It's Getting Harder to Build a Good Website, not Easier

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Every so often I get asked if I’m worried that it’s getting too easy to build a website. The number of built-it-yourself type of website services out there are already too many to keep track of. I also recently had another Web developer tell me that it’s just too hard to compete with free.

It may surprise some people, but I welcome the rise of the DIY movement in Web development. I even tell people who are ready to hire me to come back after they've tried building one themselves using a free site builder service or some other easy to use DIY site builder program. I do this for several reasons. First and foremost, I don’t like taking money from people who are not ready to benefit from what I do, but there's a lot of self interest involved too. Anyone who hasn't wrestled with all the decisions and difficulties of creating a new site is not going to be able to fully appreciate the kind of work that I do. It's damaging to my business when what I deliver is seen more as a widget than a piece of expert craftsmanship.
The second is that after trying to wrangle with a site themselves, most people will have a better idea of how to be a useful part of the site creation process. "Garbage in, garbage out" as the old saying goes. If someone has no idea what he or she wants, the chances that the project is going to end up over budget and result in a contentious relationship goes way up. That's not going to do either of us any good. 
It's never been easier to build a website. It also has never been harder to build a good website. If the DIY services and products out there were as effortless and flawless as people think they are, I’d throw all of my programming books away and gleefully click, drag, and drop my way to life on easy street. That’s not going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. Even if it does, there will be a benefit to hiring a professional to create your DIY website. A professional using layman's tools still has a greater understanding of how to create an effective site than a non-professional. There's a lot more to it than just the technical details that can be automated a little more each year.
Those automated advancements that drive the DIY movement help me too. Each year, there are a few more tedious technical details that no longer require hours or even days of tweaking thanks to some improved processes and products. That frees me up to spend more time doing the things that can't be automated and thereby restoring the distance between my work and a DIY site.
I've been building websites since 1993. A lot of website in a box type of solutions have come and gone. I'm still doing this.

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