The Hidden Costs of DIY Website Builders

The Hidden Costs of DIY Website Builders

Don’t let hidden website costs sink your restaurant.

You’ve heard and seen the commercials for DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and GoDaddy, but have you ever really asked yourself if you should use them for your restaurant?

After all, wouldn’t it be better to save some money on your website and build it yourself instead of spending thousands of dollars to have someone build you a website?

While it may seem extremely tempting to pay less than $10/month for such a service, it begs the following questions:

  • Would you hire a chef with no experience?
  • Would you fix your electrical wiring?
  • How about your medical care? Would you perform your own surgery?
  • Would you build your own home or lay your own sprinkler system?

The answer to most of those questions is most likely, “no.”

In this article, we look at the hidden costs of DIY website builders and why you should steer clear of them.

Hidden Cost: Cookie Cutter Sites

You want to stand out in the crowd, right?

DIY website builders use specific templates that all look alike. They use these templates because they’re easy for their users.

DIY builders use pre-fabricated themes, and you use their drag and drop tools to add graphics and text.

What this might mean for you is that the restaurant down the street has a website that looks just like yours.

You want a website that’s designed for you and resonates with your customers.

To distinguish yourself from the competition, the DIY trend isn’t a good idea.

Hidden Cost: Nothing is Ever Free or Really Cheap

You’re drawn in by the price tag. The DIY website is inexpensive, but, is it really?

On the surface, it might seem like you’re saving money using one of these services, but let’s look at the costs that can add up:

  • Your time is used up because you are doing the work. You have to write the copy, choose and edit the graphics and then do the creation. So, the time you might spend growing your business or managing your staff is eaten up in large amounts.
  • Storage costs a lot. This can add up. So, while the site may be $10 per month, you might end up at $50 per month just so you have enough hosting for your photos and online menu.
  • You still have to pay for a domain.
  • The template you want might cost more than the standard rate.

Hidden Cost: Quality

Just as there’s a difference between fast food and fine dining, there’s a difference between hiring a reputable web design company and using a DIY website builder.

After all, you get what you pay for.

The quality of your do-it-yourself website will suffer and look amateurish compared to a professional design, and you’ll notice that sets the tone or what people expect of your food.

Hidden Cost: Launching Your Site

When it comes time to launch your site, there isn’t anyone to come to your rescue.

For example, you think you have either just right, but suddenly, on launch day, your right column menu is now at the bottom of your page. Or, while everything looked great in the demo, once you get involved and spend hours customizing it, nothing shows up where you want it.

If you hired a company to build your website, you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Also, a developer isn’t going to rush to your rescue because web developers and designers don’t want to work in DIY builders.

Most of the free or cheap website builders don’t allow you access to the code, so even if someone wanted to help you, they couldn’t touch the HTML code on your website.

hidden costs

Professional website companies help your restaurant stand out from the competition.

Hidden Cost: You Don’t Own the Site

What if you get frustrated and want to move your website to a new domain? Or, what if the DIY website builder goes out of business?

Unfortunately for your restaurant, you don’t own the website, and you can’t take it with you to another domain.

Hidden Cost: Search Engines

One of the most important aspects of your website is making sure it’s optimized for search engines.

Are you an expert at this? Probably not. And, your website builder isn’t either.

If you have little knowledge about site structure, alt tags and title tags, DIY isn’t the route for you, and it won’t work well with the search engines. (tweet this)

Building a website is more than drag and drop. It’s organizing your content into pages that make sense and are optimized for SEO.

Search engine optimization is so important for your restaurant website because if customers can’t find you online, they certainly can’t find you in person.

Because there is little help for you, you’ll have to figure all of the search engine optimization out on your own.

It’s important to note that there are real experts at this, and they are developers who spend hours and hours every week staying up-do-date on the latest algorithms. It’s not DIY website builders.

DIY website are notoriously poor at SEO.  This is a risk you can’t afford to take.

Hidden Cost: Website Changes

What happens when you need website maintenance or website changes, and you no longer have the time to make it happen?

You can expect to pay between $50-100 an hour if you need help with your website and any edits.

Hidden Cost: Technology Upgrades

Another hidden cost comes with technology upgrades.

DIY website builders may not keep your website up-to-date. It’s concerning for you because technology is constantly changing.

To have a restaurant website that ranks consistently well on search engine results pages and that converts customers, you have to have the latest technology.

Final Thoughts

At first glance, you can see why DIY website builders appeal to many restaurant owners.

But, after reading this article on the hidden costs of DIY website builders, you can see how these options can lead to extreme frustration down the road.

Your website is too important for a DIY website builder. When it comes to your restaurant you want someone skilled at design who creates the perfect user experience, adding compelling calls to action and intriguing copy. (tweet this)

You want a restaurant website expert who knows how to build a website that drives traffic to your restaurant.

Today, your restaurant website is your most important marketing asset. It’s what all your other digital and print marketing relies upon. So, do yourself a favor, and hire the right people to build your website.

At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!

Images: Vitaly and Jay Wennington on Unsplash


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