So, you need a website. Whether it’s for your personal brand, creative portfolio, blog, or company, you want something that will excite your readers and convince them to read your work, hire you, or buy your products. With the widespread availability of website builders such as Wix and Weebly, you might figure you can do it yourself for cheap! After all, how hard can it be?
Then you discover that you don’t know how to create an order form. You keep getting notices that your website in “not secure.” You can’t get your social media feeds to show up on the page. You’re confused by terms such as “SSL,” “accessibility,” and “500 internal server error.” You begin to wonder: Should I hire a professional?
In a nutshell: Yes. There are now so many options to obtain professional help that there’s no reason to go it alone. Plus, a professional web creator can help you think of things you didn’t know you needed, give your website a polished look, and help ensure that it’s safe from hackers.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Wix or Weebly
The chief problem with the “drag and drop” website builders such as Wix and Weebly is that despite their initial ease of use, they quickly become unwieldy. It can be difficult to modify or customize your designs, plus the program introduces a lot of junk code that can harm your site’s accessibility and SEO (more on those in a moment).
These builders also prey upon customers by charging you fees for everyone from removing ads to adding forms to having your custom domain. By purchasing a domain and hosting from the same provider and installing a free software such as WordPress, you can significantly reduce your costs. The monthly costs of a Wix or Weebly site can reach nearly $40/month, which amounts to nearly $500 per year!
By contrast, a hosting and domain provider such as GoDaddy can charge as little as $6 per month, plus initial costs of purchasing the domain (usually about $10-15) and of hiring the developer. Investing in a professional website to begin with usually ends up costing less and earning you more in the long run.
What a Professional Web Creator Does
There are several key roles in website building:
– The web designer creates the look and feel of the website: the colors, graphic elements, menus, photos, etc.
– The web developer codes the site to give it its overall structure and functionality.
– The web content writer provides you with copy that you can use on the site’s pages, buttons, menus, and anywhere else text appears.
There are other roles as well, but these are the chief positions you should know. When you hire a web agency, you’ll have access to several people who work in tandem to bring your site to life. Hiring an agency is usually expensive, but they are experts who can provide you with both guidance and high-quality products. If you’re hiring separately, such as through a freelancing service, you’ll likely need to book each role separately. Some designers are also developers and vice versa, but it can still be helpful to have different people working on different aspects of the site. The chal- lenge in hiring separately is that it can be hard to reconcile the differences among work styles, aesthetic, and so on. An agency, on the other hand, will manage the project for you. That said, if you feel confident in your ability to communicate your needs to separate freelancers and keep them on track, this approach can save you money.
What a Professional Web Creator Can Do For You
When you attempt to build a site yourself, it can be hard to see its flaws. Even professional web creators can have a blind spot when making their own sites, which is why many of them hire fellow professionals! For example, you might think that your color scheme looks good, but have you checked that each heading is in the fact the same color? Or did you accidentally make the headings on one page a lighter blue? These mistakes are easy to make with a builder such as Wix or Weebly, but something that a professional can easily spot.
A polished site looks more professional and makes a better user experience. Web professionals can also help you optimize your site for search engines. The science of search engine optimization (SEO) is constantly changing, so it’s worth it to have an industry professional guide your SEO strategy and use current best practices on your website. For example, SEO is supported by accessibility: the ability for your site to be read and navigated by people with disabilities. If you don’t know how to achieve this, it’s best to call in an expert.
A web professional, whether hired through an agency, a creative services company, or on an individual basis, is a worthy investment. They can provide you with a website that’s up to speed and ready to make you money. A professional look and feel will impress your audience and be easier to maintain and update. Plus, hiring a professional saves you the trouble of struggling to build a site! And isn’t that worth the cost?