The first question you face when you decide you need a new website is what resources you need to develop it. Traditionally, you would outsource the job to a web designer, but with the rise of website builders for dummies, an increasing number of people decide to DIY it. You’d think that building your own website is the cheaper option. I mean, why would you pay a designer when you can just do it yourself using Wix? Let me explain how this option actually costs you more in the long term.
Doing it yourself is a short term solution
Unless you’re a carpenter, would you build your own house? Probably not. Then why would you build your own website unless you’re a web designer? Like carpentry, web design is a profession that requires a specific skill set, often obtained through formal education. Web design goes beyond what the eye can see. It is about strategically designing a user experience, optimized for goal conversion.
The only reason to DIY your web design is if you are a private person or a startup that don't have the budget to outsource it right now. Note how I wrote “right now”? DIY web design should only be a temporary solution. Sure, it seems cheaper and faster to do it yourself, but unless you’re a professional you do not have the right skill set to design a website optimized to obtain your business objectives. Let’s have a closer look at why you should not DIY it.
Three reasons to NOT do it yourself:
1. Loss of conversions
As already introduced, web design is about designing a user experience optimized for conversion. What is a conversion? Really, it could be any metric. You define what valuable conversions are to you. Generally speaking, a conversion is often synonymous with a sale. Conversions can however also be any action in the customer journey, from a newsletter subscription to a submitted contact form.
Unless it is purely informative, the purpose of websites is to convert users. And conversions are ultimately actions that directly or indirectly generates revenue. Effective websites will therefore be designed to increase conversions. It is about designing a user experience based on psychological principles for user behaviour. You’re not just designing the visual layout of a website, you’re facilitating a customer journey from top to bottom of funnel.
With that in mind, believing you can design an effective website yourself is at best naive. Web design is not based on intuition. It is based on thorough research and knowledge. Without this expertise, chances are high that you’ll end up with a flawed website that will cost you valuable conversions. Outsourcing to a professional designer is costly, but it is an investment that will likely increase your revenue and hence result in a positive return on investment.
2. Loss of time
Is designing and maintaining a website really the best use of your time? If web design is not part of your skill set, then the answer is probably no. Designing your own website takes time away from other value-creating activities. Think about how you value your time and work. What is the return on investment of dedicating your time doing something you do not have the right expertise to do, versus dedicating your time doing what you do best?
3. Loss of budget
Although cheap, doing web design yourself is not free. Even the DIY website builders charge you with annual or monthly expenses to run your website. In designing the website you’ll likely also pay for a whole lot of features and extensions. Now, the difference between a DIY website and a professionally designed website is that the latter will pay itself off in increased revenue while the former will merely empty your wallet.
Why professional web design is a better investment
Now that we’ve established that DIY web design is a waste of not only your time but your budget, let’s have a closer look at why outsourcing web design is a better investment. If you are part of the 73% of companies who invest in design to create a unique user experience, you probably don’t need convincing. If you on the other hand don’t really acknowledge the value of web design yet, here are some stats for you:
- 75% of website credibility is design related (Source)
- 94% of online shoppers don’t trust outdated or poorly designed websites (Source)
- 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to a site because of bad user experience (Source)
- 89% of consumers shop with a competitor after a poor user experience (Source)
How it works: Conversion optimization
There’s no doubt that a flawed website affects your revenue, but let’s have a closer look at how user experience design and conversion optimization can work to your advantage. As earlier discussed, conversions are what drives revenue, and profitable websites are strategically designed to increase conversions. And here’s the thing, conversion optimization is a highly scientific process.
Designing an effective website does not only require extensive market research and thorough testing. It also requires continuous analysis and optimization. Web design is really about behavioral analysis of website users. Using intelligent analysis tools, a web designer can map out the customer journey, identify obstacles that prevent the users from converting and design a seamless user experience to facilitate conversion.
Although equally important, web design is not just about the visual representation of a website based on psychological principles for navigation. It’s not just about layout, color choices and fonts. It’s also about the iterative process of testing, analysing and optimizing. Through A/B testing, you can scientifically test the effect of different website variables to establish what drives conversion and revenue and how to improve it - and this requires the right expertise. To learn even more about websites read our article here.
Leave it to the professionals
So, knowing the complexity of web design and how it directly affects your revenue, are you still convinced you should do it yourself? I hope not. Like any marketing activity, web design is an investment, and if done right it is an investment that will return an income that not only covers the cost, but delivers positive results in the long term. Now, spend your time and budget wisely, and leave web design to the professionals. Read our other article on how to write a website brief and get a free brief template.