Should you pay for a graphic designer?
As a self-funded entrepreneur, each of my financial decisions is carefully weighed. And with good reason. Only two-thirds of all small businesses survive beyond the second year. According to the Wells Fargo Small Business Index, self-funded entrepreneurs will spend up to $10,000 in start-up capital. After leaving a guaranteed paycheck and entering into the unknown, we simply can’t afford to make huge gambles with little return on investment. Every dollar matters and proper investment is essential.
Of those investments, one of the most important (and easily expensive) is on our choice of website services.
Wix and Squarespace promise that ANYONE can create their own websites. It’s as easy as just a few clicks! You won’t need to hire a designer…
But let’s face it, while consumers want to support small, local businesses, they don’t feel confident investing in a business they think is cheaply run. They want legitimacy, to know you are an expert in your field, to think you are in this for the long run and that you’ll survive that 2-year benchmark. They actually want to be loyal to you!
If that’s not convincing, here are three reasons you need to hire a professional website designer.
Your competition uses professional designers.
Has a girlfriend, wife, or co-worker ever invited you out for paint-night but you admittedly possess zero artistic ability?
Now imagine that instead of painting, the subject is website design. And that girlfriend trying to convince you… imagine it’s you!
You can steal website ideas from your competition all you want, but unless you know how to implement a similar design that doesn’t plagiarize, the site will end up looking homemade. And just because your college roommate once took a class on computer coding 5 years ago, doesn’t mean they should build your site either. A website is far more successful and stands a chance of keeping up with competitors if it is designed properly.
Like the dreaded stock Vistaprint business cards, sites like Wix and Squarespace offer templates that consumers have already seen numerous times on the web. Unless you are willing to dedicate countless hours carefully crafting a template that will need lots of manipulation to look unique and match your business brand (and you absolutely need a brand), you may be wasting a lot of valuable time playing around with tasks such as spacing and colors instead of chasing leads.
You (and your more-computer literate friends) can’t match the professional quality of a web designer.
Imagine that instead of a masterpiece hanging in your entryway, you now walk in to find your child’s attempt at a replica. While you love them for their attempt, cute is not the impression you want to portray for your website. Potential clients will not find it endearing that you attempted to DIY. A website does not make you look legitimate.
Here’s an example I always use. Like most towns, Bel Air has multiple pizza shops, and these shops have their regulars. One day an out-of-town friend came over and we decided to order pizza. I told her which pizza joint I always preferred (based on taste), but since she was the one placing the order, she browsed through the 10 or so pizza websites and used that as her base on where to order. She chose a pizza parlor based on its website presentation!
Designers have the necessary tools.
You want to use a photo you took with your phone and upload it to your website. But did you format it properly?
Designers have all the necessary tools such a Photoshop or Lightroom to make sure your picture looks high-end and is sized properly as to not slow down your website load speeds. For every extra second that your website takes to load, another potential customer is clicking away.
They also have specialized tools such as plug-ins that can customize your site and perform unique tricks that you wouldn’t necessarily have access to or know how to use without some sort of training. Again, it’s more tedious hours learning about websites instead of building your business.
There are many more reasons but I decided to focus on these three. Ultimately, it is your decision on how to proceed with a website. You get what you pay for in terms of design.
A professional website designer does not need to cost $10,000 for a custom coded site. Those days are long gone and, as a business in the start-up phase, you shouldn’t be investing more than $1000 in your initial website launch until you start bringing in capital.
Picking the correct designer is essential. Look for professionals who cater to start-ups. They will be able to work within your price point and incorporate all the necessary content so it both inspires and informs. And they’ll know how to make your site competitive. You may not be able to afford the bells and whistles (yet!) but you can afford to make a good first impression. As entrepreneurs, impression and reputation are vital to our businesses surviving.