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What's the value of working with a professional website designer?

Author -  Vaughan Reed

Website design has come a long way in the past two years - it's cheaper, easier to manage and vastly more complex than it has ever been before.

There are more features, more social media integrations and more plug-ins. And it’s not going to get simpler.

What you’ll hear and what’s the truth

In my opinion, the perception about websites being a cheap and easy-to-set-up commodity has grown over the last couple of years. This has come about as a result of a large number of open-source, free, template design solutions being launched onto the market.

This is great if you are a hobbyist or a blogger or a micro-business. You have time on your hands, you may have tech expertise and the down-side financial risk of making a major mistake is not catastrophic.

Many business people see products like WordPress as an easy route to a quick website. Pick a ready-made design from the myriad free or cheap template themes and make a cost-effective, simple site. This is OK if you want “brochure-ware”. There is very little web design knowledge or expertise required to set up a basic website to act as an online brochure. Go do it. Stop reading this article if this is what you need.

BUT, if you are a business whose website is important for lead generation, inbound marketing and sales the risks are high and the financial costs of failure are not worth contemplating in Dollars and Hours spent repairing and restoring a failed or hacked website.

Loud voices on the web celebrate free offerings. Rational and articulate business writers explain the truthful reality for businesses – it’s never worth the risk and cost of using free-ware for a business website.

The importance of Professional Website Design advice

Today’s Internet is a totally different proposition for a serious business.

  • Do you need your website to drive a financial return to the bottom line?
  • Is your business run solely online?
  • What’s the $ value of lost sales for every day your site is offline?

This is when getting it right means the difference between making money for the business or costing the business money.

What makes a business succeed online?

Success rarely comes from a template. The snake oil salesmen will always try to tell you that if you follow their step-by-step advice you can’t fail.

You can.

Setting up and running a successful business website takes years of learning and industry experience. It’s a full time job and there are few short-cuts.

The best short-cut to a successful online business website is to hire the best, most experienced website design professional that you can afford. Use their brain to answer the critical questions about the website form and function that will deliver success for your unique brand, market and product situation.

Answer these quick questions:

  • Does your business or business idea have the potential to generate a return online?
  • Could it be run just as a web or internet business?
  • Do you have time (2-5 years) to learn the internet tricks of the trade while running your business?

OK I get it, so what should I expect from a web design pro?

We are not talking about the day to day running of your completed website because this is what your CMS is for, where you keep control and your website up-to-date, run marketing campaigns and ensure it continues to engage with your target audience.

What we are talking about is the expertise of the initial setup of the website and the on-going strategic thinking and planning to ensure your online business continues to grow and thrive.

Control over your website and expertise in web design are two different things!

When you start to build a new website you need web design expertise to ensure it is properly set up for your needs. After the design is complete, the daily running of the site as a marketing and inbound lead generation tool is something you can learn and your marketing team needs to manage actively.

  • A content management system (CMS) gives you the control to manage your website
  • Expertise in web design covers the following critical components to delivering a successful website:
    • Scoping Requirements and Planning
    • Design Creative
    • Content & Navigation structure
    • Post support services

If you do not know what these involve, read our detailed article explaining each step.

When you work with a professional you’ll be sitting alongside someone who has designed many websites. Someone who can show you the precise advantages and disadvantages of your functionality choices; someone whose job depends on getting your business the online presence it requires.

Do it yourself and risk your business. Use a web design professional.

Martyn

11:50 PM Sunday, October 2, 2011

A well argued case. DIY has its place but so too do professionally designed sites

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