Why you Shouldn’t try to Design your own Website
Do it yourself web design services are appearing more and more frequently all over the internet. They advertise how easy it is to just create your own website and you will be online in no time. It sounds easy and affordable and everyone is doing it, even famous people! So it must be a good idea. Or is it?
A lot of times in the photography world, for example, many people purchase very expensive equipment only to realize that it is the person behind the camera that takes the creative, unique and interesting pictures. It’s not the camera. Even in the professional competitive world out there such as motorcycle racing, there are the best of the best who compete against each other. That doesn’t mean you can just go out and buy a sports bike and race against the pros, right? Why is that? Because they do it for a living and they have to be the best at it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there in the first place. Some people can work on their cars and fix things pretty well. But there will always be mechanics out there who know their profession inside and out and they certainly know it better than you. They are getting paid for it. They need to be better than you, and they are. (Yes there are those bad stories out there, but in general, this holds true.)
If you are given a very expensive camera, if you are given a super fast sportbike, if you are given the tools to fix your car, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it. Marketing campaigns are very very good at making you think you can do what the pros do. You don’t need those services that they offer if you can just do it yourself with a few tools to help you along the way.
Clients that think long term understand how much of their success can be attributed to the quality and investment of their website image.
Did you know there is a reason why certain photos go well with certain fonts and colors on a website than others don’t? Have you ever looked at the color of the photos themselves and seen a correlation? Do you know why some website designers choose black and white photography and not colored ones? Do you know how many people don’t know there is an arrow in the FedEx logo?
Website builders are great for that get-it-done-quick design but you are not going to know why you are designing it a certain way. Let’s say you are looking at a template that has pictures of computers and office people so many will assume that’s a great design layout for an office or small business. But that is because you are looking at the pictures. Change the pictures to wedding photos and voila, you have a wedding site! Easy isn’t it? Well, not really.
Did you know main image sliders at the top of websites do nothing for the user experience or increase conversions? They look nice and add a nice attractive landing page to your main site, yet still, they do practically nothing. A-B testing will let you know if your landing page is doing well or if the other design performs a little (or a lot) better. Many online website builders are not going to tell you which is better for your business, hobby, activist site, fundraiser, non-profit etc. Leaving humans out of the equation will be an ongoing trend because it increases profits for the companies offering you their services but they are not as concerned with your site as they are their own. If they would, there would certainly be a lot more people involved in the making of your website. There has to be a human factor in there that can tell you what another human just like you is going to think, feel and wonder about when they land on your page for the first time, the second time and more. You don’t want a one time visitor.
A good web designer will always design a website for your visitors, never even for you who hired the designer because a visitor’s impression of your site is what is important for your success.
Every successful site has return visitors that come back on a frequent basis or the number of times needed to make a purchase, sign up or contact you or get visitors to do what the site owners are hoping for.
If you just have a personal hobby site and not looking to become the next Rockefeller, go to wordpress.com, set up a free account and you are good to go. That’s totally ok. There is nothing wrong with that. If it’s a little more than that, think about why you want to save the money every month that amounts to a couple trips to Starbucks. Why you want to save the money for a one-time fee of a professional website design that is going to be the starting point of your online idea, passion or message. Why a re-energized site re-design by a professional design firm is not worth the money since this time you found an even “better” template.
When you design yourself, you are thinking about yourself and how you will like the website. Not what your visitors think, how it will convert and if you should use kerning on certain headings. (What’s kerning, right?) Many non-professional web designers also tend to decorate a web page with effects such as movements like sliding effects, or flashing, scrolling text that melts away, folding images, small eye-candy like pop-ups etc. That is not web design. That’s simply called “decorating”. Leave that for the home, not your website design.
Your visitors are not your family members or loved-ones. They are harsh critics. They are impatient. They are a tough audience and have just visited several other sites maybe even very similar to yours. They are not too concerned about you but their own family members and loved-ones. If you built your website yourself, that’s nice and you might even be proud of yourself. But your visitors aren’t really going to care about that. But don’t worry. You are not alone because website design firms deal with proud owners all the time and they are some of the few who deal with it on a daily basis. It can never hurt to listen. You just might get some good advice and even better, a web design that was created by a human who knows what you are going through, can save you a ton of time and frustration, and perhaps even tell you why a lot of people don’t notice that arrow inside of the FedEx logo.