When Websites Go Bad
The terrible world of prepaid and DIY websites and why hiring a qualified designer is a much better option
In this time of ever growing thriftyness hording and penny scrimpmas many who are trying to get rich quick or attempting to get their business on the map may be shocked to see how much a website will cost them if they hire a professional.
Many think to themselves ..." Why on Captain Planet's cod piece does a bit of tom clickery and keyboard pokery cost so much ?"...." I've got Microsoft office I'll do it ! " . If you've ever thought this then you are either a genius and have managed to somehow find a button in Microsoft Frontpage that stops it from sucking! or you're a bit uneducated on how the world of web works. Here's the pros and cons of DIY websiting and using prepaid templated services. We'll soon have you up to speed on these evil services and why in the long run their gonna make you wish you'd just saved up and hired a good guy or gal to get you online.
- It's cheap ! IT'S SO VERY CHEAP !
- I can drag and drop what I want on the site
- There's loads of templates for me to choose from !
- The end results are usually mismatched uncreative and slow to boot
- Short of some nasty paypal buttons you won't be selling much online
- Want to post some blogs / news? These are hardly suitable platforms for doing so
- Many of these services will offer you a web domain name into the price, but when the time comes for you to move on and expand they won't be very nice about transferring what's rightfully yours to it's new location.
- The code that these services generates is usually heavy, clunky and look like complete and utter dogs twoddle depending on the users web browser.
- Overall it's a good way to get a website that nobody takes seriously and reflects badly on your business
Oh GREAT !! So you're saying that I'm not allowed to have a cheap and great website ?
Well yes and no, you see when it comes to anything the words " Cheap " & " Great" never go hand in hand. You can however find a qualified individual ( Freelancers have lower overheads and a more personal vibe) that will produce you a great looking , bespoke to your requirements and an easy to use CMS ( Content Management System) powered website. Shop around and check out their previous work let them know your budget right at the start they won't be trying to take all your money they will tell you what they can do for you within your price range.
Why should I use a Freelance Web Designer, aren't they all just students and girlfriendless computer nerds that don't have a single creative bone in their bodies?
Nerds, maybe not and possibly girlfriendless purely because they are having too much fun entertaining many women ( or men ) all attracted to their flare and creative edge. Okay maybe not but in this day and age you can find somebody that knows what looks good and can make it work well too! You'll rarely find a graphic designer that can't code and a coder that can't push a pixel or two.
Using a freelancer ( especially if local to you ) is like having a temporary additional member of staff that knows how to fill the role of " Designing a fantastic website" no different to you hiring your receptionist that's good at answering the phone and chewing bubblegum.
Now when I say use a freelance designer I mean a professional don't go thinking that you can ask little nephew Timmy to put your website together because he owns a ZX Spectrum and knows how to blast aliens and shout into a stupid headset that makes him look like Britney Spears. Once again you're making the mistake of thinking cheap, don't think cheap think fair.
Do some research take a look at your competitors sites, take a look at websites that aren't who designed those? I can almost guarantee that the best looking and most functional websites were not made by the owner of the business themselves. Post your job online in as much detail as possible and see who responds make sure you set a fair budget, To give you an idea if you're looking for a simple one page online presense with some logo design and some pictures you need to be able to fork out £500 and maybe £50 per additional page. For a site that you'll be able to edit yourself (CMS) Be prepared to empty the penny jar of £1500 - £2500. Looking for a great online store with bespoke features ? Don't be suprised if £5000 isn't enough sure it will get you started but it won't have all the bells and whistles you expect.
My final bit of advice is to build up in phases , If you're looking to get your business online invest well on a website with a great designer offer up a £500 budget for an initial brochure style site and your designer will tell you what they can provide for that amount. In 12 months you don't have to go back to that designer but if you're happy with the work they did it's good to keep that relationship.