As a web design firm, we often come up against recurring objections, one of the most common is “Why should we pay a web designer to create our site when I can do it myself?”
It is totally understandable that the uninitiated would think this, after all there is a plethora of cheap web design software out there, some comes free, some comes bundled with Office and for the more unscrupulous, the Internet provides many opportunities to illegally download top of the range web design software that we pay hundreds for.
So with all this in mind – why bother using a web design company at all?
First – You get what you pay for.
The first and perhaps most fundamental point that the self builder is missing is that their time has a value, let’s say a nominal £30 per hour.
With many web design firms, the price you are quoted reflects the amount of time spent in consultation, design and build. Obviously, self-builders don’t need to consult with themselves - they already know their own business – but they are not web designers. Therefore, without support, they will need to:-
- Source and install appropriate web design software
- Source and install appropriate graphic software
- Learn to use the web design and graphic design packages (with limited or no understanding of the nuts and bolts of websites)
- Design an make up their first web page and then build the subsequent pages
- Select reliable web hosting (good luck on this one!)
- Set up their web address and hosting; and
- Figure out how to get the website live
I’m not sure how this list reads, but if you have limited experience this is one hell of a journey! When contending with running or setting up a business, the last thing you need is to focus on a peripheral.
Second - Search Engine Visibility
So, the first hurdle has been jumped, a little greyer and wiser but what a fantastic site! And it’s there for all to see – well, those that know it’s there anyway.
The amount of times I’ve heard the proud proclamation ”I rank top in Google if you type in my company name!!” – This is a great start, but the real money is in finding NEW clients that don’t know your company name. If you are nowhere to be seen when someone is looking for your service then you could be losing millions in potential revenue.
Now many web design firms don’t offer search engine optimisation as a stand alone product (we certainly don’t) but they should know what words should go where to grab the attention of the search engines. It is for this reason that if you are looking for a dune buggy safari (Arabia Horizons), Osmo Products (Winchester Joinery) or an APW Cabinet (CommNetworks Ltd) you will find our clients right at the top of the first page in Google (NB: True at the time of writing).
Again, if you want to learn how to optimise your website for search engines, the answers are all out there. There are numerous forums frequented by friendly, helpful people who are only too happy to answer questions – but if you’re starting from scratch – it’s a fairly steep learning curve.
Finally – You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
There are numerous pitfalls to web design that are practically invisible if you don’t know where to look.
For example, we cross-check our work in numerous different browsers (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari etc.) against numerous different platforms (Windows, Mac etc.) because different variations of these understand web code slightly differently – so you’re beautiful design that looks great on your computer could well look awful when someone else looks at it on their computer. This is just one of the many issues web design companies are aware of and just deal with as a matter of course.
In summary, I have a great deal of admiration for those people who self-teach themselves web design, I know what it takes to become good at this! I have always said that in web design as in life, everything is a trade-off. If you have lots of time on your hands but little money,then by all means DIY is a great way to go, but if you have limited time and a reasonable cash flow then let the professionals do what they do best and focus your efforts on the things that really matter.