It’s a tough time to be a website designer – how do you make money providing a service that people can get dirt-cheap, if not altogether free?
I’ve been hearing radio ads about a partnership between Intuit and Google. They’re offering a free domain name, free hosting for 1 year, and a free theme. Most hosting companies have their own website templates – in fact 1and1.com is offering theirs for free through TV ads.
WordPress itself, the CMS (content management system) that has rocketed to popularity in recent years, is absolutely free. You can buy high-quality custom themes (site templates) for less than $100. This site was built using the extraordinarily versatile Smallbiz Theme, and I’ve used it for quite a few websites.
So what’s a web designer to do? If your primary qualification has been “I can build you a nice-looking site”, you’re in trouble. Because it’s never been easier to get a nice site without a web designer at all.
Disclaimer here – yes, some business people don’t have the time or inclination to build their own sites, even if they are free. People aren’t so dumb as to think 1&1 or Google will hand them clients on a plate. And of course there will always be a need for higher-end, custom design work.
But no longer are people willing to shell out a significant sum of money for web design work. It’s time for customers to challenge their web designers to be web marketers. To expect traffic and leads from their websites.
In my opinion, website designers who don’t “evolve” to this changing environment are going to die out.
What do YOU think?