3 Biggest DIYed Website Mistakes I See as a Designer

by | Apr 3, 2024

Creating a website is one of the hardest parts of starting your own small business, even when you’re hiring a professional to help you! It’s not just the build or setup; gathering the images and writing your own content can require monumental motivation and energy if you hate doing that stuff.

So if you’re going to make the effort, at least make sure you’re doing it right. The last thing you want is a website you’ve out time, energy and money into…and it still doesn’t convert the way you need it to.

To help make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment, here are three really common mistakes I see, so that you can avoid them.

Your DIY website images are too big

I see this all the time and in fact, it happens more often than not. It’s especially common with photography sites. Look, I know you’ve got beautiful images that you’re proud of and you want to show off your work at its best, and compressing images reduces their quality. But I promise, the average joe/customer isn’t going to notice or care about that. It’s not going to stop you from getting business.

You know what WILL stop you, though? A big, slow website that takes 2 minutes to load each page because it’s crammed with massive, hi-res imagery that visitors aren’t even going to stick around to see.

Make your images smaller. You can do this before you upload them with a free website called Image Resizer, that lets you do upload from Google Drive and Dropbox in bulk. If you’re on WordPress, you can also use a plugin like Smush, TinyPNG or Shortpixel. There are tons out there! Just be mindful that most of these are only free up to a certain amount and then you either need to wait a few weeks or pay.

Your sections have too much copy

This is a more unusual problem, because most business owners hate writing, especially if its for self-promotional purposes! You’ll see the same people who struggle to get out a social media post each week go absolutely overboard on their own website. But it’s actually way more common than not and I frequently edit clients’ copy down a little bit.

Think about how much reading you actually do when you’re on somebody’s website. You’ve never heard of this person but you click their page to check them out. Are you reading it like a book, where you start at the top left and ready every line of text in order, all the way down to the bottom? Probably not. You’re likely reading more like a magazine, where you skim the overall page, reading any headings that stand out to you, and THEN skimming that specific area of text for useful information.

The whole point of your website is to get visitors the most crucial info they need in order to make the decision to work with you. For each buyer, that “crucial info” looks different. Some will need pricing more than anything, others will need to see testimonials, others will care more about your copy and the way it makes them feel.

In any case, you need to make this info quick and easy for them to access, rather than hiding it in a wall of intimidating text. So, give them lots of info! Give them allll the info! Just break it down. Use paragraphs. Use sections. Use headings and subheadings. And make those headings shorter than the text that follows them! A heading doesn’t need to be a full sentence. In my website intensives, I provide each client with a copy writing guide to help them know what to write so they’re able to keep their copy simple and easy to digest.

Your DIY site is not optimised for mobile

This is a bit of a pain, even for web designers. You’ve spent days on your website and it looks amazing on desktop. Go, you! But have you checked it on mobile? And I don’t just mean the Developer Tools simulation that you get in Chrome/Firefox. I mean, have you opened your website on an actual mobile device and gone through each page on there? Because it can show you something very different to the desktop-based tools.

Over 50% of web traffic comes from mobile phones in 2024, so it’s no longer something you can treat as an optional afterthought. 60% of my traffic comes from social media, which people predominantly use on their phones. If you’re not sure where your traffic is coming from, install a tracker like Google Analytics or Statcounter to get insight. If you’re doing a lot fo socials posting, though, a good chunk of your visitors will be phone-based as well, so it really is important to make sure your site looks just as slick and professional on there as it does on desktop.

That’s it for the three most common mistakes I see as a web designer. There are others but I’ll tackle those in a future post.