Creating Your First Website: Why Pay for Web Design?

Whether you run an established business or are starting up a new one, the need for great web presence is a constant. Having a website up and running is simply an expectation that must be met in most industries, and there are many ways to do so. Typically, small business owners will either use a free web builder or pay for professional website design – with varying results.

This is usually the first obstacle small business owners thinking about launching (or relaunching) their company’s website: Why pay for professional web design and development when free online website builders seem to offer everything they may need and more?

The old adage “you get what you pay for couldn’t be truer than it is in this situation.

No Two Websites Serve the Same Purpose

Non-technical small business owners and entrepreneurs looking for an affordable website solution tend to indulge an important misconception. They see the huge number of websites online (past the 1 billion mark as of 2015) and believe that there are, more or less, few differences between them.

This should not be surprising. After all, all websites seem to function in the same fundamental ways. There is an introductory home page, some extra pages of content, an e-commerce shop sometimes, and a contact page. What could be simpler?

The truth is that if each of those elements are to be successful, they need to be designed for a specific purpose. The differences may not be evident from the first impression, but a photographer’s portfolio site operates on a fundamentally different level than, say, an online fashion retailer.

What Web Designers Actually Do

A web designer’s work is not putting together some HTML code and getting a site hosted. Web designers imagine how to best meet the needs of visitors to the website – and then create the aesthetic and functional tools to do so. This can include everything from layout to navigation to the placement of third-party advertising space to the implementation of a complex web application and more.

This takes time, research, and significant effort. An experienced web designer knows how to communicate presentation schematics to the web development team to create a seamless user experience for website visitors. Search engine algorithms like Google’s notice this and give greater importance to well-designed sites.

What Designed Websites Offer that Website Builders Don’t

For all but the simplest and least ambitious Internet goals, customization is of extreme importance. There are a few ways that having a professional web designer onboard can offer better results than free online web builders:

  • Customized Aesthetics. Unless a website is designed purely for non-commercial interests, website owners wish to obtain some kind of profit from the process. To do that, they need to know their audience and cater to their needs in a specific way. Washington State University has demonstrated that website aesthetics correspond with higher engagement rates and greater visitor satisfaction.

Since every website’s audience is different, a generic website builder can —at best— only offer a generally pleasant visual appeal. There is no way to organize the website structure to unique serve the needs of the website’s audience.

  • SEO Benefits. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to passively attract new website visitors. Search engine algorithms are incredibly complex and nuanced – they take into account such factors as website loading time that cannot be optimized with a general-purpose online website builder.
  • Scalability. Most people create websites with the hope that they become popular. Traffic increases as websites get popular, creating the need for more robust website infrastructure.

Having a website designed from the start with scalability in mind is always preferable to the headache of performing a costly and labor-intensive redesign after the site reaches critical mass.

Anyone who is serious about their Internet ambitions is best served by investing in a website designed to fit their needs. This can require patience and investment, but like any other industry, it pays off in the end.