Why Buy Web Design?
In a digital market full of free DIY web building software like Wix, Squarespace and all the rest – even most web hosting companies are offering a free DIY web builder with their basic hosting packages! – it can be difficult for a business owner to justify the cost of professional web design. Especially when you’re just starting out. These free DIY site builders promise professional-quality website design for free, all you have to do is let them have their link in the footer. One or two even allow you to remove their branding without paying for a premium account.
But if you’ve ever used one of these DIY web design tools, then you probably know that creating a professional-quality website with no prior knowledge of web design or without touching a line of code isn’t as simple as they make it look on their YouTube ad. Often limited in the scope of what you can or can’t customize on the page, you wind up locked into one of the hundred or so free templates they offer while trying to upsell you to the thousands of premium templates which offer more customization, but are still limited – unless you know what you’re doing and can dive into the code behind the templates. Then you probably have to pay for premium extensions in order to enable functionality like customizable automated email responders and so forth.
What most small business owners wind up with is a presentable website lacking functionality at best and a browser-loaded dumpster fire at worst. The fonts are all wrong, the stock photos are inconsistent and obvious, the logo is bush league, the display jitters as you scroll the pages, the content presentation is stilted, the sitemap is difficult to navigate, and whatever objective you hoped to achieve by having a website is actively counteracted by the website itself. Instead of helping you make money, you’re losing money – even if it was free, you could’ve been doing anything else more productive with the hours you spent painstakingly slapping this thing together. That’s called opportunity cost, and you ignore it at your peril.
At some point, you just have to admit to yourself that you need to hire a professional. But if you truly insist on maintaining that awful DIY site that you worked so hard on and feel so proud of, consider fixing these ten problems on your website (that a professional designer would never have allowed to go live in the first place):
Page Load Time
Your end user has a short attention span. If you’re in the business of selling anything at all, you should already know this. We aren’t going to wait for your website to load. A KISSmetrics report indicated that 47% of users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. 40% abandon the website altogether if it takes more than three seconds. How long does your site take to load a page? How much business have you lost because of it?
Isn’t Optimized for Mobile
Have you ever had to scroll from side-to-side to read content while browsing on your mobile phone? Had to pinch-zoom because the words or buttons on a page were too small? These are examples of bad mobile web design, and many users (like me) will just leave and forget about your website rather than put up with it. It’s 2019, everything on the web should be taking Android and iOS into account in the design phase!
When someone lands on your website, do they know what to do? Where to click to find exactly what they want? What they need to do in order to get what they came for? Remember, short attention spans! Every page on your website should be designed to make the experience as simple, easy and fast as possible for the user.
Nobody wants to have their Spotify playlist interrupted by a video or audio file embedded in your website hijacking their device’s audio channel unexpectedly. Most of us can remember at least one experience where we’ve had our eardrums blown away by an embedded video that opened at maximum volume while we were listening to Kenny G on low. Even more frustrating when the user can’t immediately find the STOP button. You know what happens next, right? Yup. They close the browser tab and forget about ever visiting your website again!
In the early days of search engines and SEO, it was a common practice to include walls of text full of keywords on every page. Google, Yahoo and Bing aren’t ranking pages based on these unreadable text blobs anymore – in fact, they’re penalizing the practice. So stop it.
Typos and Poor Grammar
Polish = Professionalism. If your website is full of copy laden with typos and grammatical errors, users will think some random fool just slapped it together. Which will be true. They will not think that the website is an online representation of a legitimate business. Fix your copy! If the written word isn’t your strong suit, then pay someone to look it over and fix it for you.
There are dozens of websites dedicated to giving away thousands of free fonts. The great majority don’t even require that you give credit attributions for their use. There’s no reason for your website to be using Comic Sans. Most users aren’t going to leave your web page over ugly fonts, but it’s definitely a horrid first impression and makes you look unprofessional. Furthermore, the font you use on your product’s packaging is a major part of your business’s branding and should appear in a place of prominence on your website as well.
Too Many Ads
It’s fine to want to monetize your website. It is not fine to include so many Google ad blocks that the user is never sure whether they’re clicking on your content or an ad. Not only does it make the website look spammy, it also negatively impacts page load times.
Lack of Contact Info
Nothing says fly-by-night like a website that offers no means of contacting a human being. Whether it’s by phone, chat, email or snail mail, contact information makes the user feel safer and more comfortable with your website and your business.
We’re in the Information Age, and users like for information to be available. Even if they’re not going to read it, they want you to engage with them. They want to be able to read about your business, your products and services. They want to be able to be educated about why they should choose you over your competitors. And if the rest of your website is put together correctly, some of your users actually will read this content and it will help you to convert on that traffic. Your blog is your platform for content marketing, so don’t neglect it!