Tech Fights: DIY vs. Managed Websites

We pit 2 tech opponents against each other, Techo a Techo. No file is left unindexed. Tech Fights: DIY vs. Managed Websites compares the Security, Price, Agility, Design, SEO, Accessibility, User Experience, and Time Commitment for Do it Yourself websites and Managed Websites.

Do it Yourself Websites

Definition

A DIY or Do It Yourself website is where you find a SAAS (Software as a Service) platform for cheap and pick a CMS and a template. You are responsible for everything, what you don’t know you get youtube certified on.

Intro   

DIY (Do it yourself) websites are made possible by CMSs (content management systems) such as WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly etc and their built in templates.

At a ‘too good to be true’ price point, rarely is there an entrepreneur who hasn’t tried them.. At least once.. What you get or don’t goes much deeper than the template design you pick. They can be frustrating, but if the template fits wear it.

 

Managed Websites

Definition

A managed website is a plan where for a fixed price your website is maintained, secured, edited, reviewed, and managed by a professional website firm so you don’t have to worry about it. Sometimes the implementation and design is a fixed package or quoted based off the needs of the website.

Intro   

Managed websites for small businesses are a rare breed. They pack quite the punch of features you would never think about but should.

Its up front transparency on actual costs gets it less URL dates, but they tend to stay as their aren’t many surprises.

Not for those who want to spend unpredictable amounts of time figuring their website out, but what business owner needs more time?

Let the fight begin!

 

security SECURITY:

Once we had a potential client come to us who was looking to make some changes to their website. I did what I always do, I Googled them to see what we were coming from.. To my surprise and their horror next to their Site Title right there in the Google search results for the description it said, “Asian WebCam Girls’. Turns out it was a WordPress site that no one was updating or managing. Ouch! That is what all potential clients were seeing when they looked for them online.

If you have a common CMS like WordPress and don’t update it and carefully choose what plugins you install your site can be hacked by a 5th grader and a few Google searches to find the right script. In our experience, the Do it Yourselfer rarely updates and it can hurt. Managed websites also have monitoring, backups, encryption, and other security features that might not be available or thought of in most off the shelf options.

Whichever route you choose have a security policy and stick to it.

 

Price PRICE:

It is always cheaper to do it yourself with a few assumptions.

  1.  You know what you are doing enough to accomplish the task
  2.  You don’t cause unpredicted costs in the future to fix things that were greater than paying someone to do it
  3. The money you would have spent is more valuable than the time you will spend
  4. The time it takes you to do it isn’t so great that the opportunity cost of not having it complete hurts your business (this happens a lot, the DIY project never seems to end… …. … ).

You can always lay tile cheaper than paying someone to do it, but sometimes we don’t want to lay tile, we just want it to be done right. This one is important on what you decide, there isn’t a wrong answer but know yourself and make sure the answer is right for you.

 

agility AGILITY:

This one is a mixed bag. The DIY option gives instant gratification. If I want to change text I log in and change it right then! Can’t be more agile than that! Now let’s say you want a new feature where your website is integrated with your CRM so you know what social media site the visitor came from that actually contacted you… you look for a plugin but find out that because you choose x CMS it isn’t an option. You are limited by choices you didn’t even know you were making. Or the template won’t let you do x.

Now on the managed side you might need to call or email in some edits and they might take a few hours before you see them on your site. Not as instant but pretty quick, and your site is backed by a team of developers who can help with new features, changes or questions.

 

Design DESIGN:

Sometimes you can find a perfect template that matches what you want and isn’t too templatey. There are some good ones. On a managed site you also sometimes start from a template. The difference is future edits on a managed site are done by a web designer so your design doesn’t degrade over time but always looks good.

 

seoicon SEO:

You can do SEO yourself, just something else to learn. Unfortunately many times we see some counterproductive behaviors. For example Instead of adding content a small business owner might just upload an image of the flyer for their upcoming event. One of the most important pages on their site and Google just sees flyer1.jpg. Ouch!

 

accessibility ACCESSIBILITY:

Just like brick and mortar businesses need ramps or accessible ways for people with disabilities to access their physical business, websites have similar rules that apply to the color blind, blind or deaf people.. (really all people). There are standards of ways you can build and edit your website so it can be more accessible to everyone. Pick an accessible template and make sure to use proper html and you can accomplish this yourself, but it is often forgotten.

 

usericon USER EXPERIENCE:

One major issue that crops up on DIY sites is site structure and organization. Over time these sites tend to get bloated and without purpose for much of the content. When a user hits a site and their are 12 or more ( I once saw a site with 25 top level links in the navigation!) a user is confused and it makes it difficult to find things, especially if there are multiple similar categories.

 

clockicon  TIME COMMITMENT:

Time, it comes back to this. Do you want to spend the time to do it yourself or let someone else worry about it?

 

Tech Fight Score Card

Category Do it Yourself Websites Managed Websites Winner
 security    Security security securitysecuritysecuritysecuritysecurity Managed
 Price     Price Price PricePricePrice DIY
 agility    Agility agilityagilityagility agilityagilityagility Draw
 Design   Design DesignDesignDesign DesignDesignDesignDesignDesign Managed
 seoicon   SEO seoiconseoicon seoiconseoiconseoicon Managed
accessibility   Accessibility accessibilityaccessibility accessibilityaccessibilityaccessibilityaccessibilityaccessibility Managed
usericon    User Experience usericonusericon usericonusericonusericonusericonusericon Managed
clockicon    Time Commitment clockiconclockiconclockiconclockiconclockicon clockicon Managed

MANAGED Website Score – 6.5

DIY Website Score – 1.5

DIY vs managed scorecard

They typical business person will be better served by a managed website vs a DIY option, but the DIY can be a good option under the right circumstances.


MANAGED WEBSITE PERSONA
 – You are a busy person, you have enough things on your plate
already without having to figure out a website. Plus, you aren’t sure if it would work and would rather not worry about. This is a part of your business to important for it not be done right.

DIY PERSONA – You like things cheap, and basically free is hard to beat. You don’t mind figuring things out and if it doesn’t work out you can always figure out something else. The time spent is ok because you saved money.

What has been your experience? leave a comment about your DIY or managed experience pros and cons. Also let us know what we should fight next in Tech Fights.

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