We’ve said it before: you must have a website to compete in today’s business market. Whether you’re an event planner, an event rentals company, a DJ, or a florist, if you don’t have a website, people simply won’t trust that you’re a legitimate company. But if you think that you need to hire a web designer to create your website because you don’t think you’re tech savvy enough to do it on your own, you’re wrong. There are a number of excellent website platforms available today that are super user friendly and professional looking. For a small fee, you can save a ton of money and do it all yourself!
That being said, these platforms aren’t for everyone. While modern website building platforms are super customizable and will be more than enough for most users, there are still situations where you may want to call in a professional web designer or developer. So, how do you know when it’s time to outsource your website?
You should hire a professional website designer when...
You want a complex UX
If you have a very specific user experience (UX) in mind and the website platforms cannot achieve the results you want, it’s time to find someone to create a custom site for you. While we generally think that simpler is better for websites, the addition of expertly created features can be quite impressive.
Let’s say, for example, you’d like to recreate an in-house process you do with your clients, but online. Normally, you’d pull out swatches, examples, and images to get an idea of what your client is wanting for their event. Often, this also helps your client to clarify what they want as well, and has proven to be a very effective tool. But...you have no web design experience, and you are completely lost as to how to even begin to create this experience for your clients on one of the website platforms. This would be the perfect time to work with a web designer to achieve your goals.
Custom web design is also important if you want a highly interactive mobile site. Website platforms often include some great mobile-friendly designs, but nothing will beat a custom mobile site built by an expert.
You need help with technical SEO
You may have SEO covered when it comes to content and formatting, but what about the more technical side of SEO? When it comes to making your page speed as fast as possible, making sure your sitemaps are crawlable and in the correct format, and your site is secure as possible, you may want to consider outsourcing a developer. While some website platform templates are designed with technical SEO in mind, they still aren’t customized for your site, specifically. If you need help making your site faster or more optimized, it’s time to call in a pro.
You want to learn to code, but need a website now
Pro Tip: It will be very beneficial for you to find someone who is a tidy coder if you are planning to learn from your own site. I personally know a few fantastic web designers whose code is less than tidy; if you’re just starting out, you’ll want to avoid messy code until you gain more experience.
It’s important to note that there are some trade-offs if you choose to hire someone to build your site. While these aren’t deal breakers for everyone, they are important factors to know going in.
You will lose some independence
A huge perk of using a platform is that you can make changes at any time. With a web designer, you’ll have to get in touch with them, explain the changes you’d like, and then wait for them to do it— and pay them for their time, of course.
On the other hand, any issues that arise from making changes (it does happen sometimes!) will happen on their watch, so they’ll be able to fix it right away.
Updates and changes may cost you
Unless your web designer has set things up so that you can make some updates on your own, you’ll have to pay them for any updates and changes you make. Some designers will charge you for a full hour for an update that takes 10 minutes as per their policies, so make sure you read and understand all your designer’s policies and terms.
Every web designer does things differently
If you need to change web designers for some reason, there’s a chance your new designer may need to rework your current website. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including a new HTML standard being released, your previous designer using outdated code (which can make your site vulnerable to attack), your previous designer using very sloppy code, or your new designer knowing of a better way of achieving the results you want. If you find yourself in this situation, ask your new potential web designer to show you what they’re wanting to change and why.
Some web designers set “traps” for clients
We’ve seen it happen many times; web designers and developers make proprietary software that, while it may work well and look nice, can only be accessed and edited by them. This creates a hostage in which you will have to pay them a premium fee any time you want any changes made or to access the back end of your site— including correcting mistakes in your text. No doubt that they’ll charge a lot for it, too. You’ll want to avoid these designers at all costs.
Our advice is to only work with designers and developers that will encourage you to make minor changes on your own and maintain control of your website. Any respectable designer will be happy to show you how to make minor edits and changes to their design (especially the text portions), as they don’t want to spend their time editing text and correcting typos.
Just to be clear, we love web designers and developers— we have several on our team! But we’ve also seen the aftermath of a negative experience, which often leaves a big mess that business owners have to spend more time and money to fix. We simply encourage caution and to be smart. If something feels off, it probably is!
Your goals for your website will ultimately determine whether or not you should hire a pro or use a website platform. While you can create stunning sites on a platform, they do have limits. With an skilled website designer, you can have custom everything, plus an expertly crafted design that is sure to appeal to your target audience.