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When I’m asked to re-design a website, one of the most common reasons the client gives for wanting to give their site a facelift is that they designed the site themselves. Either they personally did it or a friend of the family has had a go. Although websites are actually written in a markup language that sits ‘behind’ the website you see in a browser, there are several commercial pieces of software readily available – through free trial or pirated copies – that let you author web pages without the need for technical knowledge.

So why pay a web developer if you or someone else can do it gratis? Particularly in this economic climate many may see the importance of a website in a recession but still choose this cheaper option. Here I list a few reasons why you should always use a professional web designer.

The need to be search engine friendly

Have you stopped to think how people will find this new site of yours? Search engines use very complex criteria to determine where your site appears in its listings. Such knowledge does not come to you overnight. To achieve successful search engine results you need to predict the behaviour of your prospective customers and then build your website accordingly.


If and when visitors get to your site, what will they do when they get there? Usability is the fine art of getting people to take action on your site (e.g. fill out a form or buy a product). Web users have short attention spans and little patience; if they can’t find what they are looking for in a short amount of time they’ll leave. A good web designer knows how to make a site usable, that is, a site in which more visitors will take action.

Testing, testing and testing

If you do your own site it will likely be the first one you’ve done. Or at most, you may have done a few other. A good web designer will have been involved in many different sites for many different industries. All this experience goes towards knowing what does work online and what doesn’t. How can you know your site will work for you if you’ve never tested anything out before?

No website is better than a poor website

Even if it’s not a money-making machine, a website can at least help your business by offering you online credibility. Beware though, just as a good site can give you credibility, a poor one can give the impression you lack it. It’s better not to bother with a site that put together a third-rate one yourself.

Making a site yourself doesn’t save you money, it costs you more

I’ve done lots of site re-designs over the years; people soon learn they need to pay for a proper job eventually. So making a site yourself – to save money – ironically costs you more. Even if your first self-designed site was free, think of all those years it’s been damaging your business instead of helping it grow.

It takes years…

Most professional web designers and developers have many years of experience under their belts. A decade, for example, is a long time in terms of the age of the Internet. Even a web designer or developer with that much experience would admit they don’t know it all and are learning new things every day. So what chance does a newcomer have?


Are you still thinking about doing that website yourself? Think carefully. Very carefully. If you’re serious about having a website that makes your business money do yourself a favour and leave it to a professional.

If you need help with your site get a free quote or call me on 07843 483 078.

Tim Bennett is a Leeds-based web designer from Yorkshire. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.