We recently moved into our new office – quite the step up from our previous digs. Since the space we bought didn’t have a bathroom (I know, who really needs one?) and the layout wasn’t going to work, we ended up gutting the place and creating as close to our dream space as possible.
As many decisions as possible were based on eco-friendly options: cork (renewable resource) and other natural (Marmoleum) flooring, bamboo countertop, no/low VOC paints, reclaimed doors and windows, natural blinds, recycled furniture, etc. Now our office is a space we’re really proud of and inspired to create in.
I would love to be able to say that I did all of the work myself to get our new office from rubble to its current, amazing state. Sadly, that’s not the case. Although I often wish I were more of a builder/repairer/handyman (and, believe me, so does my wife!), I knew such a project was well out of my scope. Not to mention that I don’t have all the necessary tools. If I wanted the place to look great and be of high quality, properly wired, plumbed, insulated, etc., I needed to hire an experienced professional. My contribution was to help tearing down old walls, doing some heavy lifting/moving, coming up with a basic configuration that would suit our needs, and then making decisions on details and approving each step until we ended up with the ideal space we have today.
I could have tried to build our new office myself – why not? There are countless books and videos out there to show me how. But anyone who knows me knows that:
- it would have taken forever;
- it would have been a disaster;
- I would have wasted a large amount of valuable time that I could have used on client (i.e., paid) work; and,
- I would have probably broken a few limbs.
And… after all that, guess what? I would have hired that professional to undo all my mistakes and put everything together properly. Which, likely, would have ended up costing me even more than had I hired him in the first place.
Fortunately, I know my limitations. And because I wanted the office to turn out great and I looked at it as a real investment in many senses of the word, I hired the professional in the first place and am very glad I did.
Well that’s a lovely story, but what does it have to do with your success on the Web? Good question.
The thing is, I see the do-it-yourself scenario play out all too many times when people decide to set up a new website or to redesign their existing one. They figure it’s something they’d like to be able to do themselves or can get their friend’s kid to do it for them (hey, why not, the kid’s a real wiz on the computer!). And doing it themselves will save heaps of money, so why not?
The answer is that they, or that kid, have no experience in designing or building a website, not to mention what sort of content is needed on the site to get results or search engine optimization. Also, they could be using their time much more effectively and economically doing their own line of work.
Some still go ahead with the DIY approach and then, months later, realize the little website they were so proud of hasn’t gotten them any new clients or sales. Other than kudos from some polite friends and relatives, it’s gotten them nothing but frustration. That’s when they decide to bite the bullet and hire a professional. If they had been in that mental space before embarking on the project, they wouldn’t have wasted so much time and money, especially if you consider all the new business that they could have gotten in that time.
Hiring a professional to create your website – or for any service, for that matter – doesn’t have to be looked at as admitting defeat. It’s just a matter of knowing where your strengths lie and how your time can be used most efficiently. It also doesn’t mean you can’t have a say on what the end product will look like. Quite the contrary. Most designers should and do want input from their clients: their preferences in terms of styles, colours, layout, etc. Many even welcome sketches the client may have drawn up and joint brainstorming sessions if the client has a pretty defined idea in mind of what they want to see come to life.
Your website should be looked at as an investment, just as I looked at the renovations to my office. It should be something that you’re proud to show off to your friends, colleagues, and potential clients. And, most importantly, you want it to increase your business and provide value in many ways. If designed and built properly, it’ll pay for itself before you know it.
To get all this, you need to make the decision to do it right. That usually means taking a step back and handing over the reins to a professional web designer who should not only meet, but exceed your wildest expectations. You’ll be glad you did.