Website Builders, or How I Came to Terms with Weekend Repair Rates
Just over 2 years ago, my wife and I bought an old house. Like 95 years kinda old. It’s in good shape, but obviously there’s some work that needs to be done. Knowing that, we made an agreement with each other and our new home – we would DIY what we comfortably felt we could do and, more importantly, only what we could afford to have someone come in later and fix.
The basic tenet of this agreement is that we acknowledge that everything we do on our own carries the potential of costing twice what it typically would given that we’re paying for the supplies up front, spending our own time doing it, and then possibly hiring a professional when we need to fix whatever we messed up. Sure, it’s a learning experience, but one that could be pricey.
I hear you right now sitting there, reading this, thinking “Whoopie doo. What does this have to do with web design or development?” Bear with me a minute.
To give you an example, we redid our powder room. It was awful – the room’s barely big enough for the toilet and a small sink, and the pedestal sink that was in there was not small. And it had points jutting out from the bowl. Spiky, protruding points. Seriously, we spent the first six months of our lives in our new home with bruises all over our hips. That sink needed to go. Oh, and the wall color was gross. Now, we’ve both painted rooms, and I’ve swapped out toilets and sinks before so we thought “Perfect! We’ll save a little money and do this ourselves.”
I bet you can see where this is going. We got the toilet out and the inflow valve wouldn’t turn all the way off, so we had to paint around a bucket on the floor in front of the trim we were actively painting. Once we got the toilet back in and seated correctly, the inflow tubing wouldn’t screw completely onto the valve. No idea if it was the tubing or the valve threads, but if it was the valve we were pretty much out of luck.
We got the sink out without an issue and started looking at the wall-mounted sink we’d purchased. Seems easy enough – drill a couple holes into studs, sink the bolts, and attach the sink, right? Great – gimme the stud finder…
Well, it’s showing that there’s rogue wiring in the wall. Everywhere in the wall. And there are apparently a million and seven studs to choose from. Maybe.
Needless to say, this was on a weekend. An emergency plumber trip (it was the tube threads that were stripped so that was a bit embarrassing, but safe is better than sorry) and visit from friend that happens to be a handy man later and the toilet is in and connected, and the sink is hung into the wall. Now we just need to touch up the paint. Oh, and write the checks for the weekend work these kind professionals came over to do…
Your website is much like our home. Especially if you are looking at building your first website, it’s safe to say there’s a whole lot of work that needs to be done. If you’re thinking of updating an existing site, then there may not be quite as much obvious work. I say obvious work because trust me, there’s a lot more to do than it seems.
There are a lot of ways to get a website up and running these days, from Wix to Weebly to Shopify to Squarespace to WordPress, and they’ve all got good and bad aspects to them. If you’re confident in your abilities then by all means, go to town. However, keep in mind what it may cost you in the long run to do it yourself on this.
Your website is your company’s public face to everyone in the world. It’s every bit as important as the roof over your head, and when something goes wrong you’re going to have to fix it or pay someone else to fix it. And let’s face it, something will go wrong at some point. Most agencies will include a contract rider that allows you a certain number of hours per month for routine maintenance or emergency repair. As long as the request isn’t a functional or design modification, chances are the people that designed and programmed your website in the first place will fix it, and they’ll do it quickly and completely.
And that’s just taking into account the things you can see from where you’re sitting. Much like the wiring that may or may not have been threaded willy-nilly through our powder room walls, there are issues that can and do come up with web sites that are nearly or completely invisible from the outside.
There’s nothing wrong with using a site builder and doing it yourself. But before you head down that road, remember that we designers and developers have studied this stuff for a long time and we do it professionally every day. The cost of doing it yourself is probably very attractive, especially if you’re a new or young company.
But when you factor in the possibility (probability) of having to do it again, or losing an established customer base due to a simple misunderstanding, plus the cost of ongoing maintenance and emergency fixes… well, suddenly the cost of doing it yourself is very comparable to hiring a professional in the first place.
Senior Internet Developer
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