When I originally considered writing this article, I figured I’d quickly convey all the main points of why you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a professional web designer / web developer, however after giving it some thought, I realized that there was simply no way to keep it short enough for a single article, so instead I’ve decided to break it down into a few articles, each hopefully "bite-size", but still fairly comprehensive without getting too techie that people who don’t have experience with websites would still be able to understand the inside vernacular that web developers tend to use.
Building a web site, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just one thing. It’s actually a whole lot of things that all come together to make one big thing. In a way, it’s similar to building a car. You have the people who just design the look of the car, other people who design the engine, others who design the interior, others still who design the suspension and so on. There still seems to generally be a mind-set that "oh I know a person who built a website once, or made their own Facebook page. I’ll get them to build my company website", or "my nephew knows computers, he’s always on his XBox or i-thingamajig". This is usually the beginning of a very big mistake. Over the years, web design and development has become so many specialties within specialties that no one person can possibly know them all. Period. Sure, one person can make a small, simple and semi-functional site. But they won’t know all the little things one needs to do in order to make a website go from just so-so, with little to no traffic, to one that looks and feels professional, with good user experience, fast page load times, displays dynamic content, is editable through and administrative area, is secure or so many other possibilities.
When considering your website, you need to ask. Do they have real design sense? Do they understand composition? Contrast? Are they familiar with user experience on the web? Do they know how to design for color blind people, for poor vision or non-sighted users, for the search engine robots that ultimately send people to your site based on their amazingly complex algorithms? Do they know anything about browser compatibility testing? Do they know how to use or even own the tools of the trade? Do they know how to write portable CSS or all of the best practices that allow your site to download faster, which ultimately gives you a better ranking in Google and other search engines and your users a better overall experience, which makes them feel better about your company or brand?
These are just a few of the points that need considering. Being a web designer or web developer are a set of skills that takes years to learn and even more years to master. For example, I could put a band-aid on someone who was bleeding, but that wouldn’t make me a Doctor. While certainly web development isn’t as important as being a doctor and I certainly wouldn’t compare what web developers do to the level of importance as what a Doctor does, but the analogy is apt enough. Sure, someone may know how to write a few lines of HTML, but that does not make them a web designer or a web developer. They might even be really good in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, but that still doesn’t make them web designers. Becoming a professional web designer or web developer only comes from years and years of reading, research, thousands of hours of practice, trial and error, and since the web is always changing, the desire to never stop learning the latest cutting-edge techniques. Looking at each project and figuring how how to make the next project even better.
So, with all that being said, I hope you’ll read the following articles in the series that looks at several points more in depth. Even if you don’t choose Level One Web Design to build your website, it’s important that you come away with the understanding that when considering your companies website, don’t think about just saving a few dollars and getting a sub-par site that you won’t be proud of showing-off. Get it done right and it will pay for itself in dividends.
Here are some links to the continuation of this article series.
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – Design
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – Semantic Markup
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – Accessibility
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – SEO
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – Security
- Why you should use a professional web designer / web developer – Browser Testing