A couple weeks ago I received a phone call from a business owner in Dothan, Alabama who was very distraught over the results of her website design. She had asked a lady who said she knew how to design to develop the site and paid her $300. After a long time she finally saw the results and was horrified. Pictures were overlapped on top of words, there was no lay-out cohesion and the copy was written so poorly that it was difficult to even tell the true nature of the business. In addition, when the business owner expressed her concern to the designer, she became very upset. Consequently, the business owner lost $300, lost the domain name because the designer refused to give her the passwords, lost a lot of time and until the site is replaced may lose customers due to the unprofessional look. In order to give the public an excellent portrayal of the business, the much wiser owner will now have to pay all over again for a professional designer.
Of course, Wiregrass Advertising gets many of these phone calls. Some days it seems like everyone with a computer is a designer! We agree, website design seems easy. It is a simple matter to sign up for a free web package, design your site and just as quickly you are "on the web!"
Just like almost everything, quality costs more. Any automotive dealer can tell you that you can purchase a Ford Pinto for very little money, but you cannot expect it to ride like a BMW or Jaguar. And it's the same with website design. We cannot expect the same results from free or low-cost sites as professionally designed sites.
So why do people think they can design a website themselves or have a friend, relative or office employee do it for them for free or little cost and expect the same results as a professional designer?
The answer: most people do not understand websites. Yes, we look at them every day, but what makes them work? Why are some at the top of the search engine list and others are not? Why do some have high conversion rates and others none?
Let's compare a professionally designed website to a non-professionally designed site.
1. Search Engine Optimization
I challenge you to go to your favorite search engine and do a search- any search, and see how many of the sites on the first page are not professionally developed. In most instances- none. That's because professionally designed sites are designed by experts skilled in Search Engine Optimization techniques to include content, key words, back-end coding and more. Search engine algorithms change frequently. A professional designer constantly researches to stay aware of changes and builds sites to adapt.
A word of caution concerning "free" sites. These sites may eventually winding up to be very costly. Free sites typically do not place well in search engine rankings. Also the address to get to your site (i.e. www.homestead.com/mysite.htm) is difficult for customers to remember and tells the world "I'm too cheap to pay for my own website, but please conduct business with me." Not exactly a very good portrayal of most businesses I know.
2. Professional Layout
The other day, while training a new employee, we drove past a couple of businesses who had contracted with Wiregrass Advertising to develop their websites. The employee only knew of these businesses through their sites. In both cases she exclaimed, "I thought they were bigger than that!" A professional designer knows how to level the playing field between large companies and small by making small companies appear much larger than they seem without misconstruing or falsifying anything. Much of this look has to do with layout.
In addition, certain colors, designs and graphics will not sell to specific consumers. A professional designer not only knows what to stay away from, but also what to lean heavily towards to maximize conversion rates.
3. Search Engine Placement
Most people can figure out how to submit a website to a few search engines. A professional designer cares about your success, therefore he or she will go above and beyond in all aspects of design. Wiregrass Advertising in Enterprise, Alabama submits sites we design to up to 200,000 search engines and can even target specific countries.
4. Faster Page Loads
Ever wonder why some websites have a lot of pictures but load quickly while others with only one or two pictures leave you waiting? A professional designer knows he only has a few seconds for a page to load and builds the page with optimized graphics that enable quick load times which decreases the number of "click-aways" and increases the conversion rate.
5. Money and Time
In over 8 years of designing websites, Wiregrass Advertising has seen many businesses hurt by cheaper web design. What amazes us is that in most instances it only takes a few conversions to pay for a professionally designed site, yet more business is lost without one! To illustrate this point, about a month ago a company in Enterprise, Alabama called Wiregrass Advertising requesting rates. She stated that she had been asked to develop a site for her company and felt she could do it, but thought a professional might be able to do a better job, as well as save her many hours of work. When she received the quote she felt it was too high. Yet, with the product her company was selling, one sale from the site would have netted as much as four times the cost of the website while, due to the nature of her business, a poorly designed site will drive customers away. Another company in Dothan, Alabama put off their website for over a year. Finally they decided to commission the design and in less than one year made over $12,000 in PROFIT directly from the website! The owner now wishes he had not put off the decision!
These are just a few of the differences between friend/relative/employee built websites and those professionally designed. A final word of caution. Just because someone wishes to charge you an arm and a leg for a website does not make them a professional! Wiregrass Advertising has heard of designers charging as much as twice our going rates who have designed less than 10 websites in their lives! Before contracting with any design firm, review their portfolio and grill them on the aspects of design we have mentioned here.
Wiregrass Advertising in Enterprise, Alabama's goal is to help you succeed in business. We will do everything we can to achieve that goal!