OF COURSE I’m biased when it comes to whether or not to hire a professional web designer. I do try to give the best advice I can to the folks who want to pick my brain about their website, and I really do think some people get by just fine with a DIY website.
If you’re strapped for cash and just need a simple one or two page site, I’d say throwing together a quick Squarespace or WordPress site just to get something out there is certainly not a bad idea. But as you grow and gain more prominence in your industry, sometimes DIY is not the way to go.
To those folks teetering on the edge and aren’t sure whether or not they should DIY, here’s my case for hiring a pro—even if you’re totally capable of doing it yourself.
Custom design, with best practices in mind
Even if you have a good eye (which I’m sure you do!), that doesn’t necessarily translate into great web design. When you work with a good designer, they’ll take the time to get to know you and your business, and they’ll work to understand your target market and the why behind your website. Using design principles, user experience best practices, and taking what they’ve learned about your business and what you’re hoping to accomplish with your website, the web designer will craft a visually stunning design that works for you. It’s so, so much more than having a pretty website, and a good web designer knows this!
Understanding of SEO
A lot of good web designers have at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), and will typically include the basics to help get your site in good shape. They’ll be able to help you understand a target length of content per page, and will use best practices for page titles, content hierarchy, image naming and alt tags, inbound and outbound links, and more.
Keeping your site lean
It’s SO easy to get plugin-happy, especially when you’re working with a platform like WordPress where there’s seemingly a plugin for anything and everything. You can install plugins to add on functionality to your site including things like adding in Google Analytics, resizing images for retina displays, social media icons—you name it. The nice thing about working with a web designer is they know which plugins are beneficial to have as add ons, and what functionality can easily be baked into the site’s theme or template. Too many plugins, especially on WordPress, is a cause for site slowdown and can ultimately lead to a security vulnerability if not updated frequently.
Helping with security
I’m sure, by this point in the game, we’ve all heard horror stories of sites getting hacked, and it really is a common occurrence. Working with a web designer who knows his/her stuff can help you put strategies in place to help prevent vulnerabilities, and also have a plan in place should one happen—things like picking a good host, implementing a good security plugin with properly configured settings, and having a good backup solution in place are all things a good web designer should be able to help with.
Take one thing off of your plate
Building a robust site that really speaks to your audience, complies with SEO best practices, and looks professional is hard work! I’ve had countless clients who initially tried creating their own sites, put SO many hours into it, but then ended up not getting the results they were hoping for and deciding to bring in a pro. That’s after all of the lost time spent toiling that could have been saved had they hired a professional designer in the beginning!