The question of whether to hire a website designer or do it yourself is one that many small business owners struggle with, and with all the options out there, no wonder it quickly begins to feel overwhelming.
But don’t worry – What if I told you it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think – and often the answer is found simply by looking at your business, where it is today, and where you might want to take it tomorrow.
Knowing when to hire a web designer.
Before going any further, you need to ask an important question, “Do I have the budget?”
Is your business well established? Is your cash flow net positive?
If not, I recommend taking a look at a DIY solution, like Wix or Squarespace. It’s more important at this stage to move fast and break things. Get something that works up and running as quickly as possible. Once you’re turning a profit, then it’s time to hire a professional and maximize your opportunities online.
Alright, we have that pesky budget question out of the way, phew. So, let’s explore the other reasons you might need to hire a website designer.
You feel your website design is outdated
If your website hasn’t been updated in a few years, chances are it’s feeling outdated. If you’re still using the same design or layout from when your business first launched then it’s not going to help attract new customers and keep them engaged as they browse your website.
A new design can make all the difference when attracting new customers online. It’s important for people browsing your site to trust what they see before trusting in what is said or what is promised. A well designed site, with fresh content, released regularly, will make visitors feel more confident clicking through, picking up the phone, or sending an email.
Your design doesn’t reflect your brand
Branding is always important and having a consistent and professional brand will help improve trust and confidence in your business for new visitors to your website.
Spend some time looking at your brand, look at the style, the aesthetic, the colors, the tone of voice. Does it represent you and your business? Is it consistent across all your properties?
Your website design can be a reflection of your organization’s values and priorities. Is it truly reflecting you? Or worse yet, does the design have little or nothing to do with who you are as an organization? If not, then it’s time for change!
You’re not getting enough traffic
If you’re not getting enough traffic (people visiting your website), it could be because of a few reasons, such as:
- Your website isn’t mobile-friendly (or at least doesn’t look good on phones).
- Poor site design that’s hard to navigate or that looks outdated.
- You haven’t invested in SEO so that Google can find your site when someone searches for you and what you do.
- Outdated content with no new blog posts released on a regular basis to keep people interested and returning for more.
If the problem is due to any of these things then there are some simple fixes! First step – hire an experienced website designer who knows how to make sure your site is easy to use across all devices; Next, update your appearance by adjusting colors, style, and tone of voice to better suit your brand. And finally, keep your site’s content relevant and fresh – Show your customers you’re open for business!
There are broken links or other technical issues
Broken links are killer! Typically dead-ends for your visitors, they reduce trust and instantly remove them from the flow of your sales and content. Making sure every link has a destination is key to a seamless experience.
Dead-links aren’t the only technical issue that can be frustrating, broken layouts or other errors can also lead to a frustrating experience that will not only discourage visitors from using your website, but give an unprofessional impression.
Fixing these errors can be time-consuming or require an expert to help, but it will lead to better search engine rankings and more visitor engagement in the long run.
You want more control over the content & functionality of your website (e-commerce, etc.)
As your business grows over time, so does the needs of your website.
Perhaps a simple website doesn’t cut it any longer, and you need to enhance or add new features.
Sometimes this can be hard, especially when a website isn’t designed with growth in mind. There are several factors that can hold you back from adding those much needed new features such as:
- DIY platforms like Wix or Squarespace are fantastic sandboxes, but the moment you need something more custom or outside of their predetermined feature-set, you’re out of luck.
- If your site is built on older technology or uses an older version of WordPress, you’ll find it difficult to add new features without using plugins that might not be optimized for the latest web browsers.
- And finally, cost – adding those new features will cost money and development time, which could mean hiring a designer.
If you’re running into these problems with adding new customizations and upgrades to your online presence, there’s no harm in calling in some professional help from a qualified expert.
What are the alternatives to hiring a website designer?
Website builders like Wix or Squarespace are great options if you have a limited budget or just starting out.
Using pre-built designs will get you off the ground quickly without needing design or technical know-how. But this comes with trade-offs – Their designs are generic and may not reflect your brand’s tone of voice or aesthetic.
Moreover, they often don’t perform well in search engines like Google and will hamper your ability to compete in the long run.
Having said all that, without time, budget or skills, these are good options to get things started.
Premium WordPress themes
If you have more time than budget, picking up a premium WordPress theme might be an option. There are countless tutorials, guides and how-tos on setting up your own WordPress website.
This is definitely a good option if you feel confident and tech-savvy enough to dive in. But you might find yourself in over your head when trying to tackle more technical challenges
Top reasons why you should hire a professional website designer:
1. They’ll provide a unique design, tailored to your business and your audience
A professional designer will craft a unique experience for your visitors. You’ll be able to escape the limitations of website builders or themes and have something that’s truly unique to your business, not only will it be on brand but it’ll speak to your customers in ways that will instill confidence in you and your business.
2. A much more enjoyable user experience
When a customer first visits your website, it’s important their questions are answered quickly. An expert designer can make sure that not only does your website look fantastic, but it also provides value to your visitors by answering their questions quickly. Every button, link, layout, and form will naturally lead them to conversion, turning them from visitor to customer.
3. More advanced features
A DIY website is limited to the features of the platform they’re using. This can often lead to a clunky, complicated website that doesn’t provide the advanced features you need for your business. The more advanced tools and capabilities usually come with an expert designer who understands how websites are built in today’s world.
4. Only the functionality you need
Website builders often come with pre-defined features that can bloat your website. These features you may not want to use, and you may feel “shoe-horned” into the experience. An expert can help free you from this limitation and bring focus to the experience your website provides to your customers.
5. Much better ranking in search engines like Google
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an in-depth subject, and an expert can help you navigate it. They’ll use the latest industry standards and often construct comprehensive and long-term strategies to make sure you can compete with your local competition online.
How much does a website designer cost?
This is always a hard question to answer, because it really depends on what you need (which you might not know yet! – but don’t worry, a good designer can help you figure this out). Having said that, you can typically find a designer that fits your budget.
For a simple website, you’re probably looking to invest somewhere between $1000 and $5000. More advanced features (like eCommerce) can increase this range.
It is worth noting, that like with any professional, a website designer who has more talent and more experience will generally be more expensive. These are good considerations to keep in mind when budgeting.
So, should you hire a website designer or just do it yourself?
Whether you’ve been running your business for a decade, or just starting up, it may be time to consider updating your website. As you’ve seen, there are many benefits to hiring a professional website designer, but if the expense is prohibitive, or you’re not too keen on giving up control of your content and design decisions, then it may be time for an at-home renovation project!
Whatever the case, if you feel you might need to hire a pro, give us a shout. Whether it’s recommending services we offer, or pointing you in the direction of tools and resources to kick things off on your own, we’ll get you on the right track.
So, give us a quick shout today and we’ll sit down, put the kettle on, and walk you through how we can get your old website feeling new again.