Nonprofit budgets are tight. You already wear seven hats. You need a website.
The cheap cost of a DIY website can be like the sight of an oasis in the desert: tantalizing and possibly a mirage.
Plenty of people have successfully made their own websites with WordPress, but before you take on the task of building your own website, carefully consider the pros, cons, and tips for success.
Pros of DIY WordPress
There are certainly advantages to doing something yourself.
- Save money
- Understand exactly how your site is built
- Get started immediately, without having to find someone else
- No one has to learn about your organization before you get started
The top-line dollar savings and communication efficiencies are enticing! Certainly some organizations have found success doing their own websites in-house, so it can be done.
Cons of DIY WordPress
For every pro, there’s a con:
- Requires lots of time, both learning and building
- You don’t know what you don’t know. Expect “rookie mistakes”.
- When something goes wrong, you have to figure it out
- No one will offer an outside perspective or new ideas
- It’s likely that your website tastes won’t match your website building skills
No matter what, you have to spend one of two things: time or money. That’s the biggest difference, but not the only one. Unless you’ve built websites before and know exactly what you’re doing, it’s almost guaranteed that the site will have a few problems and not turn out exactly the way you envisioned. That’s OK, just know what you’re getting into.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding
When you’re making a final decision, ask yourself these questions:
- Is building websites an important skill you want to learn? If you can use the skill again in the future, the time investment makes more sense.
- How will you react if something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out? The higher the organization stakes or the more you’re a perfectionist, the harder it will be happy with your website when it’s done.
- How complicated is your site? The more complex features you need, the harder your site will be to get working on your own.
- Am I aware of the alternatives? Take the time to look into consultants and volunteers. It might be cheaper than you expected or you might discover other avenues to get a website. Make sure you’re informed!
Tips for DIY WordPress
If you’ve decided to go it alone on your website, follow these tips:
- KEEP IT SIMPLE! Everything you can do to limit your site’s complexity will save time and increase chances of success. Besides, you can always add more features or a fancier design later.
- Don’t skip the planning phase! Some people assume that DIY websites need less planning. If anything, they need more!
- Consider hiring a consultant for advice and support. For a few hundred dollars, you can probably get a ton of advice and someone to turn to if things go wrong. Many consultants may have flexible ways to support you even if you do most of the work.
- Identify a backup plan. Know where you’ll turn if something goes wrong. Local WordPress meetups are one great place for free advice and troubleshooting.
- Pay for plugins. Spend some of your savings on high-quality professional plugins that come with customer support. You’re likely to get an easier-to-use tool and email support if something goes wrong.
Take Advantage of Nonprofit WP!
The whole point of this site is to share hard-earned WordPress advice for beginners based on years of experience. USE IT!
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel and see if you can stick to our recommendations for:
Spend the time to learn how all the components of WordPress fit together, how to pick a theme, the best practices for blogging, how you can make your site welcoming to every visitor, and more!
Good luck with your website!