Let’s do a thought exercise!
Imagine that you’ve outgrown your old home. You lived there for years and loved it, but it no longer suits your needs. Something a bit bigger with more amenities is needed. You want it to look even better than your old home, with beautiful landscaping and an inviting facade.
So, you have two choices. One, you could go with a professional construction company that will build you the home of your dreams. A place that will suit your needs for years to come. Or two, you could go with Frank, a friend of your brother-in-law who is super good at putting together IKEA furniture and once built a shed in their backyard.
Even if you are on a tight budget, I suspect that you’re going to pass on Frank’s offer and, instead, go with the professionals. And that’s the right move!
So here is my question: Why do so many people make the opposite choice when they are building their website? Rather than go with a professional who can deliver exactly what they envision, why do they go with someone who only has surface-level experience using WordPress?
It usually comes down to money. And that’s completely understandable!
But What’s the Real Cost?
Believe me, as a small business owner myself, I know the kinds of financial constraints that businesses can find themselves in.
When you are scraping together every dollar, trying to turn a profit, then paying big money to a professional design firm and website builder doesn’t seem like a smart investment on the surface. But you would be mistaken, because investing in a functional, beautiful website can be the key to unlocking cost-effective marketing that will build your customer base and define your brand for years to come.
Getting a website designed by an amateur is like buying a car that just got a new coat of paint. Sure, it might look fine on the outside, but the second you start the engine, you’re going to discover that you aren’t going to get very far!
Integrating deeper functionality into your website and making sure that it genuinely works for all of your visitors requires a little more experience and knowledge. This kind of functionality is the “engine” of your site. This goes double if you want additional functionality like e-commerce.
The real cost of an amateur website is going to be in lost leads, customers, sales, along with potential damage to your brand. If a potential customer stumbles upon one “Page Not Found” error on your website, that’s going to be a massive hit to their perception of your brand. It makes it look like you don’t care enough to get a website that works.
What About the Graphics?
When you go with an amateur to build your website, you could end up with something that “looks” ok! Services like Wix offer decent customization options that allow people to create functional-looking websites. But there are likely to be particular giveaways with the graphic design that show it isn’t a professionally-designed website.
For example, your logo. It should encapsulate just about everything about your brand, from your colors to your overall feel. If you don’t have a professionally-designed logo, then you might be missing out on one of the most valuable marketing assets available to small businesses.
Another thing that amateurs might not care about is quality photos. There are countless websites out there with photos and graphics that aren’t high enough quality for your website. If you see one picture that’s a little grainy or in the wrong resolution, you instinctively dismiss the site as amateur. Again, this does real damage to your brand.
When you hire a professional graphic designer to create the visual content for your website, it’s going to add an additional layer of polish that makes it stand out from the crowd. Not only are you going to end up with a fantastic looking site, but you will also have graphic assets that you can use for other aspects of your business, like your branding collateral!
What about the Copy?
Website copy can make or break a site. And it’s something that amateurs almost always skimp on.
Designing a website is hard work, but if you’re an amateur using built-in web design tools, it doesn’t require a huge amount of focus. You essentially choose the website elements you want and arrange them on the page. Website copy is a completely different matter.
To write copy, you really need to have a firm understanding of the target audience. The person writing the copy should have a well thought out core copywriting document that helps you write personality infused copy that is geared towards your client avatar. Many amateur web designers won’t have the copywriting experience to create copy that converts.
Also, one copy-related thing that amateurs almost always miss is effective calls-to-action. These are sections of copy that drive your potential customers to your desired actions. For example, let’s say that you have an opt-in on your website. A professional copywriter will create compelling copy that not only makes visitors want to check it out, but also tell them exactly what they need to do to get it.
You only have a few seconds to grab your ideal clients when they visit your website. The content above the fold needs to immediately tell them “who you are”, “what you do”, and “how this will benefit them”. You need an amazing call to action front and center to get them to schedule a consultation, sign up for your core lead magnet, purchase your product or sign up for your course. If you don’t, chances are they will bounce off the page and continue their search.
And none of this is even talking about Search Engine Optimization!
Amateur website designers are often stuck in the dark ages of SEO, when you literally shoved as many keywords into your copy as possible to fool search engines into promoting your site. This resulted in awkward copy that was difficult to read. Thankfully, search engines like Google caught onto this and actively punish sites that use keyword stuffing. When you hire a professional like me, your copy is going to organically work keywords into the content, making sure that Google promotes rather than buries your site.
When you hire a professional to build your website, you’re not only getting someone who knows how to create an excellent looking site, but also someone who can write and design graphics! You will have webcopy that supports all of the graphics and design content, pulling in visitors and converting them into paying clients. Writing effective web copy is the unglamorous part of website design, but without it, your site simply isn’t going to work.
What all of this boils down to is how you want your small business to be perceived by people online.
If you hire an amateur to create your site, you might end up with something that’s functional, but unpolished and lacking certain functionality. This will reflect poorly on your company, making it look like you only care about the bare minimum rather than wanting the best for your customers. But when you hire a professional to create your website, you’re going to end up with something polished that will put your small business in its best possible light. Of course, you want your website to be perceived as professional!
If you’d like to get started building a professional website today, I invite you to contact me for a free consultation. Or if you have a website that could use a polish, let’s get started on a website audit.
Together, we can decide whether we can redesign your current website or design an entirely new one for you! I also invite you to check out my free Step-by-Step Website Audit Workbook if you want to learn what needs to be improved on your current site. Or I could just do the website audit for you if you’d prefer!