2 months ago | Web Design

2020 is upon us, and professionals are faced with more options than ever for web design. Everyone needs a website – but how do you decide whether to hire a web designer, or opt for a template or page builder?

What are your web goals?

In other words, what are you hoping to accomplish by creating or redesigning your website? Most businesses aim to accomplish one of these seven goals with their websites:

Marketing

Businesses of all sizes rely on their websites to drive traffic and sales – both online and in-person. An engaging, well-developed website can generate a large return on the website’s investment, making a huge difference in your business’s bottom line.

Right off the bat, if your business is large enough to include its own marketing team or employ an outside marketing firm, you need to hire a web design firm for your website. A web designer will be able to make the most of your marketing data and objectives from an online perspective, developing a uniquely suited solution for your company.

You should consider hiring a web designer if:

  • Your business relies on internet-based marketing to drive sales
  • Your business needs to take advantage of SEO to reach its marketing goals
  • Social media integration, tracking, and advertising is important to your business
  • Your business has a unique branding identity that must be communicated through its web design
  • Your business has the budget to employ an in-house marketing team, or hire an outside marketing firm, and needs to leverage their data to its greatest capacity online
  • Web-based metrics like page load speed and sales funneling are important to your business’s bottom line

You may be better off building your website on your own if:

  • You operate a small business, and a robust web presence is not crucial to its immediate success
  • You don’t need to communicate your branding or mission through a website design or layout, or you don’t mind using a pre-made template or page builder
  • Your business primarily relies on word-of-mouth for marketing, and only needs a website for basic marketing needs

Services

Service businesses often rely on their websites to serve their clients, and advertise their services to potential customers. These businesses may include:

  • Appointment-based businesses, such as:
    • Health and veterinary clinics
    • Private teachers and tutors
    • Hair salons
    • Personal trainers
    • Tattoo parlors
  • Entertainers
  • Yoga and fitness studios
  • Mechanics
  • Delivery businesses, such as:
    • Restaurants
    • Couriers
    • Shippers

If you operate a service business in need of a big web splash, you likely need a web designer to generate the most new leads.

Your service business should hire a web designer if:

  • You operate a consulting firm, appointment-based business, or delivery business
  • You need a reliable means of driving traffic to your website, and converting that traffic into new leads
  • You need to integrate with a third-party service to connect with customers. Examples include:
    • Mindbody
    • Seamless
    • ChowNow
    • Acuity Scheduling
    • Calendly
    • TimeTap
    • Phorest

You may be better off building your website on your own if:

  • Your target audience generally doesn’t find your service business through online searches and links
  • You don’t use social media or third parties to advertise your business’s services
  • You only need a simple web presence and a basic e-mail based contact form

Communication

If you run a media outlets, blogs, writers, and reviewers/critics are examples of businesses that use websites to communicate with their audiences. Governmental entities and healthcare organizations also communicate important information through their websites.

Depending on how crucial communication is to your business, you may need a web designer to build your platform and reach a wider audience.

Web designers can help your business communicate more clearly if:

  • You need a blog geared towards user interaction and commenting, article sharing, or active discussion
  • Your business needs multiple levels of categorization, tagging, and deep linking for its communications
  • You want to leverage all the tools available to increase the reach of your platform (SEO, newsletter signups, social media integration, etc.)
  • You anticipate having a large audience and need a rock-solid, secure web-based platform for your business’s communications
  • Your business communicates vitally important information (news media, healthcare organizations)
  • Your communication business relies on automation and integration with third party services (RSS, Zapier, Integromat, ITTT, social media posting) to get the word out

You may be better off building your website on your own if:

  • Your web presence will consist of a simple blog that fits within the bounds of a Squarespace or WordPress template
  • The visual identity of your communication platform is not important
  • You just started a blog, review, or news business and don’t have an audience or web presence yet (In these cases, it’s better to use a template at first and revisit a custom design once the audience grows)

Retail

Thanks to the proliferation of services like Shopify, Squarespace, and BigCartel, the online retail industry has grown considerably over the last decade. The playing field has never been more level for online retailers.

Online retailers looking to scale should definitely consider hiring a web designer, as multiple third party integrations and analytics are required to get a leg up on the competition. Small, low-volume retailers, on the other hand, have multiple options to develop their web presence.

Your retail business will highly benefit from hiring a web designer if:

  • Your online retail business and its products have a clear branding identity or image that should be conveyed through your website’s design
  • Your online retail business needs to integrate with CRM (customer relationship management) software like Salesforce, Hubspot, or Zoho
  • Your business sells a wide variety of products
  • Your products need to be categorized or cross-sold
  • Your products need to be customized, filtered, or have options that must be chosen by the user
  • Your business runs marketing promotions for your products (discount codes, flash sales, first-time customer discounts, etc.)
  • Your website needs to integrate with third party services to sell its products (order fulfillment, warehouses, etc.)

You may be better off using a service like Shopify or Squarespace on your own if:

  • You’re an independent seller with a small stock and a handful of products
  • Your branding identity is not important as a retailer
  • Your retail business mostly relies on local, in-person traffic and doesn’t expect many online customers

Integration

Some businesses (especially those within modernized industries) utilize their websites to integrate with core business services. Examples include:

  • Connecting a contact form to a CRM
  • Integrating advertising or affiliate services
  • Managing retail inventory
  • Handling contracting using online signatures
  • Generating project invoices
  • Interfacing with delivery services
  • Connecting with APIs from other applications

Any business that requires this level of web integration should definitely hire a web designer. API integration, in particular, introduces many variables into a site’s structure that are best addressed by a professional or a team.

Integrations often involve authentication protocols and transmission of sensitive data, so it is highly recommend to hire a web designer/developer for your project – from both a functional and security standpoint.

Competition

When opting on a web design direction, you should also consider your business’s competitors. These days, so many websites look the same, due in large part to the prevalence of web-based page builders like Wix and Squarespace.

Is your competition stuck with a cookie-cutter website? Or, do they have a sleek, custom-built setup that looks stunning and engages visitors? Either way, hiring a professional web designer gives your business a leg up on the competition – especially if the competition has an outdated or uninspired website design. Professional web designers and developers also help you take full advantage of SEO by keeping up-to-date with industry standards, and using SEO best practices while developing.

Many of the websites we’ve created at Bushwick Design have been redesigns that have helped companies drive sales, generate revenue, and eclipse the competition. These include Brooklyn SolarWorks and Highview Creations, whose previous sites were Squarespace implementations.

Building an Online Presence

Some businesses are brand new to the internet, and simply need to establish a web presence. Others have outdated websites and are in dire need of a refresh. Depending on scope, budget, and industry, hiring a web designer can be a huge boost for an emerging business.

A web designer can drastically help with building your online presence if:

  • Your business already has a website and needs to refresh its design
  • Your business already exists, but doesn’t have a website and wants to make a big impact with its web presence
  • You have a distinct branding identity in mind (Software builders and templates like Squarespace and Wix often confine your design to cookie-cutter layouts that do not communicate a distinct identity)
  • You have a budget and want to make the most of your web presence immediately

You may be better off using a website builder on your own if:

  • Your business is brand-new – in these cases, your budget would likely be better allocated towards other startup costs and immediate needs
  • Communicating a distinct branding identity is not important to your business
  • Your mainly need a point of contact online, and don’t initially need to reach as many people as possible with your website

Summary

All in all, it’s recommended to hire a web designer in most cases. Websites usually serve as crucial marketing and sales outlets for businesses, and deserve the attention of a professional. Professional web designers and developers have extensive experience with content flow, layout, typography, mobile/responsive design, and page load speed.

For some brand new businesses or sole proprietors/freelancers, web design may not be the highest priority, so a web builder or template can suffice. However, for the majority of businesses, hiring a web designer provides a direct boost to your business’s success and bottom line.

Need help getting started with your website? We’re here for you. E-mail hello@bushwickdesign.com to learn more about our website design and development services.

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