A question that often arises for small companies investing in a website is: why should I hire a professional web design company when I can get my sister’s, mother-in-law’s, friend’s kid who dabbles in html to create one for me for $200?
Just as you know your company better than your sister’s, mother-in-law’s, friend’s kid who dabbles in your field, so do professional web design companies. There is an abundance of constantly evolving knowledge and skill that goes into every step of creating a website. A professional company will have a team of specialists who devote their lives to the web and more importantly have the experience to know what will work best for your website.
A professional web design company is versed in search engine optimization, usability, web standards, secure coding, and current design techniques. This knowledge will ensure that your site looks modern, works in current technologies, is secure, is organized in a way that allows users to find what they need in your site and will be found by major search engines such as Google.
Another common sneak around to a quick and inexpensive website is using online templates that allow you to create your own website. This may seem like a great idea for a company with a small web budget, but you may end up paying for it in the long run.
There are an abundance of websites that sell templates. It is not a bad idea to look through them for design inspiration, as a lot of them are very nice looking, but a template does eliminate a lot of customization and another company can purchase the same template and have a site that looks just like yours!
So, you buy a pretty template, then what?! You will have to invest a considerable amount of time into figuring out the process of building an actual website with your newly purchased template. You will have to buy and learn web development software. You will have to learn about Cascading Style Sheets and probably at least understand HTML. WYSISWG (what you see is what you get) programs such as Dreamweaver and FrontPage make web development a bit more understandable, but they are not fool-proof and many developers often work the majority of the time in code view. Often, these templates are not labeled well and can be confusing even for professionals to manipulate. This is already a lot of time and money that you are investing just into figuring out the basics. Wouldn’t your time be better spent focusing on your customers and generating sales?
If you are able to figure out the software programs and successfully manipulate the template, are you knowledgeable on the best way to display your information and organize your website for maximum usability efficiency? You can have a nice looking website, with great content, but if a user cannot quickly find what they are looking for, they will not stay on your website.
How about search engine optimization? Without adding content and description meta tags, alternate titles, proper use of text links, correct percentages of keyword/phrase content, keywords in header tags and more, no one will be able to find your pretty template website.
Depending on where you purchase your template, the code behind the nice looking template may not be standards sufficient. This may cause problems down the road if you want to incorporate any customized elements such as databases or eCommerce into your website.
It may be tempting to have your website built by someone inexpensive and inexperienced, or to purchase a template and build it yourself, but if you are going to make the necessary investment and get your company online, why not do it right? A professional web design company has a vested interest in your website’s success. They have the knowledge, experience and practiced judgment to incorporate your website into your brand, to get your site found by search engines and to create a useful product for your customers, which will in turn increase sales and pay for itself.