The website that jack built!
DIY Website Case Study.
In this case study we are going to look at the website that “Jack” built. Of course Jack is not his real name and we won’t be exposing this persons website but we will look at where they went wrong. Let’s set the scene and have a little look into the history with Jack. I met Jack quite some time ago and we became good friends and acquaintances. Jack was keen to grow his business online and wasn’t sure what to do or how to go about it.
Over the next few years (4-5 years) I worked with Jack building many websites for the different aspects of his business. We built many websites over the years and had a great working relationship. Working together to build a small empire including video products, graphic design items, websites and more. One day Jack comes to me and says I have been watching how you do things for the past few years and I think I can now do this myself.
This had come as a bit of a shock to me but I was happy to package up all of his files and send Jack on his way. Now Jack has built himself a new platform from scratch on WIX and good on him. But this is where things can go wrong and where I think Jack made a big mistake.
When Jack had access to my professional development skills and my ability to provide experienced feedback we had a plan. Jack made his new platform but merged too many ideas into one. Jack’s new website covers more than 8 different topics and many that are unrelated to his core business. Lets say jacks core business is caravans for example, it would be logical for jack to sell things like tow accessories, gas bottles and camping supplies. But if you sold caravans would you also consider selling makeup and beauty products.
Jack appears to know what he’s talking about with his caravans and related products but it is kind of off putting to see Jack selling makeup. This was the first mistake Jack made and it is a common mistake for business owners trying to save money. Many business owners to save money will cram multiple unrelated topics into one website just to save paying for a second platform.
The second mistake Jack made with his own website platform is over crowding and complication. The front page of Jack’s website has more than 45 links visible. Combine those links with more than 20 images and social sharing links. This site no effective flow of information and the eye just does not know where to look. The page is also broken into visible containers each with different topics but all are different sizes and colours. This contributes to the confusion for the viewer.
The next big mistake Jack has made is in his design. There is very little thought put into colour, shape, and balance. Visually on this site there are 4-5 different colours for the buttons. The background colour is a teal blue with what I can only describe as a manilla folder coloured content background. The header then introduces a white background. There appears to be no colour theory used or colour scheme present.
I guess what I am trying to push across here is that first impressions count. When I visit this site I see random chaos attempting to work together in some form of disjointed harmony. Jack made a few key mistakes when building this site. Those mistakes are:
- Do not overcrowd your business website with too many different competing ideas and concepts.
- Don’t just throw everything on the page and assume people will read it. You only have a few short seconds to grab someones attention do not waste them with confusion.
- Think about your brand and that of your website and consult a design specialist who can help you identify colours and brand elements. It may cost you money in the short term but it will make money for you in the long run.
- Just because you think you can do it on your own does not mean you should. In many cases you will spend the same if not more money in time and effort building your own website platform.
Your business deserves a quality online presence and a website is not an expense. A website is an investment in the future of your business and it needs to be built well and maintained properly. Your business website is an ever growing project that needs to evolve over time.
We recommend that all business owners should do the following 3 things when it comes to their business website:
- Look at refreshing your website every 12 – 18 months. This doesn’t mean change it completely but modify it to improve its flow and readability.
- Consult a professional design company to either build your website or consult on your DIY website.
- Keep your website up to date and current with its framework, design and search engine optimisation.
A happy website ultimately means an increase in revenue to your business. Can you actually afford to do it yourself?