Do-It-Yourself Web Design
Not hiring a professional could be hurting
The other day at our neighbourhood coffeeshop,
I heard one man saying to another: “Right
now, I’m just starting out,
I can’t afford to hire a professional
web designer. So, my nephew is going to do it instead. He’s
just learning. I’ll throw
him a couple of hundred bucks, and he’ll
I tapped this man on the shoulder and asked if I
could buy him a coffee. Here’s what I told him.
People can spot a do-it-yourself website a mile away
With their garish colours, blinking text, broken links, big clunky
buttons, needless horizontal scrolling, dead-ends, and bloated images
... a do-it-yourself website can be spotted a mile away. No offense,
I’m sure your nephew tried his best, but unknowingly, he’s probably
chasing away your customers.
There’s more to putting up a website than designing
a couple of pages and making a few links.Yes, it’s true, anyone
can do that. But a good website takes hours of planning, discussion,
and research. And that’s before the design and the writing of the
In fact, we often spend an entire day working on
just one page, getting every single detail right, thinking about
the impact of every single word on search engine placement. Picking
and repicking colours, agonizing over alignment, trying this font
and that one.
You just don’t get that kind of detail or care from
someone who is just learning web design. And visitors to your site
are going to notice that lack of care. What does that say about
If you build it, they probably won’t come
We’ve heard too many stories, which go like this: Two guys from
Elk’s Butt, Idaho, sold their 18-month-old online venture, which
they operated from their basement, for $10 million.
That’s how it happened for a few companies like
Tucows, Yahoo!, eBay, and Google, but carving out your piece of
the cyber pie is hard work. Gone are the days when you sit back
with your feet up on your desk and watch the money roll in. You’ve
got to work.
And you’ve got to be cautious because the Internet
is the new South. It’s full of carpetbaggers and scalawags, waiting
to get a hold of your money – free e-mail, thousands of e-mail
address, top 10 search engine rankings, submission to thousands
of sites; quick, easy, sure-thing, never-before, untapped potential
... it’s all out there waiting.
How are you going to make sense of it all?
To be successful online, you’re going to need a
professional web designer with you for the long haul – someone
who can and will take care with your website, but who will help
you figure out how to get traffic to it.
Professional web design is not “simple
After the “if-we-build-it”
fairy tale, comes the “simple
and easy” myth. Designing
a website is not simple and easy. It’s
hard and frustrating.
Consider that programs like Dreamweaver, Flash,
Photoshop, and Illustrator release new and improved versions about
every 12–18 months. So as a do-it-yourself designer, you’re
going to be constantly learning and tweaking, and spending money
Consider that the Internet changes on a dime. Remember
the big Flash splash page? Everyone had them. Where’d
they go? Most dumped them after too many of their customers said,
“Enough already, just let
And wasn’t Flash just the coolest thing? Wasn’t
it going to change everything? Haven’t we heard that about everything
barrelling down the Superhighway?
A professional web designer is not going to get sucked in
The blink tag, pop-ups, pop-unders, rollovers, mouseovers, dropdown
windows, flyout menus, trailing cursors ... as a do-it-yourself
web designer, you could fall into anyone of these sinkholes. You
might only lose a few customers if you get back on track quickly,
but if you're too busy to pay attention, you could lose your shirt.
We've learned that people really just want to get
into a website, get what they came for, and leave.
Unless they're visiting the Star Wars site, they
don't want to be entertained, they don't want to wait for things
to download, and they're not interested in anything “cool.”
A professional web designer has seen and heard it
all before. They aren’t going to be sucked in by some shiny, new
piece of technology – like a raccoon mermerized by a tin can
lid, shimmering in the river bed.
A professional web designer will keep you –
and every one else associated with your website – on track.
Isn’t your business too important?
Don’t you have more important things to do than design your own
site? Do you have the know-how to oversee your nephew and make sure
your web design is cross-browser compatible?
Do you want customers to take you seriously?
I don’t know a thing about fixing cars and I would
never dream of getting under the hood of mine. That would be hazardous
to my health, not to mention yours.
Something as important as your website, something
that’s going to be seen by possibly millions of people, something
that could have a huge impact on your bottom line, something this
important shouldn’t be treated so casually.
Now, put down the “simple
and easy” software, pick up
the phone, and let’s get started building
you a really good and professional website. Not convinced? Check
out what clients are saying about