In recent years, many DIY website builder solutions have emerged, as well as a plethora of attractive website design templates (themes). In this article, we’ll take you through the reasons why it’s best to avoid generic design templates.
First and foremost, as with any business, your website needs to make a very good impact on your target audience, resulting in lots of leads, sales and increased profits. An experienced web designer can help you to turn around an unappealing and poorly performing website, or create a website from scratch, giving you a customised vehicle that is specifically tailored to the needs of your business, and your market.
The majority of successful businesses have a website that has been created or customised by a professional web designer, rather than using a standard website template which can never be a perfect fit for the target audience. If you’re considering redesigning your website or need a website for a new start-up, here are ten reasons why you need to engage a professional, highly skilled web designer.
1. Your website needs to set a good first impression
How often have you opened a website, taken a quick look around and left quickly? Some websites just don’t give you a good first impression and within two or three seconds, you know whether you want to explore more of the site or leave. The last thing you want is for your visitors to decide that your website isn’t very appealing and looks outdated, because they will leave quickly and not return. Instead, you need your visitors’ first impression to be positive, as this encourages them to stay and explore your website. A good web designer helps you to retain visitors and convert them into paying customers.
2. Business owners are in control of the design process
With a free DIY template for your website, you have limited control over the design, colour scheme or layout of the website. On the other hand, with the help of a skilled web designer, you have complete flexibility. You make all the design, layout and branding decisions, and can ask for changes when you don’t think that it’s quite right, and keep the things that suit your purposes. With a web developer designing your site, you will have a website that fulfills all your business & brand needs and is attractive to your target audience.
3. Custom design reinforces your business’s branding
When you can’t select the colour scheme, layout and overall design of your site, how can you make your branding consistent? How can you make your website reflect your brand’s messaging? With a generic template (even with a way to make basic colour adjustments), you simply can’t, but with a web designer, your website can be designed to match your branding, so that it’s consistent across all your media outlets, including your social media network and your physical store.
4. Search engines like well-designed websites
If you want your website to be visible on the first page of Google, Bing, and other search engines, you need to give the search engines what they like: clean code, compelling content, low bounce rates (visitors viewing more than one page), lots of traffic, and plenty of positive social media interactions. All of this can be hard to achieve on your own, but for a web designer, it’s their bread and butter and it’s how they make a living. They know how to create websites that are loved by search engines and will rank well.
5. You need an edge on the competition
If your competition is outranking and outselling you, often one of the biggest reasons is that they have a better website than you. Undoubtedly, it’s because they have engaged a professional web designer to create a website that appeals to their target audience and fulfills their every need. If you want to outrank and gain an edge on the competition, you need a website that sets you apart.
You want your website to stand head and shoulders above theirs, so an old and outdated website won’t cut the mustard. When you are competing within the same market space with similar products or services, as well as prices, it’s your website that can make all the difference. A web developer can create a website that will showcase your business and your unique selling proposition, clearly demonstrating why shoppers should choose your business over the competition.
6. Shoppers appreciate a user-friendly website
Online shoppers don’t have the patience for a slow loading website to open in their browser and they don’t appreciate poorly thought out navigation and menu systems. When shoppers can’t find what they want on your website easily, because you don’t have clearly defined categories or a search function that allows them to search by price, brand, colour, weight or style, they will simply turn to your competitor’s website.
With a generic template, you don’t have very many options, and have no opportunity to customise the navigation or menu systems, you can’t even update the search function to sort by subcategories. Don’t forget that most generic websites are also not optimised for performance or speed. A web designer however, will ensure that your website is super-fast and user-friendly to all your visitors.
7. Your website will need less updating and repairs
When you have code written by a skilled and experienced web designer, it’s clean, well written and gives you a website that performs well. It also needs much less updating, because it’s been created for your specific requirements with all the functionality you need. When you don’t need to add multiple software packages (“plugins”) to increase the functionality of your website, there are far fewer clashes between these plugins, many of which can crash your website.
This means that your site is less likely to need sudden, costly repairs, and you won’t be faced with the white screen of death, when two plugins clash and break your website. Trying to find someone to repair your website, when they aren’t familiar with the code, can be a difficult ask. This can leave you with your website being offline and shoppers going to your competitor’s website while you scramble to get back up and running.
8. CTAs can be split tested to ensure maximum clicks
Anyone with a website knows that they need well written CTAs (calls-to-action) that direct their visitors into taking specific actions. Visitors need to know what you want them to do on your website, which can be to call your office to make an appointment, make an online purchase, download a PDF or sign up for your newsletter. It’s your CTAs that make this happen, but not all CTAs are equal.
The best way to optimise your CTAs is to split test them and identify which ones outperform others. This means creating multiple versions of pages on your website, and randomly displaying those versions to different visitors. Over time, you can then determine which version works best at converting visitors into leads. Your web designer should be able to set this in motion for you, helping you to increase your conversions, sales and profits very quickly.
9. You need to build trust and credibility with your target audience
An outdated website that is poorly designed, slow to load, not user-friendly, and doesn’t offer visitors the information they are seeking, doesn’t do much to build trust and credibility with visitors. In fact, most people simply don’t trust these websites, with poor presentation equating to a lack of trust. On the other hand, a well-designed website that performs well and looks appealing will easily catch a visitor’s eye, giving them confidence to explore further.
Trust is everything to a business that relies on leads and sales, whether it’s with the general public or with other businesses. If visitors to your website don’t trust you, it will take a lot of work on your side of the fence to rebuild that trust with your target audience. A web designer will give you a website that encourages people to trust your business and not click away, maximising your ability to engage with your visitors, capturing new leads and making more sales.
10. Your website will be managed by an expert web designer
Web developers don’t just design websites. Some, like ourselves, also manage and maintain websites. This is a win-win situation, because you have the company who created your website, making sure that it’s performing well all the time.
This can include your web designer maximising your website’s security, analysing threats, taking backups, improving speed, upgrading software, and performing website content or development tasks. And so much more, to help you get the most from your marketing investment.
After all is said and done, the benefits of engaging an experienced and highly skilled web designer cannot be overstated. It’s often the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful online business, and it’s worth every dollar.