Local business owners are, by their very nature, DIY types. I am a DIY type. I like doing DIY web development because I enjoy learning new things, getting things done my way, making decisions as I see fit in the time frame I desire. I do lots of stuff myself, but there’s a popular notion that I should value my time somehow and compare that value to the hourly rate of paying to have something done. Whatever. I enjoy mowing my own lawn and repairing the fence. Who would do my dishes at the precise moment they need to be done?
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to discern whether DIY is actually a good idea and when you’re in way over your head.
Web development for your local business is an example of a DIY opportunity that is so tempting, but such a bad idea. You can certainly create an account with Wix or SquareSpace and create an operational website with pretty graphics, your own domain, and call it good. This will cost you about $120/year. If you’re really up to snuff, you can create a hosting account, download WordPress for free, find a free theme, buy a domain (with privacy of course), point it to your host, fiddle around with getting your site nice and pretty for a couple days, and you’re good for about $50/yr.
And then nothing happens because you have to go back to providing the services that keep you in business.
The whole idea was that DIY websites were supposed to save money and be easy to get up and running (which they do). But they don’t work because making a site with pretty graphics is only the very first step of a long marathon of effort that results in phone calls and new business for you. Sure, there are instructions all over the place on how to market your site, but they’re confusing, contradictory, and it’s hard to know who to trust. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what to do – I don’t know how to build very good cabinets, or give a very good massage, or prepare a gourmet meal.
But I do know how to build and maintain a website that will attract and convert traffic into business. I’ve been in the web business since 1997, working for some very large sites producing millions of page views every month and making good money as an ad sales account executive, but now I want to do my own thing – just like you.
Before you condemn this site or this blog as lousy or incomplete – I realize it’s half baked. I’m not terribly concerned with my site – I’m concerned with yours. I operate in a weird, middle world full of gurus where smoke and mirrors prevail. You operate in the real world, providing services that people in your community need and want – law, massage, dentistry, chiropractic, medicine, heating, construction…
My job, is to help people in your community find you, and when they do, make sure that they choose you.
If you’re not ready for a full on platform shift and redesign of your whole web presence, let’s meet where you are. I’ll conduct a personal analysis of your site, prepare a screencast of my experience looking for vendors like you in your community online, and provide action steps versus your competitors. You can still be a DIYer, but I can make it a lot easier.