With plenty of website builder services to choose from, it's easier now than ever before to effectively set up your own website. But is that the best move?
It's often a matter of money. Why pay someone else when the GoDaddy(s) of the world allow you to build your own website for super cheap (with domains, hosting, support, etc.)?
It wouldn't be a good use of our time to get into downgraded hosting times using a shared server; let's not discuss problems, let's find solutions. To start, here are a few reasons you should consider hiring a Web design company instead of using a do-it-yourself website builder.
Your website is the face of your company. Instead of traditional storefronts, many consumers like to experience the compact ones on our computers or mobile devices. Your website is your salesperson-someone to personally greet your customers as they walk through your virtual door.
What this salesperson is wearing, HOW they speak about your company, and WHAT they say are completely up to you. This idea is often lost when businesses are trying to set up their own website. They become more concerned with putting every service/product they offer on the homepage of a site.
The purpose of your site shouldn't be to add anything. There's a certain amount of professionalism that needs to be maintained with your brand and aligned with the goals of your site.
Ease of Use
How your site works is just as important as its content. Misleading, or dead links, can lead to a disappointing user experience (UX) directly reflecting on the quality of the services you provide. The two may be unrelated to you, but to a customer they're one in the same.
There are a number of UIs that need to be accounted for when building a site, but there's also YOUR experience. You're stuck using a generalized system that has been created to perform a number of tasks for all different kinds of people in all different lines of business. This can complicate the process of updating your site, and once that becomes a hassle for you, it's pretty easy to fall off the grid and stop maintaining your site altogether.
In its most basic description, a responsive website allows your content to adjust its layout based on your user's viewing platform-whether it's a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
When not properly configured, it can render your site unusable on some devices - hiding navigation items behind links, images running off the screen and more.
Expertise and Direction
The Internet can be a shameful place full of people trying to get you to fall for their cheap trick. When you open up yourself to the world of working on the Web, you tend to get more than you signed up for. Fake domain renewals, information about security protocols, and problems with hosting can leave you scratching your head while spending hours online trying to track down, "whatever this is!" You may also be tempted to invest money where its least beneficial to you. Google AdWords sounds like a great idea to drive more traffic to your site, but with poor organic search rankings, you could be spending twice as much.
There are people who like to do everything themselves, and people who realize the value of having the right people in place. A business owner shouldn't be wasting resources on trying to learn HTML, image galleries or how to set up a website. Their focus should be on growing the business.
We know that time is money, and it comes down to this question, "How much is your time worth?" If your time is truly best spent learning how to code a website so you can save some cash, your website visitors are going to have to enjoy your first attempt at a website build-like a crayon drawing hanging up on the side of a fridge.
Nothing like sitting on hold for an hour with a major tech company like, Network Solutions, trying to find out why things on your site are not lining up correctly. Or digging through hundreds of support forums on Google trying to find that one person who's having the same issue you are.
Most Web companies will assign your account a project manager. Someone whose job it is to keep you happy, help solve problems and know exactly what you're talking about because they've already worked with your site. They know you, you know them and maybe you even get a nice little Christmas card.
Find a Web team you can work closely with and get to know. In this digital age, it's a struggle for Web companies to keep up with the latest and greatest offerings. You can't be expected to-YOU have a business to run!
The good news, smaller Web design companies exist. It's not the world of $50,000-plus websites out there anymore. You can find a smaller, reasonably priced company, to build a relationship with for years to come. Teams that can serve as your media advisors who understand your needs, and can guide you in the right direction.
I suggest a service like Sortfolio.com for locating Web design companies within your price range. I'd say, "within your area" as well, but with services like Google Hangout, Skype and more - it's just as easy to video chat and screen share, as it is to collaborate in person. Find a team you're comfortable working with instead of basing it singularly on price. You're interviewing them. Find a Web company that best suits your needs, and take advantage of the online marketing world that has opened up for your business.
Joe Martin is the owner of Telegraphics Inc., a Web design company located in the suburbs of Chicago. With more than 12 years of experience in the world of websites and design, Martin was successful in creating projects for McDonald's, IBM, DeVry and more.