Recently we received a call from a gentleman looking for help with his website. Nothing unusual about that. What was interesting was that the man built his website using a free web editing program - a hammer so to speak. We checked out the authoring tool and found it to be a pretty neat piece of software - in the right hands. After all, owning a hammer doesn't make me a carpenter....
For one thing, it claims that building your website is as easy as using a word processor. Wow, that means just about anyone can just type in a bunch of stuff and click a button, and they have a website. In fact, the software company also claims that it's ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an "attractive, professional-looking web site" without "needing to know HTML or web coding".
Whoa. Now that's impressive. And a little scary.
If someone gave me a hammer, some nails, and wood, I could build a house. Forget knowing how to read a blueprint, I just need to watch This Old House on TV. How about if I buy a new car for my teenager. According to the mentality of this software developer, I can just let my 15 year old go for a spin, no knowledge of the rules of the road, just watch a tutorial online. That's basically what the software claims. We may use Quickbooks for the bookkeeping, but that doesn't make us accounting professionals... no matter how many times we read the manual (oh wait, that program doesn't come with a manual or any info on accounting! There is a help menu though...). Guess we can trust our tax preparation to that program after all.
The web authoring software maker also claims the program is best suited for the novice web designer. Now there's a conflict of terms. Folks, let's get this one thing straight, there is no such thing as a novice designer - especially in the business world. Would you decorate your home with paintings done by a novice artist? No folks, it's like anything else. Everyone knows how to do something, some folks do some things better than others, and some folks are more experienced or more talented at some things. (Hence the reason we don't do our own tax return preparation!). If you're a student, or if you're building a website for your family reunion, baby's first birthday or other non-business, non-professional application, by all means, grab hold and "design" away!
If you're a business owner, and you've built your own site, or are considering building your own site, or have had the student, wife, sister-in-law, or cousin build your website, remember you get what you pay for. And watch out for the computer companies out there that are "web developers". A website is a tool for promoting and growing your business. Programmers and computer gurus may know how it's all supposed to work, but how much do they know about the impact of color choice and placement, the number of clicks, the order for important information, the call to action rules, and general eye movement around a page? How much do they really know about your target market, where they shop, and how they make buying decisions. These companies are building websites with screwdrivers. They twist until it stops turning and 'wallah" you have a new website. Maybe you saved a little money up front, but in the end what will it cost you?
If your business is in business to make money, make the right decision and don't develop a website, don't create a website, don't do-it-yourself a website, and don't build it with a hammer or a screwdriver. Call a company that designs websites that bring in traffic, capture visitor information, and convert leads to sales - call a professional marketing company that looks at the big picture for your company, its target, and its brand image. Remember, an estimate is always free.
Let Inspired 2 Design talk with you about your company's goals online. You'd be surprised how affordable professional marketing and design is - we've built our reputation on it.