Website design is like a lot of things; anyone can do it but not everyone can do it well.

Technically you could design and make yourself a new suit but you probably wouldn’t dream of it because you know it would never look as good as one you’d bought… or had custom made if you’re very lucky! A Saville Row tailor has years of training and experience and knows exactly how to make a suit just for you, how to recommend the fabric and cut that makes you look the very best you can. A professional website designer will do the same job for you online. A top-notch web designer can portray you and your business in the very best light to maximise on sales and conversions.

So before you decide to make your own website consider my top three reasons why a professional website designer would be a better idea…

1. Cost

This may seem like an odd one to start with as, on the face of it, you probably think that designing your own website will save you money and indeed it is most people’s reason for doing so. But you’re wrong. If you’re an amateur with a hobby website, then go for it make your own site. If however you’re a business person with a professional image to portray and goods or services to sell, forget it. First impressions really do count on the web and if a user’s first impression of your site is ‘home-made’ then they’re not likely to take you seriously as a professional. Lack of trust leads to visitors making a quick exit from your site and loss of revenue for you.

A professional website designer will make sure that your visitors stick around long enough to read what you have to say and increase the likelihood of a sale.

2. Time

Despite your best intentions do you really have the time to be designing your own website? As a professional person you have a full-time job to do. Building websites takes time and is not something that should be done during your ‘down time’ after the kids have gone to bed. Delegate the task and find a professional website designer to do the job for you.

You can concentrate on doing your job and if you choose wisely the designer will more than make their fees back for you in sales and leads.

3. Skill

This is a crucial one. Do you really have the skills to design yourself a good enough website to represent your company? This will be the first time many people interact with your business and you need it to be a good experience for them. Website design is a very long and steep learning curve, it’s not a case of buying a few books or following a few tutorials and hey presto you can produce a top quality website that sells and converts – that takes years of practice.

There’s more to constructing a good website than just an attractive design and if you answer no to any of the below it’s time to call in a professional…

  • Do you know how to organise website architecture and navigational structure to make sense to your site visitors?
  • Can you structure a web page design to convert?
  • Do you understand the best practices for usability?
  • Can you programme to a sufficiently high standard to build your site to comply with W3C accessibility guidelines?
  • Do you have the necessary writing skills to get your sales offer across succinctly in a manner that makes people want to buy?
  • Are your photography skills up to scratch to present your and your products in a fashion that will shout professional and not scream amateur?
  • Do you understand how search engines work and how to get your website to rank well?

The last word on hiring a professional website designer…

Unfortunately it is no longer good enough to build your website using tables – the way we had to build sites in the beginning. Although this is the method most favoured by the amateur web builder because it’s easy to learn, using tables is no longer considered best practice for accessibility, usability and search engine optimisation.

Professional website designers use standards compliant html with cascading style sheets (CSS) and most will in fact work alongside a programmer to do this. Learning CSS is difficult and making a website ‘behave’ across all the different browsers and computer platforms is a discipline in itself. This is something most definitely best left to the professionals because a website that doesn’t do what it should will drive customers away in their droves.

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