You want a website to work 24/7/365 and attract current and potential clients as a business owner when you have a website. A well-designed website using all the best practices will do that for you. There are two different ways you can get this done:
1. DIY using a Website Builder
2. Hire a professional web designer
We should probably mention that number 1. can be achieved by learning code, which will take some time, but it is an option. Building a website from the ground up is time-consuming, and hiring a web designer can be expensive. That expense grabs the attention of many business owners with their low to no cost website builder services. Commercials, podcasts, and every type of digital advertising will convince you that “You too can build a beautiful website that is fully functional in just a few hours, even without any experience!”
Sounds impressive. Almost too good to be true? Perhaps. There are pros and cons, either way, one is money-consuming, and the other is time-consuming. What is essential is to choose the one that is best for your goals and needs.
What is the Difference between a Website Builder vs. a Website Designer?
- Your Priority
First, you need to make sure you have an understanding of the two. Unless you’re going to take classes or learn code, you’ll need one of these. While a web builder may be convenient, there are several reasons why making that investment and hiring a professional web designer is the better option. The first reason can be decided with a simple question: Are you running a business or designing a website? Because both are energy and time-consuming. Let’s look at the other pros and cons:
- Speed or Results
Okay, maybe you can get your website designed and on the air faster than you’ll have a budget for a professional. That may be a good thing for the short term, but don’t expect results to happen overnight. There is more than creating the content and uploading pictures. Even the most beautiful, easy-to-read, and navigate website isn’t going to generate a following right away. This is where experience overpowers DIY: SEO. The experienced will know and understand the elements needed to generate an audience:
- Monitor and fix user issues
- Monitor and fix mobile experience
- Create a strategy for lead generation
- Keyword research and targeting
- Optimization of image, meta description, and title
- Local representation
- Integrate Google Analytics and Tag Manager
- Sitemap creation
- Website submission to search engines
Still Not Convinced Hiring a Professional Is Best?
When you hire a professional web designer, you should expect, and receive, a quality website higher than it would be doing it yourself. A website designer is only as great as taking the time to learn and understand their client’s business. Not the industry or niche, but what makes the client’s company better than the others in this industry or niche. The website they build for you should be about your company and what you bring to the industry.
This should go above and beyond what a predesigned and predetermined blank box allows. Image software isn’t as easy to work with as it may seem; it can be time-consuming to get the images just right. Sometimes, it is the design of a website and the images that will help your business get the attention of potential customers. Your website should have a professional scale with a unique touch that stands out from your competitors.
- Local Search Engine Optimization
A free web builder package may be convenient and fast, but uniqueness is not their game, especially for a specific fit in a particular market. They also don’t have any one-on-one lead generation opportunities or other strategies, like SEO, that are known to pull in the traffic.
Many people in this industry would like to say Google is not the deciding factor in a business. Experienced website designers will tell you that nobody else will be either if Google isn’t aware that your business exists. A small business won’t have the name recognition to look up “Joe’s Air & Heating” specifically. You have to hope they find you under “air & heating” searches.
That, however, is not going to generate any new business online. When building a website, consideration has to go into how people will find you by location. This is done by search engines that use the address for geo points, and with more people doing these searches by mobile, search engines can get people to spots within minutes of where they are currently. Without proper SEO and the company name, address, and phone numbers being easy to find, potential clients may never see you online.
With the services of a professional web designer, they know how to maximize the SEO for your website so that no matter how somebody enters “Joe’s Air & Heating,” they will get the Joe’s they wanted. Yes, your local listings should be updated along with citations, but nothing will work as well as good on-site SEO.
How Do You Hire a Web Designer?
For a professional-looking website that can be found easily online and generate business from the day the website goes live, talk with several professional web designers. You can find them with a Google search for a web designer in [your city, state]. If you can’t find them, then you don’t want them doing your website!
There is a one-time fee with most web designers for custom designing and building your website. Yes, that fee is not cheap, as little as $2,000.00 and upward of $10,000.00 or more. Your company’s specific business needs will be a massive factor in this fee. Go with a large agency, and you’ll pay more than you will with a local boutique agency. In addition to this fee, you’ll need to pay for ongoing SEO, so they keep your website front and center, or instead in the top 20 Google searches. And you’ll need to buy your domain name and web hosting. If you’re not sure where to get these, the web designer can give you suggestions; some may even offer the service, for a fee, of course.
So shop around, like you would anything else, every company will have different options to offer and suggestions to make for your business. Remember that whichever direction you choose, the result is to get more customers to find you online.