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Plug-and-Play Website Building
I have found from personal experience, as well as from the experience of other therapists whose sites I’ve worked with, that the ready-made programs that do not require you to know programing code can work to get a functional website constructed and online.
This is the most inviting option, at least initially. It seems easy, entry level costs are kept low and the therapist has the fun and gratification of having some part in building their own website. You can feel the most people using this option that they have really put their unique stamp on their site.
The website building business has exploded in the last five years. There are numerous companies, large and small, that sell plug-and-play, one-stop websites. Competition is stiff. Will They promise to get your domain name registered, provide all the technical support you need to build your website, then launch it and host it and even provide some SEO benefits. All of these benefits for a small monthly fee, usually in the vicinity of $40-$60 per month.
Unfortunately, many of the features you may want to incorporate into the website building process, are not included in the basic site building package and therefore must be added in as needed. These hidden costs can easily boost the monthly total cost to $100 per month or more.
A Close Look at the DIY Website Building Programs
After some time of using a “build-it-yourself” website program,
the fun can wear off as the challenges emerge.
- First, either you or somebody you hire must go into the administrative sections of whoever is hosting your website and do the work of designing, constructing and populating each page of your website with good content. That takes time and some technical aptitude, regardless of easy it may seem.
- In the process of building your website, regardless of whoever hosts it, there are “architectural factors” which, if properly worked into the original design of your website, can provide better search engine optimization (SEO) boosts to page rankings once your site is launched. Of course, if you are building your own website with one of these many building programs out there, you must know what you’re doing in order to integrate good user experience, content marketing as well as search engine optimization features into the architecture of the design of your website. Chances are, your DIY website building provider will not be available for these kinds of tutorials.
- There’s a learning curve to working with these website builder programs. They are all different. If you use TherapySites and learn how to use their website building editor, you have to start all over again if for some reason you decided to switch to WIX or WordPress, SquareSpace or GoDaddy. The site-building editors tend to be clunky and limited in what they can do. They are often not user friendly or intuitive, in which case you now will be spending time on the phone waiting for a person in technical support to answer what should be a simple question.
- There can be glitches in their programs for one reason or the other, such as your new work is not saved even though you hit the “Save” button. Now you have to start over. Or the designing software has a quirky sequence you have to learn by trial and error. All of this takes time, your time or somebody else’s time you must pay for. Either way, this time is expensive.
- I’m not sure what time factors are here, but I would suspect that a newbie, starting out with a build it yourself website building program will be spending between 10 and 20 hours to finalize a decent 5 to 10 page website.
- Speaking of time, every website, once built and online, needs to be maintained. All the research shows that better ranking websites have blogs with articles in the vicinity of 2000 words or more. Not only are long articles ranked higher, but blogs are regularly (weekly) feed right higher than static blogs. Comments must be monitored, your social media accounts maintained an internal linking kept up-to-date.
- Getting your website built and paying the costs involved, both time and money, is just the beginning. What you begin, must be maintained and nurtured so that your organic search returns begin to grow and stay high in their intranet rankings.
I mention all of these pluses and minuses of do-it-yourself website building not to discourage you, but to inform you accurately so that when you begin, you have a realistic idea of how to finish successfully and sustain your online success. The decisions you make will hopefully be well informed and based upon factual understanding of internet realities. You have alternatives the the TherapySites type programs.
Bespoken or Commissioned Website Building
The results of choosing this option can be very good, provided you have selected a website building expert or company of experts who makes the kind of product and website you’re looking for. The advantages are, they do all the work, have all the technical knowledge and know-how necessary, understand the secret workings of how to optimize your site, launch your site and nurse it to a high rank position in SERPs (search engine result pages).
Those are the upsides of the commissioned website option. The singular downside, in most cases, is the higher cost. For a small website, meaning 5 to 8 pages in size, the cheapest bespoken site I have found starts at $3500. More realistic estimates start at $8000 and go up, depending upon your specifications and desired website features.
Hybrid Commissioned Websites
This is the option I offer and can work very well on many fronts, including keeping costs under control. I become your webmaster who builds your website and provides all the other services necessary for your site to function well. But, rather than starting from scratch, I will either do the work for you with the plug-and-play website builder of your choice or you can use the one I prefer to use, WordPress and the theme of your choice.
I am not a wiz-kid programmer building sites from the ground up. But I am a good webmaster.
Hiring a web master to build your site not only takes the building burdens off your shoulders, but can incorporate from the beginning that person’s knowledge and expertise into the very foundation of the website and its optimization.
Summary of Website Building Options
|DIY, Plug-and-Play||Commissioned Website||Hybrid Commissioned, Using a Webmaster|
|Pros||No coding knowledge needed||Professional looking||Less expensive or time consuming|
|Low initial cost||Provides guidance but you have control||You have some control and can give direction|
|Easy start to finish
|Low time demands||Accesses expertise with a personal touch|
|Can have good SEO if they know what they are doing||Hire a webmaster good at building and optimizing (SEO)|
|Cons||Takes time||Very expensive to start||Is more costly than DIY|
|Little assistance offered. Hard to find human help||Must have similar expertise for life of site or you need to learn code and site design||Can present problems if your webmaster is not professional, leaves, not available|
|Little human work applied, mostly machines do it|
|Has a cookie-cutter look to it, looks like other sites; risks duplicate content|