So, you’ve come to the conclusion that you need a good website, or a great new app for your business. You want to engage with customers and clients, build leads and manage new prospects digitally.
But perhaps you’re not sure where to start when it comes to website code and the behind-the- scenes workings of a smartphone app… maybe the initial cost to hire staff or engage digital consultants is a bit beyond your reach right now.
So, why not consider DIY?
Increasingly, thanks in part to the rise of a digitally fearless generation, many small business owners and personal content creators are DIY-ing their way to their own websites and user- friendly apps.
For many, the decision to build, create or manage digital software autonomously is driven by cost. It can be cheaper for a solo enterprise or small business to engage a media platform to help create a website or app, and then use a range of tools to manage the software independently, on a daily basis.
There can also be a few time factors at play. If your business offering is simple enough, you can often receive a great return on investment by managing the digital outworkings yourself. Updating your website with breaking news, new products or a fresh article can be quicker if it’s self- managed based on your business priorities. The same goes for apps.
Here are some factors to consider when DIY-ing your way to websites and apps.
Start with simple –
Think layout, text, copy, images, menu bars, products, service offerings: the lot. Keeping your website and app as simple as possible can ensure it’s easier for you to personally manage. Consumers and customers also enjoy user-friendly, easy-to-follow and easy-to-understand web pages and app interactions. Keeping things minimal can draw in your audience and potential customers – sometimes it’s far more effective than a whole lot of bells, whistles and too many navigational options.
A little learning goes a long way –
Pick a good platform –
There are plenty of platforms that can help you build a website or app on a budget – it’s now becoming more affordable than ever to get your content online and manage your software yourself. If you’re time-poor on learning basic code or kick-starting the design process, there a range of tried and tested platforms that can fill in the gaps for you. Do your research online – be aware that not all platforms offer the same functions. Check out reviews from previous users before making your final decision.
Consider design flexibility –
Whatever platform you choose for your website or app build, consider design flexibility. Will you be able to update and adjust the design features as trends change, in a few months or a few years’ time? Keep in mind that even if you decide on minimalistic and simple designs, they may require regular updates. Being able to easily change your design and migrate your copy across could be a priority for you.
Beware the no-backup –
Some platforms may not have a backup option for your website or app content. If you want the flexibility of taking your website to another platform or provider in future, or migrating the content for other purposes, it may be wise to choose a platform with a back-up option.
User testing –
The build can be the fun part – and so often, we can forget about proper user testing before going live with our website or app! Whether it’s staff, family, friends, consultants – or a mixture of a few – it’s important to engage others in helping test your online DIY creation. Have others help you proof-read the copy, test all links and buttons, and get their feedback to ensure an easy user experience all-round.
Think about life beyond the launch –
A lot of time and effort can go into your website or app build. It’s fun to get into the design detail, organising and proofing the copy, and building up to your online launch. But don’t forget to consider the ‘life beyond’ the launch! Take some time to plan a small marketing and media strategy to get the word out about your new online offering. Whether you have a small budget, or want to build an organic following through social media, your current customer base and beyond – having a few promotional plans up your sleeve will ensure your hard software work is seen by as many people as possible. Perhaps a technology blogger would love the change to review your app or website – think outside the box to increase your exposure and grow your user base.
Plan to maintain –
A good digital offering is always changing to reflect industry and business trends. Be prepared to maintain your website or app over time – a good schedule decided in advance can assist with this. While your online content may not need to be changed daily, new images, a change in colours or up-to-date articles may help to keep your digital offering fresh and aesthetically pleasing to new, and regular, users.
Creating a website or app to support your business doesn’t have to be time-consuming or financially draining. With a bit of research and well-considered platform partners, the process can be affordable, fun and lead to great results for your brand and organisation.