WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, Shopify, and the like are really great tools for people that need an online space to showcase their business and sell their wares. However, if you have used one of these tools, you probably noticed some limitations. Or, maybe you got sticker shock from the hosting fees and extra costs for additional features. It may have been easy to set up your homepage, but does your site follow best practices? Is it secure? Is it accessible to people with disabilities? (You can get sued for that, you know?) DIY builders are convenient to set up, but they leave the rest up to you. I know what it takes to create a good website because I am dedicated to the best SEO practices. I can help you convert your DIY website into one that is fully customized and functional on the front- and back-end. Here are some reasons why you should switch:

WordPress is notoriously not secure

If you have a WordPress site, you probably have noticed it updates a lot. In the past year, WordPress was scheduled to update once every three months with several unexpected security patches in between. You might shrug off these updates like you would for your phone’s operating system, but these are important! When WordPress has a patch, that means someone found a security exploit and could be stealing your customers’ sensitive data. And that’s just the WordPress core. Along with those updates, the myriad of plugins installed to make your site work will need to update, too, and the WordPress updates could break those plugins. You don’t want your WooCommerce shop to go down do you? Us neither! In my eight years of web development experience, I’ve seen this happen many times. You will most likely need an engineer to fix it.

My sites are built with Jekyll, a static site builder that is trusted by businesses both big and small. Netflix support isn’t messing with WordPress security updates and neither do we. You probably haven’t heard of Jekyll since WordPress dominates the market with its ease of setup through hosting partners. But every engineer knows the benefits of Jekyll: security, speed, and simplicity. It doesn’t use an external database, which is the vulnerability that exposes WordPress to security issues. With Jekyll, all the code and content is under one secure roof that can’t be hacked. Also, I put my websites behind the industry-leading proxy service Cloudflare. It’s double secure, and the best part is you never have to worry about updating it. Jekyll builds static HTML and there isn’t really much to update there; I have already set the code in place to last until the internet ceases to exist.

DIY builders have hidden fees on top of monthly fees and server fees

Do you want to integrate your Facebook page into your site? On WordPress, that’s on the premium tier. Oh, sorry, you’re on the basic tier? That will be $50 more a month. Do you want to vertically center your homepage title? That’s in the premium CSS package, which means another $15 a month. Your Elementor theme allows you to create a page quickly, but did you remember to pay for your annual license? Looks like you’ll need to cough up some bucks before you make that staff page. None of the features you want and need are included in the monthly fee, the server fee, or the annual domain registry. So what are you paying for? These DIY builders make it convenient to build and manage a site, if you want to pay up. And those features might not even fulfill your needs, so you’re back at square one with a lighter wallet.

Jekyll sites are free to host with Github Pages. Yes, you read that right, FREE! There’s no catch. It’s not ad supported and you don’t need to pay extra for any custom features. GitHub is the largest code repository in the world, trusted by millions of coders, and I have set up my websites to be hosted on their platform. They make their money off of memberships and throw in the page hosting for free since a lot of developers are building very complex products that are hosted elsewhere.

DIY builders are limited to what they are built to do

Our engineers are a curious and tenacious bunch. They love an edge case. It means they get to use their engineer brains, figure out a solution for you, and learn something new along the way. Squarespace, Wix, and other templates do not have the same mindset because they are lines of code—and lines of code do not have curiosity. They can only do a limited set of functions, which means if your business needs a unique solution, you’re going to have to try to inject code you copied off of some support forum post from 2003.

You will get every single personal touch you want with my sites. I will coordinate with you to make sure you have every single possible piece of content on your site. Plus, I will create a custom content management system just for you along with guidance and training if you want to add more. For all of this, you pay me once and we’ll give you the option to add support hours on your contract if you want to make updates beyond what I set you up to do.

You can do it yourself, but do you know what you’re doing?

Your DIY builder will let you do whatever font color you want—but that’s actually a con, rather than a pro. Did you know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you can be sued for non-compliance if the ratio of your background to foreground colors does not exceed AA WCAG standards? Do you even know what this means? I do and we’re obsessed with accessibility. It’s not just legal and moral to make an accessible website, it also impacts your user experience.

When it comes to images—sure, you can upload a 10MB image to the homepage, but did you know large images will impact your page load? This means users won’t wait for that huge file to load on mobile, and they will leave your website before making a purchase. Search engines prioritize accessible and fast-loading pages. Your DIY service doesn’t care how fast your homepage loads or if your product images are scannable by screen readers.

As a business owner, you’re most likely worried about the Merlot harvest or roasting those fresh beans from Costa Rica. You just want to move product and build your brand. However, I suggest running a Google Lighthouse test on your website. What does it score? I aim for 100, and anything below 90 is simply unacceptable.

Speaking of performance, do you have analytics installed? Can your marketing team tell you the value of your landing pages in terms of dollars? Do you know what search terms people use to get to your site? Do you know which pages have the highest bounce rates? That isn’t a problem with my websites because my sites come standard with Google Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager installed.

Your website is your business

Because you put everything into your business, you want everything to shine, from your labels to your storefront. So why settle for just any website? Your website is the first thing potential customers will see. Think about it: when you want to find the best plumber, what do you do? Google it of course! Now with customers stuck at home and not conversing with their co-workers at the water cooler, you need to make a great first impression. Let me create a custom website that will look great and perform flawlessly.