Let’s face it. The challenge of creating your first business website can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when you don’t even know what you don’t know.
How do you find a great web design company? Where do you look? Come to think of it, is a web design company even your best bet?
Many so-called experts now advocate a radical approach for organizations, startups, and other brands who need a website as part of their launch plans. Instead of hiring professional designers, they say, why not use drag-and-drop site builders? These solutions are usually much cheaper than hiring a designer—sometimes even free, included with a hosting package—so any cash-strapped business can save some much-needed money this way.
The advantages seem obvious. But what you may not realize if you follow this advice is what you’re giving up. Using a site builder is only a viable alternative solution to hiring a design company if your goal is simply to have some kind of web presence, and you literally don’t care about any of the details.
The problem with that advice is that there are some serious downsides to the DIY approach. Conversely, if you hire an experienced web design company, you and your website will enjoy several advantages that you might otherwise miss out on, advantages which more than offset the initial investment.
We think it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you choose a website solution. Let’s look at the biggest issues that, in our experience, most clients aren’t aware of when they choose between hiring a skilled web design company and other DIY-based solutions.
Outsourcing a website seems like a hard and complex job. The things you don’t know seem to overpower the few things you’re sure about, and there aren’t many of those.
The truth is that getting a website created and launched is a complex process. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be managed. This is true even for people who know how to code and design websites.
The right web design company for your business or brand takes most of this off your plate. The designers act as your project manager, so you can focus on the things that are essentially yours—the overall sense of the site, what it needs to do, who it should “speak” to and how well it aligns with your brand’s mission.
Skilled and experienced web designers know this process intimately. They’ve managed similar projects in the past and they have a lot of expertise in keeping those parts moving. They’ve likely developed systems and tools to help manage the experience for the client.
How many websites have you designed, created and launched? Unless you’re a web designer, the answer is almost certainly “fewer than the professional web design agency you’re considering hiring.”
After all, there’s something to be said for knowing what you’re doing. Put simply, experience counts for a lot when it comes to website design. Tackling a DIY website project for the first time using your business website as a guinea pig of sorts is a risky undertaking for the simple fact that you don’t have that heightened level of experience to guide you.
Your website is not simply one “thing” to be accomplished. It’s really an amalgam of many different component projects. From logo design to icons, from page layout to information architecture, all business sites depend on each of these discrete pieces being completed on time and finished to a high degree of quality.
If you’re building your website yourself using a site builder, you’re responsible for each of those component parts, too. Yet that DIY approach tends to obscure the importance of each of those components. It all begins to look like one “thing” to finish and be done with.
Using a competent, skilled web design company keeps this from happening. Design companies understand the need for specialization in all the various component arts and skills that create an excellent, well-designed website.
That’s typically why designers choose to create their own agencies to begin with. They want to work with other talented artists and technicians who are equally good at their respective strengths, while still understanding the way all those parts fit together.
The result for the client is a beautifully crafted website that rests on strong foundations, where each of those component parts is built to perform at optimum levels on its own and as part of the whole.
Have you ever undertaken a complex DIY home improvement project, something like giving the living room a massive makeover? Unless you’re a professional decorator by trade, complex jobs like that create overwhelm as the hoped-for flow of the component jobs begins to back up like river water behind a massive logjam.
That’s because complex jobs—that is, a big undertaking made up of many smaller projects—require consistent attention and handling to stay on track.
What usually happens for DIY jobs like redecorating rooms for people who aren’t interior designers, and designing websites for people who aren’t site designers by trade, is that other obligations start to take precedence. Your project begins to take on the shape of a hobby, not a job or serious business obligation. It’s something to do when you have time.
And that’s how deadlines get blown.
Professional, experienced web design companies know how to chart out a realistic project delivery schedule and stick to it. There’s a lot of value in that for you as the client, since you can be reasonably sure your site will be there for you when it’s time to launch your business, meaning all your other contingent marketing and launch activities won’t be kept waiting.
One of the most often cited reasons behind a new company’s decision to start with a cheaper DIY website alternative is the need to save money. This one is a tricky consideration for a number of reasons.
It’s obviously true that companies (especially new ones, without a lot of cash flow) need to adhere rather firmly to established financial budgetary constraints. Money is always tight in the beginning, after all, and a website doesn’t often produce a positive flow of income right off the bat. A digital marketing presence takes some time to gain traction with the target audience.
However, a professionally designed website has a much better chance of attracting those prospects right off the bat. Professional designers with experience building business sites can also help you determine what functionality you truly need in the beginning and what bells and whistles can probably wait until a later iteration of your site.
By creating a more stable, more “evergreen” design for you in the beginning—one that you can add to later without necessarily having to reinvent the wheel—a professional web design company can actually help you save money in the long run and make more of it sooner.
Don’t rule out a great web design company for your brand’s website needs right away. Instead, take the time to look at the portfolios of reputable agencies and companies near you, and think about how the right team of professionals can make your life easier and your business more successful.
And if you’d like to learn more about working with a creative team like that, why not give us a call or drop us a line today? We’d love to chat with you about your new website, and we’re always happy to answer questions.