If you run a small business these days, a strong internet presence is essential, which means … you’re going to need a website. The process is certainly daunting if you don’t know much about website design and the first question you need to ask yourself is do you go the DIY route or do you hire a professional web designer.
Your website will be the first thing a potential customer sees when considering purchasing your goods or services on the web. It needs to look professional and make a great first impression; after all, it directly represents you and your company’s attention to detail. While it’s okay to go with sites like WordPress and do it yourself … there are a few important mistakes that can be made.
In today’s post, I’d like to examine a few key things about website design many DIYers miss. Some of these elements, which may seem small at first, will impact your site and ultimately the growth of your small business in a big way, so let’s gets started shall we?
Designing a scalable site is important because it allows your web site to grow. As your traffic increases so will the demands for new features, tools, and functionality. This is often over looked by users designing their own sites because their main goal is to get the site up and running. It’s sort of like expecting a toddler to fit into the same shoe for the rest of its life … it’s not going to happen. Web designers know how to build websites with scalability in mind and can help maximize your site’s ability to grow in form and function for life of your business. They can do this in such a way that it will be easier for you to maintain it yourself, with little to no downtime.
Just as important as scalability is having clean code. Many DIY site builders simply don’t write good, clean code. Clean code will be free of errors and clutter. It will be standards-compliant as well as using tags and structures of each coding language for their intended purposes. This practice helps to prevent error messages for your visitors as well as an increase in page load time. All of these things increase the likelihood of visitors to your site becoming users. Working with a web designer eliminates the chance of having dirty code as the backbone of your site.
Professional web designers follow web standards. Web standards are a way for coders and designers across the world to ensure they’re all using the same or similar language to build sites. There are four coding languages accepted as standard: HTML, XML, CSS, and Java Script. By using these languages, web developers ensure a more stable web, decrease development and maintenance time on your site as well as form a common knowledge base for all website developers. Using web standards also makes each page built genuinely cross-browser and cross-platform accepted. This means that whichever browser your visitors use, be it Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, or any other browser, your page will locatable and viewable.
Maximizing Your Site’s SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization which is what determines the visibility of your website in a search engine’s un-paid search results. Basically, when you Google a word or term, the search engine searches for sites with those specific keywords and returns the results in ranking order. Since studies have shown that web users are less likely to visit sites beyond the first two pages of results to their query, it’s in your business’ best interest to get on those first few pages. A professional web developer can help you maximize your SEO potential. Admittedly, DIY sites such as WordPress have plugins to help you with SEO; however, they can be difficult to understand. A web designer can help you move through all of the technical jargon and help you optimize for search engines more effectively.
The main job of a professional web designer is to provide direction to their clients. A client will explain what they want and a web designer makes it happen, but their job doesn’t end there. A web designer can sort of take a peek into the future and let you know what your website might need to accommodate future growth. They can tell you what sort of site you’ll want built based on your needs along with what sort of graphics and how to draft your content. You don’t get this kind of valuable advice with a DYI website builder. Web designers are there to answer questions about things like plugins and add ons as well as how to increase site traffic and the like.
Sometimes your budget can’t support the fees commanded by a professional web designer, especially when you’re just starting your business; in these instances, a DIY website builder is a perfectly viable and cost effective alternative for a professional looking site.
As you can see, hiring a professional web designer has its advantages for both the look and the function of your site. It pays to spend some money upfront to save you headaches down the road.