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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Why Not to Use a Free Online Web Builder - Part Four

Why Not to Use a Free Online Web Builder

Part Four: If you think you think it's expensive hiring a professional...

Pizza chef We’re all affected by looks, consciously or otherwise. When we are standing outside a pub or restaurant, we size it up based on appearances. If we’re contemplating a fry-up to help get over a hangover, then we’ll be looking for something very different to when we’re planning an anniversary dinner or looking for a venue for a business meeting. But whatever we’re looking for, we know it when we see it because we’ve learned to look for key indicators that tell us what to expect when we walk through the door.

We might not be able to list those key indicators off the top of our heads, but we have a feel for them.

In design, there are certain typefaces that complement one another. There are colours that suit a particular type of business or target market. There is a language that works well in the corporate market which differs when you are communicating with the public or with a small business. And there are images which confirm your investment in quality while others shriek the words “clip art”.

In business, we strive at all times to appear professional. And these days your website very often forms the first impression of your company. In many cases, all it needs to do is meet expectations. If I want to buy a product or service that you sell, then by coming to your website I have started out by being open to do business. All you need to do is not disappoint me.

Now, if you run a restaurant for a living, then you can’t eat out without scrupulously analysing the food, service, d├ęcor, location, menus and price. As a website designer, I tend to look at everything with a designer’s eye. And of course I know not everyone does that.

That’s what I was looking for So let’s say for a moment that I’m not a designer. When I arrive at your site I should be thinking “Yep, that’s what I was looking for”. Maybe I’ll browse around a few pages first, maybe I’ll check out the competition, but if the price is right and all other things being equal, why should I look elsewhere?

And the answer to that is that I might be thinking: “There’s something a bit wrong about this and I just can’t put my finger on it” or worse “Nothing seems to happen when I click here, where it says CLICK HERE”.

If you do it yourself, then what will you do when something goes wrong? Will you know where to tap? And if your website doesn’t start sales rolling in, what will you do about that? If the answer is start again from scratch, then think about how much time you might have lost in the interim – time your competitors have spent building their web presence.

And once it’s built, the job doesn’t end there. A good website is never finished – it should reflect the vitality and enterprise of your organisation, not leave people thinking “I wonder if they’re still in business?”

That’s not to mention the ongoing process of search engine optimisation. In a world with billions of web pages being created every single day, it’s madness to imagine you’re going to get to page one on Google with your first five-page website and even if you did, it’s madness to think you’ll stay there while others are busy creating more and better content for their sites.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend your time working on your business than on making a website you know is second best?

How many big name brands have built their website using Google Sites? How many big name brands have got a website built in an afternoon by the office manager using Google Sites? You might say that’s a spurious remark, but really, if it was that good, why would you need to do anything else?

The simple fact is that all businesses want to distinguish themselves from their competition or at the very least stand shoulder to shoulder alongside the leading competitors. If all of your competitors have terrible websites then it will take a very small investment to exceed what they have achieved. And if all you do is equal their mediocrity, it will be equally easy for them to leapfrog you should they see the inherent advantages of hiring a professional.

So having given it some careful thought, I’m happy that my instinctive answer still seems like the right one. Amateur work achieves amateur results.

As one of my clients put it - if you think you think it's expensive hiring a professional, wait till you try hiring an amateur.  

Thankfully I work in a field where most people don't need to be convinced of the value of my expertise. They just want to hire someone who knows where to tap, first time, every time.


Part One: You would say that, wouldn’t you?
Part Two: Do you have any experience as a designer?
Part Three: Do you do everything yourself?
Part Four: If you think you think it's expensive hiring a professional...

Read on...

Don't just take my word for it. Have a look at some of the many free online website builders you can choose from.
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