Over the years I've heard countless excuses from people who are bound and determined to build their own websites. Usually it comes down to money, but the roundabout ways folks build their justification are just fantastic.
I'm a big fan of analogies. I've used a few along the way to try and help companies understand that a professional web designer is A) a real job, B) a real job that should be paid real money and C) usually a starving individual, because nobody believes A and B.
Here are 2 of my favorites:
Owning a copy of Photoshop doesn't make you a designer any more than owning a spatula makes you a chef.
If you owned a van, a ladder, and a bucket of paint, would you pull over to the side of the road and paint a billboard yourself? Why does having a laptop and internet access suddenly make you a professional at web design?
Whether or not these get the message across, I can tell you this: They initiate a response. And the people that do let these comments sink in are the clients we want. Because we know we can help them.
We receive a lot of SOS calls from companies who've ignored such analogies in the past, thinking they can go the cheap route and do it themselves. Or worse, they let a "friend" do it for them. Friends disappear. Bargain site "designers" don't answer calls. And if you're boldly doing it yourself, you end up spending more time and more money than you ever expected, only to end up with subpar results that frustrate you and fail to deliver new clients.
You wouldn't paint your own billboard. You wouldn't even paint your own house. You'd hire a professional because you know he's going to do a better job than you could. You pay him money, he provides excellent service. Everyone wins.
Quality web designers should be seen in the same light. We have the experience and the talent to properly create a site that includes all the bells and whistles you need, but none of the ones you don't. A site that is built and written with your target audience (and your ideal client) in mind. A site that is developed around SEO best practices and clean coding so it runs smoothly as it runs up the search engine results. And of course, a site that projects your passion about your business in an effective, professional way.
So how does your website stack up? We've come up with a simple web design checklist to help you determine whether or not you could use a bit of help. It's fairly straightforward, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek, but hopefully it can assist you in answering some basic questions regarding your site, and the possible need for professional help.
Once you determine you do need professional help (with your website - we're not licensed to assist in other areas where you may need assistance), you may ask yourself, "Where can I find a web designer?" In our next blog post, we help you determine where to look, and how not to get stuck with "The Vanishing Designer."