A common question from small and medium sized businesses is why they should spend a few hundred pounds on a professionally built website when a cheap software product or website claims it can help you create a whole website that could be just as good as any professionally designed and built website, for, perhaps, £30?

On the surface, it might seem like an amazing deal, especially for those who are confident in their technical and/or design ability. Admittedly, for some businesses it will work out just fine. But, there are some very compelling reasons why you might want to seek help from a professional web designer/developer, and avoid looking like the man in that picture over there.

Could I do YOUR job without proper experience?

Probably not, and the same goes for you doing mine.

In the right hands, that £30 product can probably be stretched to it’s limit and produce something reasonable, however, in the hands of most, it will provide you with a website that looks like a website advertising someone’s hobby built by an amateur.

To put it in reverse – If I wanted something doing, would I try to do it myself, or should I hire you to do the job properly that you know so well? Will I know everything I need to know in order to do a professional job, or will things looks OK to begin with but eventually fall apart due to poor knowledge and inexperience?

If I picked up a tool of your trade, and tried to use it, I’d follow the instructions, but you could guarantee something would go wrong. Whereas you could probably pick a cheap tool and use your knowledge and experience to get reasonable results, though you’d know you would have been better off with a better tool to begin with.

This is EXACTLY what doing a DIY website is like for those who aren’t professionals. It may look like you’ve done a good job, but under the hood it’s a different story.

“But this product says it will be easy for me!”

What could possible go wrong?

Here’s just a few things that you may have problems with at some point down the line:

  1. Your site is a reflection on you as a business. If your site looks like it was built by yourself, rather than a professional, then your company looks unprofessional as well.
  2. You’ve been using a WYSIWIG (what you see is what you get) product to design and build your site, and now you’ve started noticing headings, images or margins jumping about from page to page. What’s happening is that underneath it all, the code this generator is writing to make your fonts larger or a different colour is beginning to get complicated and going round in circles. The end result is pages that don’t quite look the same, and probably take longer to load, and of course, it just looks unprofessional. See point 1.
  3. In connection with that – These editors rarely allow you to optimise your pages for search engines, meaning you could miss out on a few places and fall below your main rivals – Perhaps 1 place too low that drops you onto a page that most users will never bother reading as they’ve already found your rival’s website.
  4. Throw in other considerations like Accessibility, designing for users of Macs, even designing for users of other browsers than the one you usually use. What about designing in a way that could allow your site to be viewed on a mobile phone or BlackBerry device? Could your business benefit from that?
  5. There’s so much more to websites than static pages. What about using a database that allow you to update your page content really easily, or display availability of your product or services?
  6. What about contact forms that allow users to submit bookings or questions to you directly?

And this is just the start – this is the tip of the iceberg on what professional web designers and developers do on a regular basis. We know the tricks of the trade that a product could never begin to provide you.

Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you should

The old adage is true – you get what you pay for

A cheap product will get you a cheaply built website, that might look pretty but won’t actually serve your business. A professionally built one will.

In the long run, the website is far more effective, both in cost and in terms of visitors if you spend more money up front and hire a professional.

Buying a £30 product now will inevitably leave you feeling like it was a waste of time, money and effort for the return on investment it gives you, and you’ll either find yourself having to spend more money on top when you eventually come round to the idea of hiring a professional, or in a worst case scenario, missed business sales and booking leads could have very bad consequences, especially during this economic climate.

Don’t let it happen to you.

So did you have anyone in mind?

As it happens…

I could well be the perfect match for your website requirements. Find out more about what I could do for you, particularly website design services.