Should you use a designer to help you with your website? The depends on a number of factors. I had a designer help me with mine (and I’ll tell you why!), but it’s also perfectly possible to produce a really good website yourself, especially if you use a nice template.
When I decided I was going to redo my website, I got on good old Google and started looking at templates. WordPress templates to be exact. Now, I usually have a designer, well, my lovely designer Amy, help me with my websites. Why? Because she’s better at it than I am. Simple as that. Can I tweak a template? Yes I can. But it would take me eight times as long, it wouldn’t look as good, I’d get frustrated as hell when something went wrong, and I’d always be concerned I was about to break it in a way that meant there was no going back. Although, for the record, I think the latter is quite challenging to do.
So why bother with a template? Because it will save you a fortune. If you have a site built from the ground up by a designer it can be really expensive. It’s just a simple case of time, and creating a completely bespoke website will take your designer a lot of time. For some people, this is the only option – they don’t want something ‘off the peg’, they want something bespoke. And that’s fine. But you’ll have to pay. The other option is the template.
You can get free templates on WordPress. And some of these are nice. Or you can buy a template (I think this one was about $50 ish?). When you buy a template (in my experience!), you get a lot more options and everything is, well, it’s just better. I’m not a designer, but I like nice design, and it doesn’t take a lot to imagine my colours and branding on a nice template, but on a more basic one, I know there’s going to be more design work involved to get it to look like how I want it to. With the features I want. I did discuss the template selection with my designer before I purchased it too, so she made sure that she was happy with the backend and could make the changes easily. Again, this step will save you time and money in the future.
I work with Amy, my website designer, because I really like her work and I have worked with her for years. She understands my quirks. And she’s got a really good eye for design and detail. And I like that. More to the point, I can send her a list of things I want fixing and she’ll do them, while I carry on with the work I do that earns me the money to pay her. I do enjoy a bit of web design, and I love writing the copy, but I know there’s a trade off – should I spend four hours learning to do something that I will probably never need again, or do I ask Amy and pay her for the 30 mins it will take her. Well, probably more like 15 minutes actually. See, it’s that simple. Not only is Amy better at it than I am, it’s cheaper for me to use her…because my time, just like yours, has a value.
Now, there are exceptions to my thoughts above. If I was time rich, I’d have done more myself, because I would have been able to enjoy the process and the learning aspect of it. Because I wouldn’t be thinking ‘my to do list is getting longer and the phone keeps ringing’, I’d be immersed in it. Equally, if I wanted to offer a web development service, I’d put the time in and be Youtubing like a mad thing to learn how it all works.
So, do you need a web designer to create or help you with your site? It’s completely up to you – are you time poor, or time rich? Do you want to learn a new skill? Are you looking to improve your web development skills for your business or is your website just a platform rather than a showcase of your web design skills?