Most business owners understand the importance of having a website that properly represents their business. When it comes to planning or designing your business’ website, you’re faced with two options: hiring a website designer or using a website builder. While it’s definitely possible to design your own website, the question is, should you? The answer comes down to risk vs. reward and which is right for your business.
Website builders like WIX, Squarespace or Weebly can be a great option for personal use. You can create and customize a contemporary and polished website that will display your resume, portfolio or blog with a simple drag and drop solution. Although having a website that can be up and running in a matter of minutes for an extremely low cost is appealing, it’s not recommended for a long-term solution.
Millions of websites are created using a templated website builder. Self-built websites typically look generic and are difficult to navigate. You can run into problems if and when you decide to add advanced features that only professional programmers would know how to implement correctly. Often times, small business owners are hesitant to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000 on a small business website when website builders only cost $50 a month. But creating a website yourself could cost you a lot more in business if the website does not provide a user-friendly experience.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional
You know you need a website, but you may have a vague understanding of the purpose your website should serve. When you hire a professional web designer who is great at their job, they can take your vision and bring it to reality. A professional can help you map out the design and structure of your website so that it follows best practices and converts visitors into customers.
The design of your website isn’t something that should be overlooked. It’s the first impression a visitor has of your brand or business. The look and feel of your website will communicate to your current and potential customers the credibility you have in your industry. A professional designer will understand the best design practices, color theory, font and balance specific to your brand and target audience. They’ll understand user interface, the composition of information and how design influences the visitors’ experience on your website. Plus, they have the tools like Adobe Creative Suite, which will ensure the job is done correctly. If you want to create a high quality website, then you’ll not only need to have these kinds of tools, but you’ll also need to know how to use them properly. Furthermore, your competitors may have hired a professional designer. Leaving you in the dust as they reap the benefits of having someone who can optimize the conversion of their site.
2. User Experience
You understand your customers more than anyone, but when you’re so involved in running a business, it can be difficult to see things from your customer’s perspective. That’s why it’s so important to have an objective opinion and clear point of view to determine what your customer’s journey should look like on your website. The kind of content you provide on your website will not only lead people there, but na exceptional user experience will entice them to stay longer and interact with your business more. It’s important to have different kinds of content on your website like images, video and blog posts. Having a well laid out website that can provide the optimum user experience will give you the upper hand over your competition.
If a good portion of your customers find you via online searches, then you can miss out on potential sales if you do not have a professionally designed website. Hiring a professional can offer many benefits when it comes to search engine optimization. An efficient web designer will identify the best keywords to rank for and structure your site to be optimized for those keywords. You’ll be able track which buttons visitors are clicking on the most, where your traffic is coming from and how much time people are spending on the site. This kind of data can help you recognize what changes you can make to your site to help you bring in more targeted traffic and make the user experience more enjoyable.
4. Ongoing Support
Building a website is not easy. So what happens when something goes wrong? You could try to figure it out yourself by reading forums or watching tutorials, but this could take a lot of time. If you decide to use a website builder, often times you’ll find the level of assistance you get from them is either non-existent or your time is spent on hold at an international call center. If you hire a web developer, you’re able to have a professional monitor and maintain your business website whenever an issue arises.
While having your website up and running within a day has its appeal, it takes time to create a quality website. Even if you use a website builder, the adjustments you have to make in order have your website looking professional or load faster may take the same amount of time or even more than it would to hire a professional to build your site. You could learn how to build a proper website yourself, but how much time do you actually have to learn about something that has nothing to do with your profession? Your time is much better spent running your business.
Lastly, what do your competitors’ websites look like? If you choose to build your own website while your competitors bit the bullet and hired a professional, that puts you at a serious disadvantage. Not only will their website look better, but it will function more efficiently. Understanding the importance of quality will help you stand out among your competitors. Using a professional to design your website communicates to the public that you’re serious about what you do, your brand image and providing exceptional user experience.
Should you hire a professional web designer to build your small business website or should you save your dollars and use a website builder? The bottom line is that your website is there to help you make money. But before you decide how to get a website, you need to consider your budget and the goals for your website. If your budget is tight and doesn’t allow you to have a professional developer design your website, then starting off with a website builder may be your best option right now. If you feel like you’re losing potential business by not having a professionally designed website, then you should definitely hire a professional.