Professional Website Developer vs. Free websites on TV
These days, no one seriously doubts that maintaining a strong Internet presence is an important part of a sound business plan. Consumers do seemingly everything online—they buy laptops, they shop for plane tickets, they read blogs, they send emails to friends and acquaintances, they order pizzas. That's why assembling an attractive, functional website is one of the first tasks that new business owner will pursue. But the decision to launch a website that shows off the company's goods and services will naturally lead to a simple question: Where to begin?
The Internet seems to be filled with firms promising a wide range of services such as SEO, web hosting, social media marketing, and much, much more—but for a fee. As money tends to be tight for struggling young businesses, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs understandably feel tempted to opt for a free/do-it-yourself website, such as Wix.com. However, though this option may save money in the short term, it can easily result in lost revenues, a website that leaves much to be desired and many unnecessary headaches down the road. The simple fact is that hiring a professional website developer is by far your best bet for establishing an Internet presence that will promote your business activities in a satisfactory fashion. Let's explore the issue in more detail.
You Can Benefit from a Pro Designer's Experience
A pro website company very likely has experience with the kind of site you want to build. This means they have a good sense of which design features, and custom back end functionality work and which do not. Ideally, they should be able to refer you by name to businesses that have benefited from services similar to those you seek for your organization.
In addition, you should try asking for a portfolio that spotlights the web company's designs and services—not just "what if" examples, but actual sites that have been implemented on the Internet. If you have a particular "look" or functionality you envision for your site, try to see if the web design company has been able to pull it off—or something reasonably close to it—in the past. If you can point to a site that does more or less what you're looking for, it's easy for the designer to grasp what needs to be done. With thorough consultation developers can custom code everything you need to build a perfectly functioning website that is fully expandable and allows you to do anything you need your online business to do. And unlike the sites advertised on television, you own it and you have a 24/7 team supporting you, building databases, tracking and logging customers and custom coding even the most complex functionality while you concentrate on running your business.
Put simply, a poorly designed "free" site that does't perform the way you want it to will probably cost you money in the long run. Bad design and templates will likely repel visitors, who easily grow tired of amateurish graphics and confusing layouts. DIY e-commerce sites typically suffer from high bounce rates (i.e., visitors leave the site very soon after arrival) and inadequate conversion rates.
Don't try to save a few dollars by cutting corners. Your website forms a vital part of your business operation, so its design and upkeep are worth investing in. On a related note, you shouldn't settle for the lowest bidder—a low-priced service almost always does an inadequate job with your site. A good web design company will have different pricing tiers to accommodate a wide range of budgets, so even a business with limited finances may be able to hire an established designer rather than a low budget service.
Overall, a pro web design company is preferable to a free service, but it's important to keep in mind that not all of these fee-based organizations can be considered equal. Some may be able to concoct sharp graphics, but lack the copywriting prowess to provide compelling text to go along with it. Some companies offer first-rate graphics and copy, but lack the SEO know-how to drive traffic to your site. As a result, some businesses end up contracting with more than one design company in order to get everything done properly and then the real mess begins.When you hear the ad on TV say "we can get you found", that is a huge misrepresentation. Sure, you can be found on page 50 of an obscure search, but to get ranked on page 1 when searching the most competitive key words and phrases, it takes at least 50 - 80 man hours a month involving seasoned experts coding, writing text, engaging with external sites and prospective customers.
By contrast, an organization like A Work Of Art, with over two decades in business, can provide a wide variety of interrelated services under one roof: SEO, social media, branding, advertising, and more. This means that the various components of your site—text, images, interactive functions, databases, and more—can be coordinated in optimal fashion. A lone individual trying to assemble their DIY website is highly unlikely to command the various skills that go into creating a first-rate Internet presence.
Personalized Customer Service
Who do you contact when things go awry with your free website? Who do you consult when you have design questions? A pro web design company can answer your questions during every point of the process, from the conceptual stage to site implementation. Instead of relying on pre-made templates, you have access to a team that personalizes the site-building process with custom coding and unique designs. They can also offer expert advice on various aspects of website maintenance.
Ideally, you should be provided with documentation that explains what is happening, and when, with a clearly defined timeline. This gives you the opportunity to approve major design features before the team spends valuable time implementing them. It's worth pointing out that some web design companies will demand extra fees for these services; however, A Work Of Art provides these materials free of charge, without limitation.
There's More to Web Design than You Think
Many people decide to plunge ahead with their free site, confident in their ability to assemble an attractive website that avoids notorious Internet disasters like ugly, distracting Flash animation. What they don't realize is that there is much more to a successful site than is readily apparent. A site may have decent graphics but suffer from confusing text, layour and navigation. Customers will know if it has been developed professionaly or not... It may look sharp, but, for some reason, it fails to attract repeat visitors. With a good site, there is a lot going on "under the hood," and it takes an experienced team to avoid many common, hard-to-spot pitfalls.
Free Isn't Always Free
One problem with free or "freemium" web platforms is that they depend on user upgrades to stay in business. Unless you're willing to pay extra to remove obtrusive ads or obtain a personalized web address, you'll be stuck with a basic site that comes with an assortment of unappealing features. To take full advantage of these services, you have to pay—so you might as well turn to a professional design company in the first place.