March 20, 2020
Over the last three or four years one of the most prominent questions I field from customers and friends is "Do I still need a web designer? Surely, I can use online tools like WIX, they are easy and cheap to use.".
Barely a day goes past when I don't see a prime time advert for building and managing your business website online using a nifty set of visual tools. Mix into that the inquisitive nature of customers and indeed many of my friends, who know I work in this field, and I often feel like I drift into some sort of auto defence mode protecting the profession.
But lets take a common sense approach to answering this question and break it down...
What is a web designer?
Over at Wikipedia they have Web Design defined as "Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. ".
That seems like a pretty good start and having been involved in Web Design for over 20 years I do feel I have become more of a generalist - is this a bad thing? No, it just means that as the industry has evolved I have picked up new skills and will continue to do so.
But am I a web designer? Feels like I relate more to the word technologist but that could be my age and one to blog about again.
Do you know what you want?
As a business owner I want a new website so that I can market my services to customers. There you have it, you have made a decision you want a new website or have decided to update your existing web presence but don't know if you should google for a web designer or sign up to a build a website online tool.
Before you can make that very important decision you really need to focus on the requirements, I cannot stress the importance of this stage. Somewhere in that requirements document should be some key decisions that can help us answer the quiz question e.g. I want a custom template, I want to integrate with my CRM, I want access for 10 users, I want to make daily updates.
Is it really a web designer you need or should I go DIY?
Back to that word web designer, how can you be sure you need one - I'm afraid there is no black and white answer. Your requirements are key, with those defined you can start to complete a comparison of off the self packages such as WIX to see if they would work for you and your business.
- Can the tools do everything you require to get your website up and running quickly and within budget?
- Have you tried the demo and feel comfortable using the tools?
- Have you managed to set up a domain and email service?
- Are you comfortable with the costs associated?
If the answer is yes to these questions then DIY could very well suit you and you team.
If there are a lot of No's, then you would probably benefit from exploring and finding a web designer or even a technologist to help you work through your requirements. To help with search, it is not just google who is your friend. Try asking your friends, explore websites you like and find their creators - do some research and look at case studies. Don't forget there's also the budget and time to market aspects to consider.
A web designer or a technologist should have the knowledge and experience to help deliver results that meet your requirements - whether that is building you a site or providing you with the knowledge to make your product selection exercise that bit easier.
DIY used to be confined to home improvements but with the introduction of low-code(very little coding experience) and no-code(point and click) platforms DIY software is now mature enough to deliver really value to businesses. The caveat being that you need to understand the limits of each tool, be comfortable learning and using new software, comfortable with the costing model, and happy with the features you have seen and used when using demo versions of the software.
If you are still thinking that this seems complicated, you don't have the time to learn new tools or maintain content, or you are unsure on where to go next then you should seek the expertise of a professional in this field who can help you roadmap your vision.
I have only touched the surface in this blog. Accessibility, Design, SEO, Analytics, Social Media, CRM integration, e-commerce, the list goes on - they are all key areas you need to pay close attention when making sure your roadmap for success is being defined.
About to start a new project? If you need any help with key activities such as Business Analysis, Consulting or Web Design then get in touch with the team Infraweb, Swansea today. If a member of the team is online then why not try our chat.