I’ve been a “web designer” for years – but no more. Even though building websites is still part of what I do. That term has come to be more of a liability than an asset to my business, and here’s why.
First – the label limits me. Designing websites is only part of what I do. A website is typically the hub of a company’s online presence, but it is not the only part. Nor is “building” the website the only, or the most important, aspect of that online presence.
In order to make a profit from your website, you need three things:
- A great product or service. By that I mean one that is unique (you are clearly different or better) and for which there exists a hungry market that you can reach.
- A user-friendly website; which is part technology, part design, and part web usability.
- A solid marketing plan. You need to get people to your site, and convince them to do something when they get there. (“If you build it they will come” is NOT true. Nor is “If they come they will buy.”)
I help companies with all of that, from strategy to execution to analysis. “Web design” doesn’t begin to cover it.
Second – web design has become a commodity. Technology has made it relatively easy and cheap to set up a website today. Many business owners do not understand why I charge thousands for a website that a company like Web.com says they’ll do for free.
Those business owners don’t know what they don’t know – and just owning a tool doesn’t make you good at using it – but that perception is there. Why pay a “web designer” at all?
Third – too many people have had bad experiences with web designers, and want no part of dealing with one. I find this personally distressing, and it is one reason I started offering web design services to others.
I’ve heard of web designers who copy their clients’ sites and sell them to competitors. I know of “control freaks” who threaten to shut a site down if their client wants to go to another design firm. I know of web design firms who take a client’s money, knowing full well that what the client is asking for will never work.
So if I’m not a web designer, what am I instead? I’m still working that out. “Digital Marketing Strategist” could work. So could “Online Marketing Implementer.” Or I could simply say “I turn your web presence into web profits” and avoid using a label at all.