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When DIY is Not Good Enough

Do It Yourself Is Not Good Enough

I'm big on helping folks be as self-sufficient as possible when it comes to their WordPress websites. Throughout the entire process, from updating their current sites and the necessary follow-through after launch. Coaching small business owners on all the variables required for their success is something I genuinely enjoy.

But as of late, I'm noticing an increasing trend of resistance to the reality of what online success entails. So in response to that, consider this my reality check for those insistent on 100% DIY who also expect 100% success.

Consulting and Coaching for the past 26 years has allowed me to note the direct correlation between involvement and success. So I encourage and support my clients to be as involved as they want to be on their websites. But we have to be realistic about what that entails.

“Involvement” does not necessarily mean everything should be DIY. Or that all that entails is that you respond to inquiries and process emails. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

There are amateur DIYers and professional DIYers. The difference being blatantly obvious from perception to results. Effort and skills.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of DIY. But, when this all started, DIY was the thing. Because no one knew anything, and you pretty much had no choice but to dive in and learn. There were no standards or best practices — yet.

We were all newbies, and we learned by doing. We made mistakes and then had to figure out how to fix them. At the same time, trying new things and then making a note of the results. The good, the bad, and yes, the really ugly.

The DIYers of 2021

Now, decades later, WordPress site owners are taking beautifully developed websites and mucking them up. Wrong-sized images, text not appropriately formatted, content focus diluted, best practices ignored all because it is “what I want” or worse, “what I want to spend.” Many times based on what they can only do themselves, which in most cases is inadequate.

Add to that, provided advice is disregarded, and the direction offered is not acted upon. Sadly, online success is not awarded to those who only do what they are willing to do or spend.

Success is enjoyed by those who are rabidly aggressive. Not to those who are passively involved.

One of the keys elements to attaining any level of business success is knowing what you know. And what you don't know. Being able to admit your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Using your established skills and knowing where you need to learn more. Then, relying on partners, you can trust to fill the gaps.

I believe part of the problem is too much information. Article how-tos on every subject by authors who just so happen to have WordPress installed on a server. Many with just a wee bit more experience than those reading their posts.

How do you know what works, the truth, reality, what resources can be trusted? At times that's even a challenge for me.

Nurture Realistic Confidence

Confidence is a good thing. When applied realistically. For example, when it comes to technology, I know more than most. But as much as I know about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and databases — I would never consider nor call myself a programmer or WordPress developer.

Developers create themes, plugins, and applications from scratch. They know the code intimately and write code like I'm typing this post. I do not do that.

But, just like overly confident website owners, there is a healthy supply of folks who call themselves “developers” without that level of required knowledge or experience.

Another example is that I know what works visually regarding branding, graphics, website images, fonts, and combinations. I've always had an eye for simplicity. But I wouldn't call myself a graphic designer.

Modifications just because you made them do not mean they are recommended, needed, or provide the desired results. Avoid the “I made that” syndrome of overconfidence.

Being Honest and Humble

When my success depends upon it, I hire professionals whose skills, expertise, and experience contribute to my goals. Doing an honest self-assessment is required of every site owner if they genuinely want to take advantage of the potential waiting for them.

It is common to be confident because you can do a lot yourself. Heck, look what you've accomplished so far without any help.

But is that good enough? Probably not.

Just Because You Can

That doesn't mean you do. I can write code. So should I sell myself as a developer? I have graphic software, but do I have the creativity to make memorable logos from scratch representing my client's brands, making them stand out from their competitors? Nope and Nope.

Each of us has our own set of talents and skills that we've spent the time to learn or that come easy to us. Those are the traits you most likely can parlay into a successful effort on your website.

Your skills are primarily wrapped up in your business and how you choose to run it. For example, suppose I help you create a real estate website — that doesn't make me a realtor. Flip that around, and because you own a business of any sort that has a website — that doesn't translate to being a web designer, developer, or marketer.

Different skillsets, knowledge, and expertise are required to succeed in any medium. Unfortunately, rare are the individuals that can master it all.

Some folks are more willing to admit and acknowledge their limitations than others. Which are you? Which type of person do you think has the best chance for success?

Know What You Need to Know

When running a website, these are the topics and requirements that require intimate knowledge and competency. Unfortunately, these are the things where many DIY site owners fall short…

  • Customizing code on their site.
  • Writing content that is appropriately structured — and sells.
  • Understanding the reality of what “SEO” is and what you need to do consistently moving forward.
  • Color and font choices.
  • Image use and implementation.
  • Widget use requirements and restrictions.
  • Proper use of site resources and tools.
  • Understanding the importance of performance, updates, and security.

Yes, you can do all of the above yourself. But are you honestly willing to learn all the necessary variables to implement them properly?

Not doing so could cause your…

  • Website to look home-brewed.
  • Expertise to appear unpolished and unprofessional.
  • Website to not have the necessary criteria for any possible rankings.
  • Visuals to appear busy and amateurish.
  • Images to be blurry and cause your site to be sluggish.
  • Website to not operate properly.
  • Your website to not perform at a level to compete.
  • Website being compromised and hacked.

My Motives and Yours

As a WordPress Consultant and Business Coach, visitors to this site could easily assume this post encourages you to hire me. But, honestly, that's not the case. Those truly committed to DIY at all costs probably will never read this post.

I run a boot camp here. Being a coach makes sure clients know what they need to do, and then we work together to hold them accountable. This requires quite a bit of commitment from both sides and a decent budget — not to mention a pretty serious work ethic.

If you think about it, this is all about value, right? Do you want to spend your time hitting walls, learning things you are not enthusiastic about, or embracing the necessary “time sucks” required to get your website where it needs to be to compete?

How can that possibly contribute to your prosperity if you are not enthused, committed, or even willing?

Invest to Succeed

I hear you, “I have the budget.” I'm fully aware of budgets and have one myself. I commit to learning and excel at what I don't have the funds for, or I do without. Half-efforts aren't worth the effort, and online, they will not produce results.

Are you making your DIY decisions based on costs alone? The cheapest hosting, not managed WordPress * hosting, regardless of performance and support.

Do you gravitate to free plugins with limited functionality (and again support) over premium? Not budgeting the necessary time because you claim not to have time?

That approach negatively impacts your potential.

Review and invest in your skillset and your knowledge base. Next, take that course or have someone teach you. Then, spend the necessary time on the tasks that you must accomplish to produce ROI. You need this level of investment to succeed.

To be a professional DIYer, you need to honestly assess your interests, time availability, and skills. Know what you are passionate about learning — then do it. Mark your calendar and block out time in your schedule to learn and then apply.

Then, put your ego aside and be brutally honest with yourself about the results and seek help where you need it. The last thing you want to do is become paralyzed and do nothing.

“I made this!”

Don't get wrapped up in the “I made this” mentality to the point that you do not recognize that your site is not what it needs to be to thrive. Please don't kid yourself that the overall presentation, including content and visuals, is good enough when an open eye can see they are not.

As accommodating as WordPress is for those insistent on doing it all by themselves, true netrepreneurs embrace that they are not technology experts and seek out those who can complement what they know. And do what they are unwilling or unable.

At your service,

Judith: WordPress Consultant and Business Coach