As a tradesperson, whether you're a carpenter, plumber, or other small business owner, you're well aware that your craft is your bread and butter.
However, don't underestimate the impact of a strategically designed, lead-generating website. This digital platform can serve as a vital extension of your hands-on skills.
We all know that word-of-mouth is golden, but let's not forget that people often Google before they even ask their mates for recommendations. A website not only puts you on the map but also helps you stand out in local searches.
Should you enlist the expertise of a professional web designer, or tackle the project yourself?
Creating a basic website might seem straightforward, but crafting one that genuinely drives your business forward requires more thought. Here are the crucial factors you should weigh up before launching your next website endeavour.
1. The Budget You Have Available
If you don't have a budget available, then the decision is made for you. Without cash, you have to bootstrap, and that probably means doing all the work yourself. There are plenty of free tools like logo makers and online photo editors to help you complete the job. You'll have to learn how to use them, though, and if you've never seen a line of CSS code, even the simplest of colour changes can be daunting.
Moving up the scale, £1,000 is not quite enough to pay a website design agency to make the entire site for you. Still, you can do a lot of the initial setup yourself using a website builder and then pay for things like a logo to be professionally produced and theme work to be carried out.
If you have £5,000, then getting a great website design is well worth it, and for more straightforward websites, you won't need to spend it all, so you'll have some money left over for marketing.
Why not get the best of both worlds and opt for a pay monthly website.
2. The Time Opportunity
In life, you'll generally encounter two kinds of individuals—those blessed with financial resources but strapped for time and those who have an abundance of time but who are limited by their financial means.
If you find yourself in the first group, flush with cash but constantly racing against the clock, outsourcing your website development is a logical choice. You don't have the time to acquire the myriad skills needed to construct a functional, aesthetically pleasing website.
Hiring a professional to take this task off your hands allows you to focus on what you do best, whether running your business or honing your trade.
On the flip side, if you belong to the second category, where time is plentiful but money is tight, you're in a position where learning to build your website becomes not just an option but a necessity.
In this scenario, the investment of your time can compensate for the lack of financial resources, enabling you to create a website that serves your needs without breaking the bank.
3. The Type Of Website You Want To Build
Building a simple five-page website using a Wix website builder could take a beginner five days or more to complete. It's probably a days work for an expert, depending on whether they have all the text copy and images readily available.
An eCommerce website with 50 or more products will take a lot longer and require more patience and skills to develop. A Shopify website can take a week to complete in the hands of a skilled developer and a month or more for a beginner.
Yes, you can make a Shopify website "live" in a matter of hours but getting it right requires a lot more than that. Shopify has a pre-launch checklist that will give you an idea of the amount of work involved.
4. Conversion Optimisation
Now we are getting to the good stuff. Conversion optimisation is what separates the amateurs from the pros. It's no good building a website that doesn't convert. You might as well have not started in the first place.
The components that make a great lead machine are copywriting, eye-catching graphics and the ability to analyse a page using tools like Google Analytics. A professionally designed website will save you thousands in pay per click costs because of the higher conversion rate over a poor design.
5. The Skills Required
The number one skill you will need to build a website yourself is patience. If you don't have any of that, then I wouldn't bother getting started.
Depending on what platform you decide to use, you'll have to learn some or all of the following:
On top of learning the techniques required to make a great-looking website, you'll also need to learn how to market it.
If you've ever tried your hand at DIY around the house without the proper tools or knowledge of what you are getting yourself into, you will understand that feeling of being out of your depth.
When the pipes leak water every time you turn the water on, when that last row of tiles looks oddly misaligned or when the wallpaper takes on a life of its own and curls beautifully into your face, paste and all.
How hard can it be? The experts make it look easy because they are experts.
Deciding to build your website distils down to how much you value your time. If you have no budget, you have no choice but to do it yourself. For everyone else, it makes sense to get a website design expert to do it for you.
What to Look for in a Website Designer
Choosing the right website designer is critical to making or breaking your online presence. Here are some key factors to consider when you're on the hunt for a professional to bring your digital vision to life:
First and foremost, examine their website portfolio, giving you a clear idea of their style, creativity, and projects they've handled. Look for designers who have experience creating websites for businesses similar to yours, as this indicates they'll better understand your industry's specific needs.
Reviews and Testimonials
Word-of-mouth is still one of the most reliable ways to gauge the quality of a service. Check out reviews and testimonials from previous clients to get an idea of the designer's reputation. Are clients generally happy with their work? Do they deliver on time? These are crucial questions that past experiences can answer.
Clear and consistent communication is vital in any project, so ensure your designer is easy to reach, quick to respond, and good at explaining things in layperson terms. You don't want to be left in the dark, struggling to understand technical jargon.
Budget and Pricing
Be upfront about your budget constraints. A good designer will be transparent about their pricing structure and give you a precise estimate of the project's cost. Beware of those who are vague about costs, as you may incur unexpected charges.
Some designers specialise in specific industries or types of websites. For example, if you're a tradesperson, you might benefit from a designer who understands your field's specific needs and challenges.
Flexibility and Scalability
Your business will grow and change, and your website should be able to adapt. Ensure your designer can create a site that's easy to update and scale with your business.
By taking the time to consider these factors carefully, you'll be well on your way to selecting a website designer who can create a site that not only looks great but also works effectively to meet your business goals.