without comments Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
You’ve probably seen the commercial from a certain accounting software firm that offers a free website builder (does that mean you hire a web designer to do your taxes). Others offer similar site builders, too. Why hire a web designer, right?
IF you’re building a personal site for family and friends, these site builders are fine. But if you need a website that will create new business for your company, or support for your charity, a “free” site builder is likely to prove the adage “The cheap ends up expensive.”
I’ve never seen any business or non-profit succeed creating their own site. Before you dismiss this observation as the biased view of a web developer, think about it…
Just because you can type, or compose an email, does that make you the next Tom Clancy or John Grisham? I’m guessing not!
A good web designer does far more than simply create some nifty graphics and convert your content to code. Professional web designers should understand things like:
- Web usability–understanding how visitors interact with your web site and what it takes to convert a visitor into a customer.
- Proven design principles–professionals understand the value of white space, a unified look, and delivering a professional presentation to your audience. Novices tend to cram too much into a page giving it a cluttered look, or using multiple fonts, sizes or colors that make a site look like a ransom note!
- How to get a website found, and making sure you have the necessary tools to accurately evaluate whether or not your site is succeeding. Building a site is a starting point, not the end. “Build it and they will come” may work in a movie, but not online. A professional web designer should have the necessary marketing experience to make sure your site delivers profit to a business, or supporters to a non-profit.
So before you start building your own site, or hire the neighbor’s kid ’cause he did a site for a school project, consider what you expect from your web site. If it’s just an online scrapbook, or journal of your experience, by all means, DIY is fine.
But if your website is a critical marketing tool, do yourself–and your budget–a favor and hire a professional. In the long run, you’ll find the “expensive” is cheap!