Apple’s legendary co-founder Steve Jobs once said: “Design isn’t just what it looks like and feels like – design is how it works.”
When you are building your startup’s website, nothing could be closer to the truth.
Remember this mantra – because it’s really important: web developers are not designers.
It’s very rare to find a web developer who is also a good designer. Coding is not the same as design.
Ideally, you should be hiring two experienced individuals who are able to work together to create your website, or a trusted digital agency to manage both – web development and web design – and other key resources like SEO experts, and content creators.
The job of a web developer
The developer’s job is to ensure the website functions the way it should, and is set up correctly in the back end with a solid CMS (Content Management System) so that content creators can maintain and update the site, and so that your website is SEO-friendly i.e. optimised both from a technical and meta, structure and content perspective.
Your web developer should be focused on ensuring page load times are short, and that content can be properly arranged and labelled both in the front and back of your website.
Finding a quality web developer is a hit-or-miss event. If you do decide to hire a web developer then the good ones tend to charge a pretty penny and are often in demand.
We suggest you go on recommendations from business professionals whose opinions you trust. Be sure to ask to see live client examples and ask to speak to former clients to find out how they found them.
The job of a web designer
A web designer is the creative genius who brings the website to life with graphic brilliance. Not only do they consider the visual appearance, but they should also be a pro in how best to layout the information and how the visitor can work with it – what’s known as UX or User Experience – as they navigate around.
Using a graphic designer without web skills is a dangerous move, as they are unlikely to have the technical skills and expertise to consider the different elements.
While a web designer can suggest space holders for content, ideally they should work closely with a web savvy, SEO friendly content creator to ensure that the design and content work in harmony (take it from us, there’s nothing worse for content writers than when a designer gives a content writer a 15 character space to write something that takes at least 50 characters!).
The pros and cons of using tried and tested website builders
One of the most cost-effective ways to create your website fast is to use templates from one of the already established website builders, the main players being WIX, WordPress, GoDaddy, Weebly, or Squarespace.
The pros of website builders
Even if all you have is a simple template, if you have a clear brand image, you can easily tailor it to express yourself fabulously and make your website convert visitors into customers.
If you’re currently on your own and don’t have the time or confidence to design a website yourself then you can still outsource verified designers on these website building platforms to help you achieve what you require. The savings you make are definitely a pro!
A positive benefit of website builder sites is that you can be more in charge of your content and, with some basic skills in-house, you can easily update, maintain and even enhance your website as your business grows.
Another great thing about these sites is that they often offer other key digital marketing tools to connect with your website, such as CRMS (Customer Relationship Management Systems), Email Marketing and secure Online Shop Payment Systems that meet all necessary GDPR and privacy regulations. Backed up with sound customer service teams, a query is usually only a chat or call away.
The cons of website builders
One of the downsides of website builders is that some features are charged at an extra premium, so costs can add up by the time you use them all, however this often can work in your favour, so that you add on features in stages and in line with your own business growth.
Another negative aspect is that not all of these website builders are set up to help you drive traffic to your website as some have poor SEO tools. While creating beautiful websites, Squarespace is one of the builders that definitely has limitations in this area, however WIX is considered a leader in this field, making each step easy to understand.
Whichever way you choose to go, from hiring a web developer and designer duo, or choosing a website builder, we wish you all the best!
Have you had any positive or negative experiences of working with web developers and designers or the DIY website builders that you’d like to share? Let the community know.