an absolute minimum. You also need a website to refer people to. So it's tempting to have a go yourself. The problem is that unless you've got professional web development experience, it's probably going to be pretty obvious to everyone that the website is home-made.

Deborah Meaden from Dragons' Den would tend to agree:

"I would always use external experts to design or advise on website design. Also, I think it is disastrous for a business to try and build its own website unless, of course, building websites is their business or they have previously worked with websites and have the technical skill. It is a highly specialised area. There is a real danger that it will look as if they have designed it themselves and don't really know what they are doing. I know how websites should be built, but I would not dream of trying to build one on my own. In addition, as well as getting a professional job, it is helpful to get an outsider to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes to decide whether it is hitting the spot and providing would-be customers with the details they actually care about.

So, what are the key factors to remember when a company is designing a decent website? First the only page that people are guaranteed to see if they find the site is the front page. If that looks wrong or if people are confused or disappointed by that page, they will go no further and will leave the site. If a company tries to be too clever on an opening page or starts off with a complicated introduction, one of two things will happen: the consumer will get utterly confused and think that this is not the website they had hoped it was, or, worse still, it will take ages to load up and the person who is left with the spinning wheel of doom at the other end will simply click elsewhere and never even see the swanky site at all."

Click here to read more from Deborah's excellent book.

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