In my last post, I talked about some of the more general pros and cons of professional web design and do-it-yourself, or DIY. This week, I want to take a closer look at how the function and look of a professionally built site differ from one made using free tools like those from Weebly and GoDaddy.
What Quality Web Design from a Team of Pros will Provide that the DIY Route Can't
Without mastery over the tools and technical skills it requires to design and build a site that not only looks great but also functions well, taking on a web development project yourself isn't likely to provide you with the type of website you imagined or that your business or organization even needs.
As far as appearance goes, professional web design always looks more professional, typically using layouts and images that are creative and of a higher quality. When you use tools like Weebly or those offered by GoDaddy, for instance, templates are often organized according to industry and already contain stock images. The downside of the DIY route, in this regard, is that the site lacks originality, layouts are typically very basic and the quality of the images can be poor. With professional web design, however, you'll typically have the opportunity to work with people who specialize in graphics and images, are capable of creating custom infographics or logos and just have an eye for layout, colour and balance.
Without a quality web design, your site will fail to make the memorable first impression you need to stay front and centre in the minds of your prospective customers and clients. If your site doesn't look professional or fails to impress those who see it, why have a website at all?
While the appearance of your website can make or break your business or organization's first impression, your site's functionality plays an equally, if not even more important, role in the success of your online presence.
A website that functions really well is one that's equipped with everything site visitors need to learn more about you, contact you, make a purchase or fill out a form. High functioning sites are also mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and the pages load quickly. In short, a site that functions well is one that provides not only a positive user experience but also makes your life easier, by allowing you to obtain and organize the information you need to operate your business. When you work with the right professional web design team, your website will be a lead-generating machine, or in other words, an asset.
Without training and experience, people who choose to build sites themselves will never achieve the level of function that's possible with professional, quality web design. Instead of a lead-generating asset, DIY sites are often little more than online brochures - they contain the basic facts and contact information but there's little or no interaction. While you can set-up online stores using Weebly and GoDaddy, using templates means that there's very little opportunity to customize your site to better accommodate the needs of your prospective and existing customers or clients, as well as your business' operations.
This is really just a brief overview of how DIY and professionally designed sites look and function differently. I hope it also sheds some light on why the function and look of a site is vitally important to your overall online presence.
Next time, I'll be discussing the differences between professional and DIY web design as far as branding and/or marketing are concerned, which further explains the multi-faceted and disciplinary approach that's required to build an effective online presence.