Having a website is a necessary part of doing business in today’s market. Deciding on whether to build the site yourself or seeking professional website development is a tough decision.
While there are cost-effective options for getting a website up, these sites are not always the best representation of your brand. In many instances, hiring a professional web developer to modify a theme or build a site from scratch might be the best decision.
7 reasons to invest in professional website development
If you’re on the fence about how to have your site created, here are seven reasons to invest in professional website development.
1. Professionals can customize beyond templates
That’s not to say that you can’t customize, but professionals have a ton of experience when it comes to design, and they might have a few tricks up their sleeves you might not be aware of. If you opt to go it alone, you’d probably find a template (some even come free when you sign up for certain hosting plans), maybe make a few adjustments, and call it a day. Unfortunately, that would leave you with a site that looks like a hundred or so other websites using that same template.
A professional web developer can help customize your theme or build one from the ground up to your specifications. Hiring a professional also means optimizing your website for SEO. Salesforce explains that 72% of buyers start their purchasing journey on Google. To take advantage of this, you need to have a website that ranks in Google. If someone doesn’t see your site on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs), chances are they won’t go any further. By including SEO, your website can achieve a higher search ranking. If that’s not something you know how to do, then the potential added traffic alone is well worth investing in professional website development.
2. The ROI is worth the initial cost
Hiring a professional from the start makes sense for many reasons. First, an attractive website can help generate more leads and prospective clients. In 2020, 51% of small business owners increased the number of online interactions they had with clients. A quality website can go a long way in generating online interactions with clients.
Second, by going with a website developer from the beginning, you can avoid having to redo your site later. On average, 94% of negative feedback on a website is related to design. Hiring a professional from the beginning can help avoid that headache. Not only can retroactive development be more costly, but it can also cause site downtime, which could result in lost business and a poor user experience — not a great reflection on your brand.
Third, you’re probably not a web developer yourself, which means you might not have accurate expectations for your site. Hiring a professional from the start can help reign in your expectations or provide more insight into how you can build the best site possible to meet your needs.
Costs for professional website development is impossible to predict because it depends on the size of your site, scope of intricacy, and timeline constraints within which you’re working. In many cases, it’s well worth the investment to create a custom website that is designed specifically for your users.
3. You can choose the right developer
How do you decide which website developer to use to meet your business needs? Get several quotes and ask the following questions:
- Are all services in-house or are some subcontracted?
- Is the developer local or remote?
- Who else has worked with this developer?
- Has the developer worked with other companies in your industry?
- Can the developer refer you to people who offer services they don’t supply, such as photography or web content?
- Is the website built using a content management system (CMS)?
- Do they include updates, or is that something you’ll have to add on down the line?
Check out how customers feel about the developer by reading online reviews. Your website speaks for your company, and first impressions mean everything. Don’t settle for a subpar design.
4. Managing your own content is still possible
A CMS, such as WordPress, allows anyone with access to edit web page information without needing any background in HTML or coding. CMS platforms make it easy for anyone to add and adjust elements on their website in real time.
Depending on your needs, there are free CMS platforms, like WordPress and Drupal, that offer flexibility and support for many developers. If you have the budget and need a completely unique content management system, you can have the developer build one from scratch or pay for a premium system. Generally speaking, though, using a platform with plenty of documentation will make it easier down the road if you don’t want to lean on a developer every time you run into a problem.
5. eCommerce functionality is doable
If you plan to sell products online, then you need to make sure your site has eCommerce functionality. You’ll need features like:
- Payment gateways
- Order processing and tracking
- Multiple product pages
- Multiple shipping options
- Process for returns and reorders
- Inventory management
Those, among other important features, are some key highlights designers can include in any eCommerce design. If you opt for a WordPress site, then WooCommerce and its hundreds of extensions might be the way to go.
6. Your site will be mobile-friendly and responsive
Browser incompatibility seriously hurts business. Different browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Safari, Google Chrome and others, use different standards for displaying web pages. A professional web designer knows what looks good in one browser might not load in another. Responsive web design is a must.
With professional web development, you can expect your designer to build a site that appears properly in all browsers. Moreover, a majority of users browse the web on their mobile devices and tablets. This means that if your website is not dynamically built, the user experience will not be consistent from one device to the next.
7. Websites are constantly changing
Technology breakthroughs happen every day, and the internet changes constantly. Staying up-to-date on new codes, software and fresh marketing ideas takes time. Do your customers need to complete forms? Is a map necessary to find your street location? Will a photo gallery enhance your products? Do you want to add video or incorporate RSS feeds? Running your business takes up enough space on your plate, and you probably don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of every feature.
Although some DIY websites include similar options, designing the site to fit your exact needs takes a professional, and the more user-friendly your site is, the easier customers will be able to navigate it.
A lot of these features won’t be as seamless on a template-based build, and you’ll end up spending a lot of time on something a designer could whip up in a few hours.
Whether you’re launching a new website or redesigning an older site, it pays to invest in professional website development. Professionals know the ins and outs of web design, monitor the changes and trends, stay on top of new technology, and constantly build their knowledge base, which enables them to give you an eye-catching website.
Getting a head start
When considering professional website development, it’s important to decide what customizations you need on your website ahead of time. Make a list of the things you’d like to see on your site. Knowing what to expect out of your design makes it easier for both you and the developer.
Then, register a domain name and select a hosting plan. Bonus? Your website developer can offer you priceless insight into the type hosting platform you might need (i.e., shared hosting, business hosting, virtual private server, dedicated hosting, etc.), saving you from potentially purchasing the wrong one.
The functions and controls you need on your website dictate the type of hosting you’ll need. Fortunately, with a professional on your side, you can start off your new venture on the right foot.