Why is a good web designer worth paying for?

In the age of companies offering free DIY websites and generic templates for CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal, what’s the point in paying a web designer to do your site when you could do it yourself?

Well, I can’t argue with that to some extent. If you’re good with a computer and know your way around a bit of html AND you have lots of spare time on your hands then why not give it a go. The sense of achievement and pride when you create something is immense. But be warned, designing and building a website is not something one can generally achieve in a few evenings whilst watching the soaps.

I’d like to discuss just a few things worth considering before you decide who should create your new website or redesign your current site.

Time

As mentioned above, building a website takes time. There are many tools to help speed this process up slightly. Using a ready made CMS system, like WordPress for instance, can making setting up and maintaining your site so much easier; but it doesn’t help you come up with the look, the navigation and the general usability of the site. There are lots of free templates and themes, you can also purchase more, but this can leave your site looking like the next; and many of them are only able to be customised with some knowledge of html, CSS and javascript. If these three words fill you with dread, I’d give it some serious consideration whether this is something you would like to commence.

When we build a site for someone, there is several hour long consultation discussing with what the client expects from the site and what the visitors will be using the site for (e.g. buying a product online, a blog / ezine or a brochure of products or service). We then draft some designs to get an idea of the look and feel of the site. After the client has chosen a deisgn, we then build the site. But that doesn’t mean it’s over. If only! Usually there are several weeks of edits and tweaks while the client starts using the site and then realises they actually want an extra button here or different type of menu there. All this can be done by a professional web designer, but even for us it takes time. If you want these changes and need to make them yourself it could take days or weeks – and they may not be possible if your using a free site builder.

Knowledge

Most free site builders have a wysiwyg editor, a bit like you get in Microsoft Word. But even the best editors are no substitute for understanding the html behind them. I had a client recently who had built a site using a free site builder and wanted to know how to line up the adverts on the left of his page. He’d clicked on the ‘left align’ button in his wysiwyg editor but that hadn’t done anything. Unfortunately the CSS of the free theme he was using, overruled the editor and was ‘centering’ all the images. Something I managed to fix in 30 seconds but something he’d been agonising over and Googling for days!

If you have never used html or CSS and have no inclination to learn, find yourself a web designer that you can trust and accept this is a service you will have to pay for.

Skill and Creative Input

I would say that given time, most people could learn the basics of html and CSS to get them by. Having said that, being able to make edits to a template or left align your photos is not all it takes to create a good website. There are many attractive websites out there but navigating around them is an absolute nightmare. Trying to find opening times, a telephone number or details on a company’s experience can be like pulling teeth with a feather!

A business owner won’t always know what they want from their website and that’s where the experts come in. Having designed many websites before, they have lots of different and creative ideas which will help create the best possible website for your audience. Even the biggest companies have consultants to advice them on how to structure their site and what it should look like. Two heads are better than one. So even if you think you know what you want, inviting the input of a professional might just take your ideas to the next level.

Cost

The phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be more true than for web design. Starting at the bottom:

Free website creation sites – Yes they might be free to set up your site but you’ll have very little control or flexibility with the site. You’ll also probably find that you are stuck paying a month fee forever. Yes, creation was free but you pay for it for as long as you want that site.

Cheap Web Designers – There are companies out there offering to create a simple website for as little as £150. Whilst I am not claiming they will all be terrible, I would have to doubt what kind of site could be created for such a price. I guess if they use a free template, add it to a CMS system like WordPress, it might take them an hour to create a live site. So they’re making a decent profit. But what are you left with? A very uinspiring site that looks like every other cheap site. It doesn’t reflect your brand or your image, and it’s unlikely to act as that ever important reflection of your great products and services and drive sales.

Of course there is the other end of the spectrum:

Extortionate Web Designers – One of my clients originally paid £4,000 for a very simple site. He was pleased with it at first and knowing nothing about web design was impressed. But when he wanted subtle changes, like an image to be clickable, they wanted to charge him the earth! He subsequently realised that the site they created was from a free template openly available to the general public. They had changed the colour scheme and the font – no more than 2 hours work even for a novice designer and sold it to him for £4,000.

Whilst the cost of any web designer might seem like a bridge too far, the right website could help drive your sales to a whole new level, meaning the cost of the website will soon have paid for itself in new sales.

What should you do now?

Well, you can see why you need a designer (otherwise you’d probably have stopped reading this article by now!) so now you have to choose one.

How to choose the right web designer:

  • Ensure you get several quotes.
  • Ask what will be included. E.g: will there be any recurring fees such as hosting, ongoing management?
  • How many designs will they provide?
  • What happens if you don’t like any of the suggested designs?
  • How many change can be made?
  • Will you have access to add and edit content
  • What will the cost be of any changes at a later date?
  • When do you have to pay for the site?
  • Do they actually do the work themselves or is any of it outsourced?
  • See examples of previous work (including links to their sites so you can have a look around for yourself).
  • Do they have any testimonials on their site?
  • What does their own site look like?

Contact

Need Help? Contact Us!

We design websites, so why not give us a call or drop us an email to discuss what we can do for you?

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