Is investing in website design worth it?
You're probably thinking, 'But Noah, you're a web designer. Of course, you're going to say that.'
Well yes, but actually no.
As Italian designer Massimo Vignelli once said, 'Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.' And he's right.
How many languages do you know?
1? 2? 3? More?
Around half the world only speaks one language.
How easy would it be for you to learn a new language?
Now that depends on a lot of different factors. Your age, your eagerness to learn, the time you have to learn, how many languages you already know.
The list goes on and on. Some people find learning a language easy, others find learning a language almost impossible.
Design is a language and some tools make design easily accessible. But that doesn't always mean that the result will be as effective as you'd like it.
If you were meeting a potential client who spoke a different language to you, you wouldn't necessarily use Google Translate to translate your meeting. You'd likely hire a professional and get them to translate for you.
There are tools designed to make languages accessible for all, but it doesn't always mean that the translation is going to be the one you need. You hire a professional to ensure the translation is correct.
The same goes for design. (Because it is a language)
Rather than using tools that can appear to simplify the process, it's worth investing in someone who understands the language rather than getting by on your own.
So, now that you know that investing in design is important, why should you invest?
Professionals can design beyond a template
Professionals have experience in design, including many tricks and tips for your site that you may be unaware of. Choosing a template means you're likely to change a few colours, swap out the text and think you're done. Unfortunately, that leaves you with a site that will look like 100 others.
Hiring the right professional means your site will be Search Engine Optimised (SEO) and has a greater chance of ranking highly. This is just one of the many advantages of hiring a professional.
Creating a good first impression
It only takes 7 seconds for someone to decide whether it is worth staying on your site or not.
Close your eyes and count to 7.
That's how long it takes.
That may seem like a long time, but that 7 seconds is from the moment someone clicks on a link to visit your site.
In that time your site has to load, become interactive and make an impression.
How often have you clicked onto a site and left almost immediately? If you think about those sites, it's usually because it didn't load quickly, looked boring, or didn't make an impression.
Investing in a website that is built to maximise those 7 seconds is important.
But it's not just a case of keeping a user on your site for 7 seconds, it's about converting them from a user to a customer. This all happens through the design of your site.
You get to choose
Hiring a professional doesn't mean that your site is completely out of your hands. You will get a say in the design, layout and style of your site, after all, it's your business. Here are a few things to take into account when choosing a designer:
Who have they worked with before?
Are they local or remote?
Do they include updates?
What design packages do they offer?
How is the site handled once it is built?
Whether you realise it or not, your website is part of your brand. Even if you're a little charity that's just starting up.
You are a brand.
When someone says 'brand', you might think of Nike, Adidas, Google, Apple... You might not think about it, but having a website is one of the most recognisable parts of your brand. Your brand is more than your logo.
The way your site appears to your users should be the same way you present yourself on social media and in person. Not being consistent breaks your brand down and makes it less cohesive. Breaking down your brand doesn't build trust with your customers because they don't know what to expect with each interaction with your brand.
People expect consistency. They want you to be the same wherever they see you (including your website)
You don't have an endless pit of money, and if you do, then you don't need to worry about design, because you don't need to make a living.
You're not just 'buying a new site'. You're investing in the future.
In 6 months, it would be frustrating to see that the latest trend has been and gone. And let's be real, that's what happens with trends; they come and go. You don't want to be sitting on an outdated trend.
A website that is built to be timeless won't leave you sitting on the last trend but will ensure your site doesn't look outdated in 6 months.
What this doesn't mean is that you can just leave your site alone once it's built.
Like a newborn, your website is all hope and potential and investment come to fruition. Unlike a newborn - thankfully! - there are no nappies or rough nights. Your website might not need daily attention, but it’s too important to let it go without adult supervision indefinitely.
There is a fine balance between constantly having to change the design of your site, because it feels outdated, and leaving it to become outdated.
Invest in a design that stands the test of time, because a professional design will know what the trends are and how to build your site to last.
Your site will work across devices
Choosing to have a professional design your site means that your site is going to look good across all devices. With more and more people accessing websites from their phones, it is becoming more important to ensure your site is mobile friendly.
Different browsers use different technologies and in turn, causes websites to look slightly different across browsers as well as devices. Having someone who understands this stops you from getting a headache trying to fix all the problems you might be facing.
Things to take away
Design is a language. There are tools to help you with the translation, but a professional designer will be able to translate your idea into a design best.
Hiring a design doesn't mean control is taken away from you.
Your website needs to work across devices and browsers.
Your website is one of the largest parts of your brand so should show your brand correctly.
You specialise in your industry, we specialise in ours. Focus on what you do best, and we can focus on what we do best.
Looking for your own site? Need an expert to help? Get in touch and we'll help you on your journey.
Noah Lovell - Web Designer