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The Definite Downside of Website Dabblers

Published: 06-27-2024
Author: Milly Welsh

One of my favorite things about the internet is that the only thing standing in your way from learning how to build websites is your curiosity. There are very few barriers to entry. You only need a computer, a text editor, web hosting, FTP software, and an internet connection. All of which are relatively inexpensive and something that the majority of us can acquire easily.

The internet actually explains, in great detail, how to build things like websites on the internet! It’s truly one of the few industries where you can create your own upward mobility. This open accessibility has literally changed the course of my own life.

I personally never went to school to build websites. I went to art college. I took a few ‘art in technology’ classes, and while those did cover the basics of how to program, I’m mostly self-taught. This isn’t rare; most of the people I know who do this for a living went to school for something completely different or knew how to code before they arrived at college.

I think it’s amazing and love that the internet is a fair and open place that everyone can participate in, and it’s a hill I’m willing to die on…and yet this blog post isn’t about how awesome the fair and open internet is.

There is a large group of people who don’t really benefit much from the way the internet currently exists, and that group is business owners who know they need to have a great web presence to compete in today’s digital market. They are people who don’t have the time or expertise to build their own website and need to hire someone to do it for them. But here is where they run into trouble.

A huge challenge for this group is that when you talk about needing a website for your business, many inexperienced people will raise their hand and say, “I can build you a website!” I like to call these people “dabblers”. These are typically people who don’t build websites professionally, but they know how to use a drag and drop platform. Some may even code a little or be pretty good with computers in general, so they are confident they can build a website (how hard can it be?!). The problem with the “dabbler” is that because building websites isn’t their main source of income, they are not keeping up with best practices. Additionally, they don’t tend to know a lot of really basic things a business owner would want them to know about building a commerce website. For example, how to edit DNS records, how to set up a contact form that emails you when people fill it out, or how to properly format pages for mobile.

Another problem with the dabbler is that if you need to make updates to your website (and you will) and need their help, they may no longer be providing the service. Even worse, if they set up your web hosting or domain URL in their name, they may have let one or both expire. If this person “disappears”, your website could disappear with them!

If you have a website that’s just for fun and not important to your livelihood, it can be a perfectly fine thing to have an inexperienced person help you out. It can give them the needed experience to help turn their dabbling into a career. There was a time when I myself was a dabbler, but I quickly figured out that I enjoyed building websites and that I wanted to make it my full time job.

If you are building a website for your business and your income depends on your website to be a stable and functioning place to drive traffic, you are better off hiring professionals instead of a dabbler. The cost may be higher upfront to hire someone professionally, but how much traffic and prospective customers could you be losing because the person who built your website doesn’t know how to optimize it for search engines. How much additional cost could be necessary to fix the things that aren’t working as they should. In many cases, when we get called in to fix a website that we didn’t build, we could have gotten the project done right the first time for less than the cost of the dabbler and our services to make the updates.

When hiring a someone to build a website for your business, make sure you are using reputable professionals. The best way to know whether or not a web company is reputable is to check their work portfolio and their reviews. You might even want to speak to a couple of businesses they have built websites for previously. Your website is the first impression for your business online – make sure it’s a good one!

At Zebralove Web Solutions, we pride ourselves on offering uncomplicated, affordable website design and development for small businesses. If you need help with a business website – we hope you will CONTACT US!

Milly Welsh - post author

Milly Welsh

Zebralove Web Solutions

Milly has 18 years experience in designing and developing websites, developing apps, and online marketing. She is an expert at driving traffic to websites utilizing SEO strategies and custom digital marketing efforts. Her company, Zebralove Web Solutions offers full service digital marketing and website development. Comprehensive Search Engine Optimization services, and secure web hosting services.

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