Will a professional website designer add value to your site?

Author -  Labyrinth Solutions

It's a question we hear all the time - "Will a professional website designer add value to my site?"      

The obvious response to that is – “Is it important that he does?” If your website is just a hobby, or is for just a minor business, whether the site is a success or not probably doesn’t matter. But, if the business is your livelihood and the website is a serious part of your marketing mix, it matters a great deal!      

New Zealanders are well known for their DIY mentality and there’s a common perception that with ‘open source’ products it is easy and cheap to build a website yourself. Products like WordPress offer free or cheap templates to choose from and off you go building your own website. Relatively simple, and it requires little or no web design knowledge or expertise. And the costs, (except time) can be extremely low.      

However cheap is not always good, and the old saying, “You get what you pay for!” generally does apply i.e. you get less when you pay less! If your website is important to you, it needs to really deliver in areas such as, establishing credibility and trust, lead generation, presenting the right image for your business and converting interest into positive action etc. To achieve these, real expertise and experience is required – exactly what you pay for with a professional website designer.

Indeed, what should be considered instead of just looking at the outlay necessary for setting up a website, is the return on investment it will generate. In simple terms a $500 website that adds nothing to your business is an absolute cost. Conversely, a $20,000 site that generates $100,000 worth of additional business is a significant asset.       

In short - the risks of DIY (without the accompanying skills and expertise) are high, and the long term costs often much higher than expected. This is certainly the case when opportunity costs in terms of lost business opportunities and your time is taken into account, plus post build completion issues, such as repairing your site if it fails or is hacked! 

Labyrinth website      

So if DIY is not recommended, what does the professional website designer bring to the table?      

A professional website designer is usually part of a team of professionals, each bringing their specialists skills, knowledge and experience in to the benefit of your project.      

The designer will ensure that your website presents the right image for your company/brand – an important first step in establishing trust and credibility with new clients. This will come down to understanding your business, and the way the target audience perceives things.

  • The designer, together with the project manager will ensure that all the site’s objectives have been clearly understood so that the site can be designed to meet them. This includes any particular functionality that the site is expected to deliver.
  • The designer will ensure that visitors to your site are given a great experience. This involves planning the visitor’s journey through the site, which in turn comes down to understanding your target audience - what they will be looking for on your site and different personality types within your audience.
  • The project manager will ensure that the website is designed, built and delivered within a specified timeframe. There’s nothing worse that having a product launch or trade event to attend and your website isn’t ready – a typical occurrence with DIY projects as running your business gets in the way!
  • The marketing specialist or web strategist will explore how the site is to be used in conjunction with other elements of your marketing to ensure best results can be achieved. He will also explore the most effective ways of getting your target audience to your website. Ideally, the marketing specialist will also work with you once the site has been built and delivered, to ensure that you continue to maximise the results you obtain from your online activities.

DIY sites do have a place in the market - they have already shown that. But if you are relying on achieving great results from your website, is the benefit of saving a relatively small sum of money (when compared to all your business costs) on your site worth the risk of it failing to deliver when it counts? Consider it like this - if you are seriously sick, you’d want the best doctor – if you’re in trouble with the IRD you’d want the best accountant and if you have legal trouble you’d really want the best lawyer. Think of your business and online marketing the same way – and hire the best website design team you possibly can and invest in your business future.    

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