Are you looking to build a website? The first question you’re probably asking yourself is: should I use a website builder and just do it myself, or web designer? Well, that all depends.
As a web designer, I’m of course going to argue for hiring myself and my peers. Before I do so, I would like to make it clear: if you’re not focusing much on online customer acquisition and just want a simple web page to make things official, then by all means. A website builder could be a good option. However, when you’re ready to take the next step in strengthening your online presence, here are...
Website builders are marketed as being easy to use, but they still take time and energy away from your business. Anything that takes away from ameliorating and executing the skills that fuel your business and make you money, might very well hinder your sanity, and even the business itself. Whether you’re a lawyer, a plumber, or a restauranteur, people are paying you for your expertise. The same can be said for a web designer.
Did you know that the higher the cognitive load and the less intuitive a site is, the more likely a user is to find an alternative? You therefore need to find the perfect balance between being informative and not overloading your page with information. Websites are like a language, and although you may know the basics of the language (e.g. pages, navigation, footer), it takes time and effort to properly converse. Conveying why your company is valuable and relaying your message through a website takes mental effort to achieve effectively.
Cognitive overload is one of the many things we designers keep in mind while building your online presence. We put in the hours to become experts in our own domain, so that you can become an expert in yours.
Sure, you can slap a banner, some text, product photos and a footer onto the screen and call it a day. The challenge is actually getting digital visitors to buy what you’re selling, whether it’s an online purchase or online research for an in-store purchase. Hiring a web designer can significantly increase sales conversions. Why? Because we design with a particular concept or goal in mind. This is called intentional design.
One thing that web designers like to focus on for intentional design is colour. Studies show that people decide whether or not to interact with you within the first 90 seconds, with 90% of this decision being influenced by colour. There is a lot of information out there about colour and how it will affect your website. A good web designer will get to know your business, your clientele, and your future clientele, in order to pick a colour that suits your brand and keeps visitors engaged, so that they stay on your website, rather than a direct competitor’s.
Of course you can do this yourself, particularly if you’re keeping up with web design blogs (like mine!). But as you know, it takes time to learn and gather all of the information. And takes even longer to implement and perfect.
While templates provided by DIY website builders can be tweaked to give you a feeling of customizability, it will be difficult to keep your website from looking just like everyone else’s. Uniformity is a symptom of ease-of-use; the more allowance for customization on the platform, the more features needed, the more complexity, and the steeper the learning curve. This is something popular website building platforms stay away from, since the appeal is not just price, but also ease-of-use. A web designer can customize a website that fits your branding, with little to no boundaries, keeping your website from looking like everyone else’s.
Speaking of websites looking like everyone else’s… standing out is quite important amongst the 400 million websites active on the internet right now. When doing research for your product/service, you want potential clients to remember your website. A web designer can really help you achieve this. Moreover, many web designers see a web page like a painter sees a canvas. By hiring a web designer, you’re commissioning them to make you something that’s not only functional, but unique and artistic.
Finally, the dreaded hidden costs. Web designers are more expensive up front, but a good one will send you a contract so that you are both on the same page when it comes to cost and expectations. On the opposite side of things, website builders are quite inexpensive, however they only stay that way if you stick to the bare minimum. Many people end up having to purchase add-ons to give their websites added functionality that they didn’t initially plan for, driving up their monthly bill. Christopher Wray writes about his experience with this in his article, “Why I have moved away from Squarespace and so should you”. Let’s say you run a therapy practice. To add an online scheduler to your DIY website can cost you approximately an additional $14/month for a basic plan, or $45/month for a professional plan. Always be wary of low introductory costs, as they have a tendency of ballooning in the future.
Though you may be tempted to shop at IKEA for a new kitchen table, a furniture builder might be a better option. They will customize a table for you that is special, functional, represents your style, and fits with your space. And that’s exactly what a web designer can do for you.
Hi! I'm Arianne. I'm a freelance web designer. I created this blog page not only to compliment my business, but to share information with other aspiring web designers who wish to be successful in this rich and evolving space.Find out More