Okay, so maybe his name isn’t “Jimbo.” Maybe he’s a web design wiz. Maybe he’s won multiple awards for his creative chops and his innovations in web design and development. And, of course, he’s agreed to design your website for free. Great deal, why not take him up on it?
Not so fast. Here are three reasons you might want to reconsider Jimbo’s offer and hire a professional web designer instead…
#1: Design is Not Marketing
There’s an ocean of difference between a well-designed website and a website that will win you customers and make your company more profitable. Ask any ten business owners at random and you can bet at least half of them will tell you how they learned this the hard way.
They probably dumped thousands of dollars into having a website designed. The site looked great and they were very happy. Then they sat back to watch the sales roll in…but nothing came.
Six months later, most of these business owners were afraid to invest anything into online marketing. After all, they’d already blown a ton of money on a website that got no traffic and no sales. This happens because good designers don’t always understand marketing.
Many times, they don’t know your online marketing strategy or what the goal of your site is. Instead, they create something that gets a lot of “ohs” and “ahs”, but almost no traffic and no sales. Of course, if the person who offered to design your site is willing to work for free, you’ve got nothing to lose right?
If you have to hire someone else to rebuild the site later so that it fits your online marketing strategy, you’ll pay MORE than you would have by using a professional in the first place. Winning awards is great, so is great looking design, but you’re in business to win customers, so hire someone how knows how to help you do that.
#2: You Get What You Pay for
You’ve surely heard this one before. When someone is working for free, do you think they’ll do their best work? Even if they intend to give it 100%, other commitments could easily get in the way. If something “comes up” in the middle of them working on your web design project, your website could become a second, third or possibly fourth priority.
Of course, this doesn’t happen intentionally, but it still happens. Life gets in the way, and if the person who offered to work for free needs to drop your project for something that pays the bills, you’re left waiting for them. You might have to hire another programmer or designer to step in and finish their work. This can get complicated and expensive, not to mention the unnecessary stress it causes.
#3: SEO Matters
A lot of business owners treat search engine optimization as an afterthought. They assume that they’ll have their website built and THEN start optimizing it for the search engines. But SEO needs to be considered from the very first stage of web development. Otherwise, you could end up with basic structural problems that will hurt your website’s search engine rankings for life.
Fixing these problems can be complicated, time consuming and expensive. Sometimes the entire website needs to be redesigned, and of course that means more money, more time and more lost opportunities.
So it might be rough to “break the news” to Jimbo and tell him you’ve decided to hire a professional and give your business the best chance possible to succeed online. But hey, he’s family. He’ll get over it, and it’ll be better for you and your business in the long run.