Do I need a website designer?
So you’ve decided you want to build a website for your business?
Since you’ve found this post, you might be asking yourself this question – ‘Do I need a website designer or can I do it on my own?’. This is an important decision and it’s crucial to do your research. This may be the first time you’ve ever needed a website and you want to make sure you do it right.
Now I know you may think I am being biased as I have made a career off building websites. But I have worked with a lot of clients who originally tried to build their website themselves before reaching out to me and have learned some of their biggest pain points. I’ve also built many websites and have worked with a variety of clients, and hope I can ease your mind with this decision a little bit and provide some guidance.
I’ve outlined 7 main questions to ask yourself before deciding if you need a website designer or not. Analyzing your own answers to these questions should be able to give you a better idea of if you want to try to build a website on your own or if you think you might be better off hiring a professional website designer & developer. The questions to ask yourself are:
- Can you build yourself a high-quality website?
- Do you want your website to be responsive?
- Will your website get visitors?
- Will your website convert leads?
- Is it worth the time?
- Do you know how to maintain your website?
1. Can you build yourself a high quality website?
I am going to assume you likely do not have very much experience building websites. In which case, you might be wondering – how hard could it be? The answer to this questions is that it depends.
If you’re just looking to build a quick basic website without caring about the results, then yeah – anyone can follow a tutorial on youtube and build a website for very cheap. You might be able to find a theme that already has a template that you like as well and think that you can just use that.
There are however many issues that will come with this do-it-yourself (DIY) method by just following tutorials and using theme templates.
Firstly, you won’t be able to customize your website very much if you have a specific vision in mind. Even if you’re happy with the template now, in a few months from now, when you want to make any changes, it will be a very challenging process trying to figure out how to make these updates.
Also, when using these pre-set theme templates and plug-ins, your website will become very bulky and load slower. Nobody likes a slow website, especially search engines like Google (which I’ll get into a bit later). While these templates may look good now, they could slow down your website and hurt your chances of getting new leads and customers.
2. Do you want your website to be responsive?
Let’s say you are able to use a template and/or follow a tutorial to make your website look as you desired on a desktop. What about making your website responsive? When you build a website with only desktop in mind, the design likely won’t carry over very well to visitors on your website using a tablet and/or mobile device.
New studies suggest that the majority of website visitors are actually coming from mobile (see this study here going over statistics of which devices users use the most while surfing the web). So to have a successful website, you will have to be able design for desktop and then optimize for responsiveness so the design works well with both tablet and mobile devices as well. This makes building a website without much design or development experience much tougher if you want it to be optimized on all devices.
Moreover, Google also takes into account the mobile effectiveness of your website and non-mobile optimized websites will rank much worse than optimized ones.
Hiring an expert website designer will ensure that not only will you get a great website for desktop, but website visitors on a tablet and/or mobile device will have an optimal experience as well!
3. Will your website get visitors?
Now, let’s imagine that you’ve managed to build yourself a beautiful website, and even optimized it for desktop, tablet, & mobile devices. Amazing! There’s only one problem… you’re not getting any visitors. One of the biggest parts of building a website goes on behind the scenes, in terms of ranking well on search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what determines how well you will rank on search engines such as Google and Bing. For example, let’s think about massage practices in Toronto, Canaada. If a person looking for a massage therapist searches ‘Massage Therapist in Toronto’ on Google, then the massage practices in Toronto that rank the best for that keyword will show up on the first page of Google. The worse your SEO score is for common search phrases for your type of business, the less organic traffic your website will get, and ultimately the less clients you will acquire.
There are many different factors that go into building an SEO friendly website. One of the most important ones being page speed. Google doesn’t want to send users to a slow website as they are more likely to leave the website quickly. As stated earlier, using a bulky theme with pre-set templates and plugins will definitely negatively impact the speed of your website. A fast website will be as lightweight as possible, which will be a lot harder to accomplish without the assistance of a professional web designer & developer.
In addition to page loading speed and device responsiveness, there are many other factors that contribute to a website being SEO friendly. One important aspect is setting up the primary keywords, titles, and meta descriptions for your pages. Keywords are the main phrases you want users to type in a search engine to find the specific page of your website. They should be relevant to the content on the page of your website. The page title and meta description is what would show up on the google search for that page (see example below):
There are tons of different SEO plugins available on WordPress to manage the above settings as well as many other configurations. Ensuring that these are set up correctly and that you rank strongly for appropriate keywords is imperative for the success of your website and business. For more information on creating a SEO friendly website, check out this article.
What’s the point of building a website if no one will find it? If you want to ensure your website is set up to be SEO friendly and be discoverable on search engines, hiring a professional website designer & developer could be a worthwhile choice!
4. Will your website convert leads?
Okay, now let’s imagine you have figured out how to rank great on search engines and can get many visitors on your website! Now, the question is – are you going to be able to convert these leads into customers? Whether you are building a website for your business and want to gain a customer or starting a travel blog and want to get users to sign up for your monthly newsletter, there will be a main action you wants users to take on your website. That’s essentially the whole point of having a website.
Ensuring your website has a strong ‘call-to-action’ that actually motivates users to take action and drive sales is harder than it sounds. From the get-go, when there is a visitor on your website, you will have to be able to show what sets you apart from competitors and prove that you can provide value for them to even stay on your website longer than a few seconds.
Ensuring that your website has strong hierarchical value that flows the user along the website journey you have intended, will definitely be tougher to accomplish on a templated website. An experienced website designer will have knowledge on how to structure a website to drive sales from your website
Another huge benefit of hiring a great web designer & developer is that they could also help with content creation. A competent web designer & developer will be able to help take the content and ideas for your website and convert it into website content that will be attractive and help convert visitors into clients.
5. Is it worth the time?
Let’s say you’re confident that you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the above questions and can actually build yourself a high-quality website that converts. Amazing! You could definitely go for it in this scenario.
However, one other question you might want to ask yourself is – “Is building myself a high-quality website worth my time?”. I assume that building websites isn’t the main service offering of your business. So rather than take the time to build your own website, you could focus all of your attention instead on what you’re best at – your business!
Yes, the upfront cost of hiring a website designer is going to be more than doing it yourself, but what’s more important to you right now? Your time or your money? This is definitely an important question to think about before deciding to build your own website.
A lot of my clients actually started out trying to build their own website, and then realized that they either didn’t have the time or the skillset to build it the way they wanted. They ended up deciding that they did need a website designer anyways. It could be more wise to decide from the get-go to hire a professional to build out the vision for your website, and use all the extra time you have now gained back for yourself to focus on what’s most important to you and what you’re best at.
6. Do you know how to maintain your website?
A common misconception a lot of first-time website creators have is that you only have to focus on your website once while your building it, and it will work forever. This is definitely not the case.
Especially when using a Content Management System like WordPress, your website will be built with a variety of themes and plug-ins that need to be updated. This means that you will have to perform routine updates to your website to keep it up to date, functioning properly, and protect from security threats.
I like to think of a website like car. You don’t just buy a car once and then have it work flawlessly forever. No, you have to take your car in for routine maintenance and fix it when it breaks down. A website works fairly similar. You take proactive measures to ensure it keeps working as intended, but need to be ready to fix it if any issues arise.
So even if you do have the time and the skillset to create your website, are you going to know how to maintain it or fix it if it breaks down? Most expert web designer & developers that you hire to build your website will also offer an ongoing maintenance plan that you can opt-in to since they understand that your website isn’t finished once it is first launched.
This is definitely another question to consider before deciding if you want to build a website yourself or hire a professional. At the very least, if you are going with the ‘do it yourself’ method, I would recommend finding a competent company that offers website maintenance to assist you with the ongoing maintenance for your website. Paying a company a small monthly retainer will be a lot cheaper than hiring a company for a one time issue fix when/if something breaks on your website.
Conclusion – do I need a website designer?
So there you have it. Those 6 questions are just meant to provide some clarity into what will be involved with building your website and help you decide if you think you can manage it on your own or not.
While it might seem more expensive at the start, it all depends about what you’re hoping to accomplish with your website. Paying a web designer & developer $3,000 for a website that helps you bring in even just an additional $3,100 in revenue is a much better scenario than building a website yourself that ends up bringing in $0 in additional revenue.
Regardless, the choice is up to you! If you can have any questions I’d be happy to answer them. You can reach me directly at [email protected].
If you decide that you do need a website designer to build your website and help take your business to the next level, I would love to chat about your project and see if I would be a good fit!
Have a wonderful day!