Do-It-Yourself Web Design
Not hiring a professional could be hurting your business.

The other day at our neighbourhood coffeeshop, I heard one man saying to another: Right now, Im just starting out, I cant afford to hire a professional web designer. So, my nephew is going to do it instead. Hes just learning. Ill throw him a couple of hundred bucks, and hell be happy.

I tapped this man on the shoulder and asked if I could buy him a coffee. Heres 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, Im sure your nephew tried his best, but unknowingly, hes probably chasing away your customers.

Theres more to putting up a website than designing a couple of pages and making a few links.Yes, its true, anyone can do that. But a good website takes hours of planning, discussion, and research. And thats before the design and the writing of the content.

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 dont 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 your business?

If you build it, they probably wont come

Weve heard too many stories, which go like this: Two guys from Elks Butt, Idaho, sold their 18-month-old online venture, which they operated from their basement, for $10 million.

Thats 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. Youve got to work.

And youve got to be cautious because the Internet is the new South. Its 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 ... its all out there waiting.

How are you going to make sense of it all?

To be successful online, youre 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 and easy

After the if-we-build-it fairy tale, comes the simple and easy myth. Designing a website is not simple and easy. Its 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, youre going to be constantly learning and tweaking, and spending money upgrading software.

Consider that the Internet changes on a dime. Remember the big Flash splash page? Everyone had them. Whered they go? Most dumped them after too many of their customers said, Enough already, just let us in.

And wasnt Flash just the coolest thing? Wasnt it going to change everything? Havent 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 arent 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.

Isnt your business too important?

Dont 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 dont 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 thats going to be seen by possibly millions of people, something that could have a huge impact on your bottom line, something this important shouldnt be treated so casually.

Now, put down the simple and easy software, pick up the phone, and lets get started building you a really good and professional website. Not convinced? Check out what clients are saying about us.

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a PROFESSIONAL web designer also ...

1. Writes copy.

2. Edits copy.

3. Proofreads copy.

4. Finds web hosting.

5. Registers domain names.

6. Guards against copyright infrigement.

7. Designs marketing campaigns.

8. Helps a site get good search engine placement.

9. Chooses and buys stock photography.

10. Anything else needed to get the job done.

Can you do all of these things?