April 17, 2018

Is it worth it to hire a Web Designer?

The first house I owned boasted a vile blue kitchen. I loathed it. The cabinets were blue, the hardware was brass, the floor was linoleum, and the counters had never seen better days. You get the picture, right? I have to think the original owners who chose this stunning combination of materials were either horribly colour blind or got a killer bargain they couldn’t pass up.

I walked into that kitchen one morning and couldn’t take it anymore. Determined to have the white kitchen of my dreams, I bought a $50 can of white paint and dove in. I painted for 2 days. It was transformational. No more blue doors! When the cabinets were dry, I went to hang the first door back up on its new hinge. The paint came off in my hands. In long, emotionally devastating strips.

Turned out – I had used latex paint on an oil base. Rookie DIY mistake. I paid a professional painter $2,000 to fix my $50 mistake. I’ve never lived it down.

The Power of Pinterest

We’re living in the age of DIY. Between HGTV, YouTube and Pinterest, we’re all convinced we can be a mechanic, plumber, electrician, carpenter, drywall hanger, painter and more. DIY is how we all save a few dollars. A quick google and you can find instructions on how to do almost anything yourself without calling in the pros.

The thing is, we all know there are a few professions for which the online instructions don’t give you the ability to actually perform the job. Engineers, Doctors, Pilots. Would you take lessons from YouTube on how to perform open heart surgery?

Of course I’m not comparing the profession of a website designer to that of a heart surgeon. My point is that there are specialized skills for some professions that take years of education, training and experience.

When you DIY your website

It’s tempting for a cost-conscious business owner to build their own website using WIX or a WordPress theme. However, there are lots of reasons why it isn’t a smart business decision.

  1. Your time is money. If you’re spending hours creating your website, you aren’t running your business.
  2. Themes are complicated to configure properly. Complicated even for a website designer with years of experience. Pull your hair out, bang your head on your desk complicated. Not gonna lie, tears have been shed.
  3. Themes are full of extra code because they have to be everything to everyone. That extra code can make your website painfully slow.
  4. Themes come packaged with a full roster of plugins. Some of which could have been handled with 3 simple lines of code. See #3 and repeat.
  5. Themes look pretty darn good UNTIL you have to put your own content and images in.
  6. Things can go south. Take my word for it. It’s expensive and time consuming to fix a broken theme. Often more expensive than the cost of creating a custom website.

I know it sounds like I’m slamming themes. To be honest, there are hoards of very talented, experienced web designers using WordPress themes to create drool-worthy websites for their clients. The difference is, those designers have the experience to understand the limitations of the theme. They also have the skills to format the content, photos, and graphics to be cohesive with the visual intention of the theme.

So, what does a Web Designer do that you (probably) can’t?

A well designed website is so much more than aesthetics. Here are 3 skills that a web designer brings to the table:

We know how to put the focus on the user

Right out of the gate, we dive into a discovery process where we get to know you, your business and your audience. The information gathered lays the groundwork that influences every decision we make about the structure of your site. We identify the needs of your users and organize the website to clearly guide them step by step. A successful website will meet the needs of your audience and your business.

We know how to increase website traffic

If you build it, they will come. NOT. This old saying does not apply to websites. Period. It takes time and a deep understanding of how search engines work. What’s the point of building a website if your customers can’t find it? We use industry standard best practices to increase your online visibility.

We design for credibility

A credible website encourages people to trust you and puts you at a strategic advantage over your competition. According to BJ Fogg, a leading researcher on web credibility:

“In evaluating credibility, a person makes an assessment of both trustworthiness and expertise to arrive at an overall credibility assessment.”

You can read that study here if you’re interested.

Your website is the first point of contact with your customer. Make that impression count.

So, is it an investment in your business to have your website professionally built? Absolutely. Is it worth it? You tell me.

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