By OLIVER ANDREWS
The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Web Designer
Why should I hire a web designer?
Those in the field will often tell you that there are many benefits of hiring a professional web designer, but what are they? Why should you actually hire one?
Primarily, it comes down to the same reasons you would hire anyone, including accountants, marketers, consultants and lawyers. You pay them because you want their experience and problem-solving skills. You want their expertise immediately so you can avoid going to the expense of developing skills yourself.
Web designers don’t just build attractive websites; they create solutions that drive revenue. Anyone can create a beautiful site these days using template tools. Far fewer, however, can create a site that offers fabulous SEO, sales funnels and compelling content that converts. All of those elements are necessary but extend well beyond the aesthetics. They’re not automatic.
Remember, designers aren’t just “designing” in the traditional sense of the word. Websites aren’t glorified art projects. Instead, they’re functional tools companies use to improve the user experience (and conversion process). Today’s designers create particular features specific to their client’s enterprise, improving the UX. Customers, for instance, might want an easy way to book an appointment or check out with goods. Only quality design can solve these problems robustly. Plugins will always feel tacked on.
What do professional web designers use?
Professional web designers tend to use robust tools that offer scope and customisability for their customers. Ideally, they want flexible platforms that will allow them to construct sites with the desired level of functionality.
Right now, WordPress is the most popular platform in the world, and one of the most comprehensive. It offers advantages such as being easy to manage and customise (thanks to themes and plugins). Furthermore, it is also a content management system or CMS. Thus, businesses can migrate from static HTML to easily-updated dynamic pages avoiding redirect issues or “page not found” errors.
WordPress also excels on the SEO front. The platform uses standard compliance high-quality code and something called “semantic markup.” Or, in layman’s terms, features that help Google can find your pages easily. Thus, search engine optimisation is part and parcel of WordPress out of the box. Then, when you add plugins, like Yoast and SEMrush, you can do even better in SERPs and quickly reduce your reliance on paid ads.
WordPress, of course, doesn’t have a monopoly on the website platform market. Other popular options used by web designers include Dreamweaver, Google Web Designer (for exciting HTML5 content), and Notepad++. Brackets is another popular choice, developed by Adobe Systems. Which you choose depends primarily on the needs of your enterprise.
What should I ask a web designer?
One of the benefits of hiring a professional web designer is that you’re able to ask them questions whenever you like. But which are the most productive?
Here are some questions that you might want to shoot in their direction:
- How can web designers help improve your current problems?
So, for example, you might have built your site on a DIY builder, but you’ve discovered that it doesn’t quite provide the functionality you need. A website designer can tell you whether you can implement the website processes and how difficult it will be.
- How can a web designer help you achieve your long and short term goals?
So, for instance, your short term goal might be to increase traffic to your site, and your long-term goal could be to host all your sales on your website eventually. Web designers can offer you a strategic roadmap, showing you what you can realistically achieve now, and what might be possible in the future.
- How can a web designer increase business performance?
Good web designers should be able to provide you with concrete examples of how they can increase the performance of your business overall. Try to find designers who understand both the technical aspects of what they’re doing (such as webpage loading speed) and the economic consequences (such as the effect it has on conversion rates).
Please note that questions should consider more than cost. While the price of web design is an essential consideration for some businesses, it is not the only factor that goes into making the right choice. Paying more money today often means spending less correcting problems in the future.
How much does it cost to have someone make you a website?
In general, building a website from scratch varies between £1,000 and £10,000. Still, it can cost more, depending on the feature set and complexity.
Ideally, you should adopt a solution-focused approach instead of a cost-centric one. Yes, the price of a website is an important consideration. But what you really need is a site that solves fundamental problems. Firms that achieve this often find themselves at a distinct market advantage compared to those that just pick a web designer because they seem cheap. In short, big money solves big problems.
Okay, but what does this actually mean in practice? Essentially, it means correcting problems that companies would make, were they left to their own devices.
On the design front, for instance, web designers can help companies avoid using the wrong kind of typeface or unbalanced colours. In terms of marketing, web designers can correct the misuse of pop-ups or missing metadata. And on the technical side of things, it can improve things like servers response time and lack of browser caching. The list goes on and on.
Importantly, when you spend big on web design and hire genuine professionals, you overcome all these problems. Invariably, this saves you money in the long-run.
Should I make a website for myself?
At some point, budding entrepreneurs will inevitably ask themselves whether they should build their own website. But, as with all things in life, there’s an opportunity cost.
You absolutely could develop your site from scratch, learning all the tricks of the trade. But think about how much of your time you’d spend doing it. You’d have to become a web designer in your own right to make a decent job of it. And that would take you away from the real areas in which you can add value – the things you’re actually good at.
Perhaps an example will help. Suppose your car broke down. In principle, you could go to mechanic school, learn how to fix it, kit out your home workshop with all the right tools, and carry out repairs. However, compared to handing over a small fee for someone else to do it, this would be a colossal waste of time.
The same applies to web design. You might be able to produce something decent, but you also need to consider the value of your time. Wouldn’t you be better if you dedicated it to your actual business instead of time-consuming side projects? Thus one of the benefits of web design services is that you take away the burden of doing it yourself.
Are web designers still needed?
So, why hire a web designer?
COVID-19 made it clear to many businesses that they needed to move their operations online. We’re now in the midst of a desperate scramble in which high street retailers are typing to set up online services to compete with ecommerce incumbents. Things are moving at a frenetic pace.
Many companies can see the writing on the wall. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t a random shock to the economy that will fade with time. Things aren’t going to snap back to normal. Instead, the very structure of private enterprise is going to change. Firms are moving their operations online, preparing themselves to survive for the long term. And traditional city centre offices and retail districts may never be the same again.
For smart companies, nailing their websites is now a priority. The user experience is paramount. Thus, one of the benefits of hiring a professional web designer is that you can actually design sites that meet the needs of your audience. You cannot afford to compromise. You must invest heavily to create websites that perform to the standards their users expect.
How do I hire a good web designer?
Finding a good web designer can feel like a monumental challenge for businesses that don’t have a good understanding of the field, but there are some shortcuts.
The first is to look at the past results of the web designer. Quality professionals will show you both their design portfolio and the results that they achieved. Remember, web design isn’t just the process of making a site look pretty. It’s also about creating an underlying structure that facilitates the business model. Pizza restaurants, for instance, need sites where customers can order menu items and pay online. Providing a telephone number in the header and getting customers to pay cash on the door isn’t exactly the height of user experience. Quality web designers know this, which is why they put so much emphasis on building the groundwork, not just uploading pretty pictures.
The second is to find out whether they understand business strategy. Remember, ultimately, you’re not interested in the aesthetics of your site. What you want is something that will convert. And that’s where things like SEO and sales funnels make such a significant contribution. Quality web designers emphasise these factors above all others.
Is it worth having a website?
The short answer is “yes” and for multiple reasons.
For instance, when you publish a new website, you immediately open your business up to the global marketplace. Anyone anywhere can potentially find you and order products and services.
Second, publishing a website allows you to create more leads and sales, especially if you can offer customers immediate value. A prospective customer, for instance, might be trying to find a solution to a particularly thorny problem they have, but don’t know what they need. Effective web design seeks to capture these people at the research stage and guide them through the sales process. Amazing sites are like old-fashioned software wizards that take people logically from initial interest to final sale while overcoming their pain points. Conversion doesn’t feel forced. It’s natural.
Thirdly, websites create systems that save you time. For instance, instead of collecting email addresses manually for your mailing list, you can automate it through your site. Similarly, you can automatically take payment or arrange consultation schedules. Plugins will do it all for you.
Finally, websites give you more ways to market your business. Creating valuable content, for example, allows you to solve customers’ problems upfront and introduce them to the benefits of your products and services.
What is a good website design?
We’ve already alluded to the answer to this question in our discussion above, but it is worth reiterating here. Good website design isn’t just creating something that looks the best aesthetically or has lots of moving parts. Instead, it is one that delivers results for your business (and, therefore, your users).
Part of the confusion here comes from the term “web design” itself. It conjures up purely artistic images of the web design process. But as we discussed earlier, it also involves multiple additional elements, each of which has to work correctly for the site to perform.
Good web design, therefore, includes the following:
- Scannable content that doesn’t embellish the business
- Clear and straightforward objectives for users (such as clicking calls to action)
- Excellent integration across social media and other sites
- Fast and responsive web design with no annoying interstitials
Ultimately, pro web design creates sites that serve as powerful tools for the businesses they represent online.
Why having a website important?
Having a website was always crucial for businesses. But since COVID-19 and the shift to digital commerce, it’s become even more essential.
Companies need to adopt an online-first mentality (just as many now have a mobile-first approach to SEO). Like desktop, they need to ditch the old paradigm and focus wholeheartedly on the new one – online experiences.
Having a website in today’s world is vital because of changes in consumer behaviour. According to Digital Commerce 360, millennials make 60 per cent of their purchases online, up from just 47 per cent in 2017.
Companies, therefore, need to up their game online by creating the most compelling websites possible. And, fortunately, website designers can help them do it.