eCommerce Cultivated | Episode 001

Should You DIY Your Shopify Website Design?

Investing in your eCommerce website is important.

But you may be wondering if you should DIY your Shopify website or hire someone to build your Shopify website.

Regardless of where you are in your decision-making process.

Let’s get you some clarity around what your next steps should be.

Dive into the episode and find out if you’re ready to DIY or go pro!

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back! Thank you so much for tuning in today. I want to specifically talk about whether you should be DIYing your Shopify website, should you or should you not?

If you had that question on your mind and you’ve been wondering, then we are going to be discussing that today.

So definitely tune in. Hello, welcome to eCommerce Cultivated. I’m your host, Karen, founder and eCommerce strategist of The May Creative. I’ll be your guide as we dive into strategies and insights to help you cultivate a sought after eCommerce business.

Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode and tuning in, I think this conversation is really important to have, especially for those of you who are getting ready to do updates or maybe you’re about to launch for the first time and you’ve probably had this question come up where you’re trying to figure out, should I going the DIY eCommerce website route?

Or Should I be working with a pro? Whichever solution or route that you decide to take. I really want you to make sure that you have some sort of strategy in place for your eCommerce website, because this is an important business asset for you.

This is how you’re going to be earning an important part of revenue in your business. And so the experience is really important.

Unlike an informational site where people can click, read and then click off. You want people to be engaged on your website and take action and make it to that checkout page.

And so being strategic is going to be very important.

Regardless if you work with the pro or not or if you decide to do it yourself. I’m going to give you some options that you can consider so that you can make sure that you have some sort of strategy in place, for whichever decision you decide to make.

Indicators You Shouldn’t DIY Your Shopify Website

OK, let’s talk about some indicators that you should not DIY your own eCommerce website. One indicator is that you have more intricate needs for your business. Maybe you’ve been in business for a under a 1 year or you’ve experienced some sort of rapid growth. Or the needs of your business have changed from something that’s more simple to needing more advanced integrations.

And unless you’re tech savvy, it’s going to be difficult for you to figure out on your own. Or it’s going to take a lot of time from you or from somebody else in your business to implement and then hopefully get right.

This is not an opportunity for you to test out a bunch of things, because if something goes wrong and it affects your business in any way where your customers can’t make purchases, it’s really going to eat up your profit and your bottom line.

You want to make sure that you understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish.

So if you have more advance needs that are going to come up or have come up, then that could be an indicator that you should not DIY your own eCommerce website.

Along those lines is, if you absolutely cannot deal with tech at all, because that is just not your wheelhouse, that is not how your brain functions.

Or that is not how you want to spend your time, then definitely working with a pro is going to be a more appropriate choice.

It’s going to save you the frustration in case something goes wrong or you are trying to just figure out the solution, which could take you lots and lots of hours.

Read: When to Hire a Shopify Expert for your Luxury Brand

I mean, learning something new takes a lot of hours and then putting in what putting into practice what you’ve learned can take additional time as well.

Because you’re the business owner, you want to make sure that you’re also setting aside time to lead the business and not actually be the one working the business all the time.

You’re the one who sets the stage and sets the cadence in your business. If you’re not available for that role, then nobody else is going to do it for you.

So you’ll have to figure out which one is more of a priority for you. If tech is not your thing, then definitely you do not want to DIY this.

Another thing is that your business is having consistent sales and you’re experiencing growth.

Because of that, your time is allocated towards other things, like taking care of your customers and maybe thinking about bringing on a team or managing a team. And you simply do not have that mental real estate to actually do it yourself.

If those are some situations that you’re facing, then definitely you do not want to DIY your own eCommerce website.

Another thing to consider is if you’re going to need expertise, in order to help you make some important business decisions. Decisions like whether certain changes are going to affect your conversion rates. If you make a certain change or you have any sort of technical questions that you need answers for, then getting with an expert is going to be a better option than you actually figuring it out yourself and testing out these changes because you don’t want to be in a situation where you change something on your site that drastically affects your conversion rate.

That happens, unfortunately, to business owners where they get inspired to do something. Maybe they heard a strategy, or they got some advice about something that they listen to, or someone that they spoke with briefly. And they didn’t have the full context of that decision on that strategy or method.

So they go and they implement it. And then, maybe a couple of weeks later, they notice that their conversion rates have drastically changed and dropped.

In between that time, they’ve made all these other changes and they can’t pinpoint what specific change actually caused that outcome.

If you’re going to be facing any of those types of situations, then definitely getting with an expert to help you make better decisions is going to be the preferred route to go instead of you figuring it out on your own and risking you losing conversions, because at the end of the day, you want your website to convert.

If you’re having success already converting, you don’t want to change something on your site that’s going to give you that opposite effect. And then you have to figure out what happened. Unfortunately, that has happened to people because they’ve tried something on their own, that didn’t work, and then they’re like, oh, my gosh, what happened?

And because they’ve made all these other additional changes, they can’t pinpoint what specifically they changed?

So then they have to kind of go back and figure it out, and which of course causes takes more and increases frustration.

You don’t want to do that, especially if you’re doing a new product launch or new collaborations or you’re sending some heavy traffic to your site.

When Is It Ok to DIY Your Shopify Website?

Now, let’s talk about when it’s OK to DIY your own eCommerce website, because, yes, there are situations where you can just DIY it and be legit.

There are so many tools and resources available that you can only do it on your own.

One of the first indicators is that you’re very new to business and you haven’t sold anything. If you are very new and haven’t generated any sales. The going the DIY route is going to be perfectly fine for you because it’ll give you the opportunity to learn about your business and figure out your customer. And figure out how to position your products for the market so that you can generate those sales.

The reason this works really well, going the DIY route for newer businesses who haven’t sold anything is that most likely you don’t have the investment, the additional investment work with a professional to get a certain level of a website quite yet.

And that’s completely OK. I know that some business owners see a website that they get inspired by and they want to just start off automatically with something like that.

But your business has to have a solid foundation in place and it has to have consistent customers a lot of times before you get to that point, unless you are coming into the situation where you are being funded from additional investors and you really have already done the legwork to prove proof of concept to a market.

And you’ve gotten their buy in that they’re interested in investing in your product. If that is the case and you are new to business and then working with a professional is totally fine.

But if you’re new to business and you haven’t had proof of concept for your products, meaning that you haven’t consistently sold to a particular audience who have raised their hand and said, oh, I’m interested in what you’re offering, then DIYing on your own website is fine because then you can take that investment and put it back into your business in other ways, such as marketing, doing market research, doing product development, if you need that and you can just focus on the important aspects of building your business.

Another indicator, when it is OK to DIY your own eCommerce Web site is when you don’t have any clarity on who you’re selling to and you haven’t made consistent income from product sales.

So that is the case.

Then DIY on your site is going to be a good option for you, because if you haven’t solidified who you’re selling to in the first place, what could happen is that your audience, after you’ve done some testing and you’ve put your product out there to see who’s interested, you could find out that you need to make a shift.

And if you’ve already invested this money into creating this custom website that you’re going to have to change, it’s not going to be the best use of your resources for your business.

If that is the case where you don’t have clarity or you aren’t sure yet who you’re selling to and you haven’t made consistent income from it yet, then DIY your own website is completely fine and it will just give you more space to allocate resources to other important areas of your business, such as doing may be more brand strategy and figuring out who that ideal customer should be and developing a good product to sell to them.

Then also you can allocate that more towards marketing so that you can start to bring in that consistent business and generate more consistent revenue into your store. So keep that in mind.

This next one is an important indicator, and it’s probably going to be one of the easiest ones that you can actually utilize to tell if you should be DIY or not.

And that is if you have more time, then you have money to invest in a professional to help you execute creating a great eCommerce website. If that is the case, then going the DIY route is going to be perfectly fine.

Just tap into some free resources and tutorials to help you create a site that can get you up and running and start selling your products to generate revenue. If that is the case, then again, going the DIY route is going to be fine for you because you have more time than you have money to invest.

Also another thing to consider is if it’s going to be a financial stretch for you, meaning that if you go with working with a professional and it’s really going to give you some sort of financial hardship or financial stretch in your life, then going DIY is perfectly fine.

I personally don’t want business owners to put themselves in a situation where they’re stressed out about money because they’ve taken a huge financial stretch in their business and maybe they’re pulling something from their life and it’s just going to cause, additional stress, because then they’re going to be worried about, paying for important parts of their life.

Now, of course, there are situations where you need to be stretched and be uncomfortable in your business, but it shouldn’t put you in dire hardship.

So if that is the case, then definitely you want to take the more DIY route.

And as your business grows, then you can take that additional profit that you set aside to have a more professional and cohesive experience down the line.

Plenty of business owners do that, and it works out fine for them.

So those are some of the indicators that you should go ahead and focus more on doing a DIY route.

Now, you may be thinking. Well, if I go with the DIY route, what happens if I get stuck, like what happens if I’m doing this Karen and I don’t know, like how to get out of a certain situation?

If that comes up, then I highly recommend that you book some time with the pro. And when I say book some time, I mean like book an hour.

For example, I offer strategy and consultation sessions to people where we can meet for an hour and they can ask me any types of questions.

If they’re DIYing their website, then we can go over a question or some solutions that they might need in that hour to help them just get unstuck so they can take the next step.

It is also a great way for them to not only get answers to their questions, but also get the support because we are meeting over video so they can share their screen with me.

I can go over and look at specifically what they’re stuck on and give them answers in real time.

It’s also a more cost effective way to get answers and to help them move forward without investing a huge amount of money.

So that’s what I recommend.

If your kind of stuck or if you happen to get stuck, book a strategy hour. They are super effective and you get that 1:1 personalized time with a pro so that you can make the next best decision for your business.

And then you can also save a lot of coins because you’re not making a huge investment in doing like a more custom route.

So hopefully that was helpful because I know that comes up and you might have already started to reach out to people and you’re not quite sure if you are ready to work with a designer/developer. And you might have had some of those thoughts go on in your mind.

This is a really the reason why I wanted to record this episode just to help you make the best decision on what it is that you should be doing.

If you have questions still, you can go ahead and just send me like a DM on Instagram @themaycreative and I’ll be happy to give you a quick answer.

And if you decide, like, hey, I think I need more one on one or personalized time, then definitely reach out to me and we can set up a strategy hour or consultation hour where I can help you get unstuck with any of the questions that you might have in your business so that you can move forward and not experience that frustration.

Plus, you just have me by your side, because sometimes it’s just helpful to have somebody else that understands by your side so you can make a decision to go forward and take action.

So hopefully you enjoyed this episode! Again, let me know if you have questions. Just hit me up on Instagram @themaycreative

Thank you for listening!

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I'm Karen, a Luxury Brand Strategist and Shopify Web Designer for product-based businesses. I take a strategy-first approach to creating captivating branding and Shopify website experiences that help you attract high-end customersbuild brand loyalty, and increase conversions. Explore the other eCommerce Cultivated episodes and read insightful eCommerce articles to help you grow a remarkable brand. Plus, discover how we can work together to create your luxury experience.


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