Since way way back in the days of Geocities and Angelfire, civilian internet users have been able to spin up a free or freemium website in minutes. However, there were few guarantees when pioneering your own website on these platforms. A couple things you could rely on were ads aplenty – obscuring your cute 1997 content – and ads…..oh, and there were ads.
Fast-forward to today and that landscape has changed dramatically. First-time website builders face a paradox of choice with options from Wix and Weebly to WordPress and Squarespace, to Shopify. Each platform offering its own unique set of advantages over the other; with the shared purpose of allowing businesses and individuals to self-administer their online destiny quickly and easily.
Over the years, we’ve engaged with several clients who are on some version or another of the aforementioned Content Management Systems (CMS). And, their CMS platforms mostly suit their needs. Here are some common pain points we see with self-administering your own business website and why you should consider hiring a professional.
Supporting inbound marketing efforts
An off-the-shelf modern CMS will typically offer decent support for integrating 3rd-party analytics and marketing automation systems. But there’s not always a plugin or widget that will support the needs of your business as it grows. If you’re trying to do something original online and truly amplify your user engagement, you won’t find a full suite of world class support in any single CMS.
Retrofitting yesterday’s choices with today’s goals
It happens, right? The business decisions we make have varying – and somewhat unpredictable – ranges of longevity. A service we rely on goes out of business or pushes us out with adjusted pricing. And, most commonly, the changes within our own business call for, not just new but, different solutions. We see that same thing happen with the websites of growing businesses that partner with us. They committed to a CMS framework a few years ago but that framework isn’t equipped to support their changing goals.
Keeping their website stable, competitive, and compliant
This is fundamentally important much in the same way it’s important to keep clean oil in your car. No one really cares about it until they have to. And the symptoms of a poorly optimized website are not always a 1:1 direct indicator of the underlying problem. We’ve seen the code that many of these CMS frameworks output and it’s not always impressive. The code is bloated, often inline, and performance-inhibiting. Zooming out from the code a little bit: Does your CMS support Accelerated Mobile Pages? That’s been a thing for a few years now. Does it meet WCAG 2.0 Accessibility standards? Well, it’s 2018 so you really need that support on your website. We’ve experienced, first-hand, companies that are facing class action lawsuits because their website is not compliant with basic accessibility standards.
Off-the-shelf CMS frameworks are not categorically bad. They have their place in everyone’s online journey. But everyone who’s trying to do something serious online eventually outgrows them. Knowing is half the battle, right? So don’t regret your Off-the-shelf CMS choice. Just don’t try to force today’s priorities into the solution that was chosen to solve yesterday’s priorities. Or, as it was quoted to me once, “Don’t try to go 80 miles per hour in something that was built to go 30 miles per hour.” Better yet, hire a professional like Seventh Scout to build your business website.