Should You Design Your Own Website?

If you're anything like most small business owners, you probably think that web site design is expensive - possibly too expensive for you to justify the expense. If that's the case, then it can be tempting to just design your small business web site yourself. You have a computer, complete with Microsoft Frontpage, you have a copy of Photoshop - why pay a web designer when you could just do it yourself?

Well, here are a few reasons why a DIY website may not be the best possible solution for your small business:

1. An amateur web design = an amateur small business

You may think you're pretty handy with the old Frontpage, but the truth is that an amateur web design is pretty easy to spot - although sometimes that's not clear to the person who designed it! Think about it, though: you've invested in stock, equipment, advertising, marketing for your small business - why not invest on your web design too? An amateur web site will make your business look amateur - which means that all of that other investment will go to waste.

2. Do you know how to optimise your small business web site for search engines?

The type of web design you go for will have a huge impact on whether or not your small business shows up on search engines. There are a lot of different factors to take into account here: meta tags, keywords and content to name just a few. WYSIWYG editors like Frontpage also add a lot of unnecessary code to your design, which increases your file size and confuses the search engines - as does invalid code. If you didn't understand any of that, you'd be better off leaving it to the experts!

3. Do you know how to make your small business web design accessible?

Your web site design will look different on different browsers - unless you know how to make sure it doesn't! For example, the site you designed that looks fine on Internet Explorer could look completely different on Firefox, and vice versa. You'll also need to consider accessibility for people who are visually impaired: certain colour schemes are more difficult to read than others, and people who are colourblind may not be able to view certain graphics or coloured text. Are you confident that you can design a website that will be accessible to all? If not, leave it to the experts!

4. What do you really want to get out of your small business web design?

Stop for a moment and think about what you hope to achieve from having a small business web site. Do you want to increase your sales, boost your profile, or just advertise your services? Are you confident you can create the best possible web design to do that? If not? well, you fill in the blanks!

But I can't afford a professional! They charge too much!

Well, some of them do. Not all web site design is expensive, though. First of all, ask yourself what a good web site design is worth to your small business. If it's worth having a website, it's worth having a good one - and you may find that it's not quite as expensive as you might think.

Amber McNaught is co-owner of Hot Igloo Productions Ltd. - the small business specialists. Hot Igloo offer a range of services to businesses, including website design, public relations, internet marketing, copywriting and more. Visit their website at: http://www.hotigloo.co.uk

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