“Anybody can download a website template or use a website builder and make a few updates to it — why should anybody pay a designer to do it for them?”
A blunt question – and while no one has ever asked me that directly, I’m sure many business people DO wonder if hiring someone to design a website is money well spent. So here’s my answer – and it’s pretty blunt too.
Getting a site UP (technical skills) is not the same as getting a GOOD site up.
Many web design tools are fairly simple to use, especially if you’re pretty comfortable with software such as Microsoft Word or online services like Facebook. It may be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but you can probably get a site up. But it takes experience and training to make proper choices – in colors, in wording, in site navigation, in domain names, in keyword research, in marketing strategy.
Say you decide to build your own home, and it looks pretty good. But unless you know about drainage and materials and insulation and air flow and traffic flow and plumbing etc etc, it probably won’t be a comfortable place to live in. And unless it’s in a good location with desirable features, it’s probably not going to sell in a few years either.
It’s less about how a website LOOKS and more about how a website DELIVERS.
Today you don’t need to be a graphics whiz to build a site that looks good. There are millions of attractive websites. But sexy graphics aren’t usually what deliver the sign-ups, sales and traffic that you want.
Yes, a site should have the appropriate “look” for your audience. But what matters MORE isn’t web design at all, it’s web MARKETING. Online copywriting, keyword research, search engine optimization, competition analysis, smart information architecture… all are key to the success of your website.
Do you have those skills? Probably not. (In fact a lot of “web designers” don’t either – they’re good at using a particular web design tool, but they don’t know much about web marketing.)
Your business is your livelihood.
Can you AFFORD to have a website that screams “Another free website from XYZ.com”? Do you want to look successful and professional or desperate and clueless? Why should someone invest their hard-earned money hiring you, when it doesn’t look like you were willing to invest your money in your own business?
Your website is not the place to present anything less than your best face.
Of course budgets need to be considered, but a smart modern web designer will usually be able to offer options that keep costs down while giving you a professional web presence.
If you want to build your own website for hobby or personal reasons – sure. Have fun.
But your business website is just too important to be designed by an amateur.