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It’s a “do-it-yourself” world, and with the economy the way it is, it’s understandable why people would want to do things as cheaply as possible. Besides, when you do something yourself, you know your vision will be realized. Those sound like pretty positive reasons for creating your own website, too. Right? Well… maybe not. There are some very good reasons why you should reconsider the do-it-yourself option of web building, and seek the help of a professional website designer.

The programs for do-it-yourself web design are out there. With so many “WYSIWYG” (what you see is what you get) programs available, creating pages is just—easy. Oops, there’s a catch. Isn’t there always?

Template Troubles

Ah the easy peasy template. Most web design programs come with them. In fact, you’ll find if you’re looking for a program to build websites, or other publishing efforts, that one of the main selling points is how many ‘designs’ or ‘templates’ each program comes with. Well, that’s not a bad thing right? Nope, not if you’re just playing around or making a personal site. The trouble with templates for a business, professional or serious opinion site is that they look like templates.

There is another drawback to templates as well. It is a partner problem with the entire WYSIWYG programming system. They are built on text boxes that you can move around and place where you want them—why is that bad? Next issue:

Big Ole World

It’s a big ole world out there, and the internet splashes your page out there for everyone to view. Great for anyone who wants to reach the maximum number of viewers for any reason, but horrible when it comes to compatibility. The extraordinary development of technology, and the sheer number of available browsers out there make it a nightmare when it comes to compatibility. WYSIWYG programs, and anything using text boxes to contain information just cannot meet the demands of widespread compatibility.

That means it may look good for you, on your screen, and maybe you have even tested it on every computer (different operating systems and browsers) in your possession. Chances are pretty darned good, however, that you don’t own hundreds of computers, all with different operating systems (and that includes different operating systems on the same platform i.e.: windows 95, 98, XP, 2000, Vista, 7). You can’t test them all, even on the same platform you use.

You could argue that nobody uses the oldest operating systems anymore… but that’s not completely true. Even so, if they use any version, even one of the newer ones, with a rare or obscure browser, you’re probably sunk, and there are thousands of them.

It doesn’t have to be an obscure browser either. Just “IE,” one of the three most commonly used browsers has many versions, and they do not match compatibility. So, if you test your site on IE 8, and IE 7, but your viewer is looking at in on IE 6, your site probably looks crunched together, is missing elements, and probably looks horrible. A web designer will create your pages from scratch, building it with the right codes so that everything appears exactly where it should, and how it should. They will test it repeatedly on a wide variety of browsers and operating systems, and it will perform properly—everywhere.

Free-based Templates

But what about those “super special wondrous templates” you see every now and then, posted online that proclaim to be the perfect setup for your landing page/web site/store front? They’re out there for a few bucks, and promise fast set up, easy operation and guarantee you’ll get conversions, whether it be in the form of clickthroughs or sales.

These templates are not attached to programs, and that, in a nutshell is the biggest problem with them (not the only problem, however). These templates are so tempting, and lots of people grab at the promise of instant success. They download this fast and easy template and find themselves looking at what they get like it is printed in Greek.

If you’re not a programmer, it may very well look like it’s written in a foreign language. The bare bones of it look like the template you saw online, all bright and shiny, but with no ‘guts.’ You still have to put in the words, the links, etc to make it work, and if you don’t know how… well there’s not program to help you either.

Another problem is, if you bought it, chances are pretty good a thousand other hopeful entrepreneurs did too. That’s how those “cheap” templates make any money. How original is that site going to look for some visitor who has searched a few options for the same product, and seen the same template over, and over?

Okay, No Templates: Build it From Scratch

How good are you at speaking “geekese?” That’s not a new language, but it’s one that is hard to perfect. Even the most simple website is built on hundreds of lines of code. In every line of code there are dozens of symbols that absolutely must be placed perfectly, or the entire thing crumbles like a house of cards when you yank the bottom corner. Be prepared to spend hours, days or weeks to find a missing piece of code, and then still end up with a site that looks rough, or doesn’t function at its best. A professional website developer will know where to look for faulty codes, and if they have to go through the hours and hours of hair-pulling frustration—hey, at least it isn’t you. You’ll have a beautiful, functioning website, and all your hair.

Form Follows Function

Finally, maybe after weeks or months of fiddling with your “easy” template, or your fancy site builder, you have a website, and it looks pretty good. You’re satisfied, that if not everyone, most people will see it for the way you post it. That means it is every bit as good as those professionally built websites, right? Sorry, but—wrong.

One of the most common reasons viewers leave a website is poor function. A professional will test every link, every page, every tab, every little piece of code to make sure your site flows seamlessly. A professional designer can also make sure your images and videos load quickly. They can also make sure those images and videos are professionally made if you need them.

Security

If you are not up on the current methods of web site security, visitors will RUN AWAY, if they are asked to purchase anything. Whether you run an affiliate site, a landing page for a single product or a multi-product store, you won’t see many sales from a site that isn’t instantly recognizable as secure. A professional web designer will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date methods of security for your site. That is important for your stored information, and for your customer’s vital information as well.

Great Expectations

This isn’t the 90s anymore. People are accustomed to buying things online. As a general rule now, the first place people look for a product, service or information is the internet. You should be there, but if you are, you better meet the heightened expectations of the modern internet consumer. They are sophisticated, and they know what looks good, and what looks shoddy.

Professional Freelance Vs Design Company

If you have recognized the benefits of hiring a professional web developer, you aren’t finished yet. You can still save money, and get your perfect website. There are two types of web designers available: freelance and company. They are both excellent choices for your website, but freelance web developers will cost you a whole lot less than a company based designer. You are paying for a designer to create your site in either case, but when you hire a company designer, a portion of the fee goes to support the operation of many designers, operation space, and general costs, where when you hire a freelance designer, you just have to pay for him and his expenses. In many cases you can save 3 to 5 times the cost of a company designer when you go with a freelance web developer.

Bottom Line

When visitors come to your site, do you want them to get the impression you are a professional? Do you need them to feel comfortable with the security of your site if you have a store front? Do you want them to take your opinions seriously? Then you need a website that looks like it was built by a company/business/or personality that took their work seriously. You need a professional web designer.