There’s no denying it, there are a lot of ways to make a website without hiring a professional. You can do it yourself using an online site building service, you can install site building software like Dreamweaver, or you can find a tech savvy friend to do it for cheap or maybe even for free. Why then, with all of these options, would a business consider hiring a professional website designer? One of the top priorities of any business is to move potential customers in the direction of knowing and trusting you right from the start. Your website is often the first interaction customers have with your business and it’s one of the most powerful tools available for reaching potential customers. Yet so many business owners never realize the benefits of getting professional help with their website.
In this article I will offer my top 3 reasons to consider hiring a professional web designer, I’ll explore why so many businesses choose not to hire one, and I’ll tell you how you can benefit from this cosmic twist of fate.
Top 3 Reasons to consider hiring a professional web designer
1. Return on investment
I put this reason at the top of the list because I think very often these are the types of questions first in a business owner’s mind when they consider hiring a professional for anything, not just web design. “How much will this cost? How long will it take? Can I save money by doing it myself or by finding the cheapest option?” Most people see a website as nothing more than a sign or business card on the internet, they pay someone to put it up and the job’s done. So it seems to make sense that if you can put the sign up yourself or get it done super cheap, so much the better right? Wrong! Your website is your gateway to reaching more potential customers than you could any other way (without a big budget). The internet is the most powerful marketing tool there is for businesses of any size.
It allows you to create a dialogue with your customers and engage with them on a more personal level. Your website can build you an audience of people that want to hear from you! Your website is not just a sales soliloquy that you hastily post on the internet. You don’t want to just throw it together, throw it up when you think it’s finished, throw your hands up, and hope for the best. Yet most small businesses do just that. If you build your website yourself, the bottom line is that you will most likely spend far more time with far fewer results than if you hired a professional. Most people don’t realize just how much work it takes to get an effective business website from concept and planning to running, looking good, and performing well on PCs, Macs, mobile devices, and the plethora of web browsers that run on each of them.
The point is, it takes time to build a website, even if you’re using the most amazing online site builder ever made, it’s going to take time. There are only so many hours in a day and as a business owner, you want to be doing what you do best, not making websites. Wouldn’t you be much better off spending time working on your business than on learning a skill you will rarely use? An investment in your website is an investment in your business. Don’t short yourself.
2. It’s not just a website, it’s your business! – SEO and Social Networks
Building an effective online presence goes far beyond just building a website. Good quality content that helps someone in some way is by far the best way to reach more people, increase traffic, and grow your business. Your information must also be easy to find ( SEO ) and you’ve got to have a presence on social networking sites if you want to stay in touch with today’s market. All of this takes time and if you build your website all by yourself, you’re in for some long hours at the computer. If you don’t do it, your most important customers may never find you. A business website is not just about a stylish design and adding some meta keywords for the search engines anymore. Google hasn’t used meta keywords for years and search engines are continuously advancing in their ability to find websites with good, useful, relevant content. Any professional web designer worth their salt will have a solid working knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and how to lay your website out in a clear and concise way that’s easy to read for both people and search engines. SEO is an entire field of information in itself and if you build your website yourself, you’ll most likely spend enough time getting your site online without having to learn SEO and all of its intricate, “money making” secrets.
If instead you hire the cheapest web designer you can find, you’re likely to get nothing more than a website and an “all in one” SEO plugin or some other quick solution. Social networking is another aspect of web design that cannot be ignored. So you’ve made a website, but is it connected to your social networking sites? Have you setup your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages to match the style and information on your business website? If you want to have a consistent, professional brand online, your social networking profiles should look sharp and consistent. It can take hours to go in and setup profiles on multiple social websites each with pictures, videos, and other information to fill in. Hours you could be spending on more important things, like running your business. The point is it’s not just your website, it’s your whole business and what people are saying about it online! Invest accordingly.
Making a good first impression is a critical factor to success and your website is often the first interaction between a potential customer and your business. If even the smallest thing about your website is off, missing, or poorly executed, you may be creating a bad first impression and driving away potential customers. Even if your website works great, if it’s not easy to grasp quickly, your potential customers may get confused and leave. If your site is not optimized to be found in search engines, they may never even know you exist. These days consumers are more tech savvy than ever. If you skimp on your website, people will be able to tell. Some may not know why they don’t like your website, but they’ll leave and go looking for your competition just the same. How do you think a cheap website will reflect on your brand? Would you take a business seriously if their website was built using an online site builder or if it looked hastily thrown together? If you want to make a good impression, make the commitment to invest in a quality, professional web design and give your potential customers something to be excited about!
The Trouble with Web Designers
With all of these awesome reasons to hire a web designer why do so many businesses decide not to do it? The trouble with web designers is that most of them are just web designers. They’re techie people, they’re not marketing people. They’ve never worked in a sales and marketing environment and easily become preoccupied with the technical aspects of building a website rather than keeping an eye on the overall goals and needs of the business owner. Your average web designer believes the selling is up to you and their job is simply to produce a website. The result is that many small businesses that don’t have time to learn the intricacies of web design are easily lured in by the unfeasibly low rates of average web designers. The designer builds them a website that looks great stylistically, but it acts as little more than a sign on the internet waiting for random passersby to see it. This ends up re-enforcing the belief that a website isn’t all that important and leaves business owners with a false impression of what a website can really do for them.
How you can benefit
The good news is that the majority of your competition will simply go for the bargain and leave it at that. They will hire an average web designer or build their website themselves. They will inevitably suffer the same dismal results as everyone else who fails to realize the value of an effective website design. Very few of your competitors will be willing to invest what is necessary for success. If you do, you can win. This does not mean you need to have a huge budget and hire a big design team to succeed. It just means that if you’re willing to go beyond the norm and invest in a professional web design, you’ll be well ahead of the game.