As I was perusing Google News for any updates in the Web design field, I found a questionable article about the dangers of hiring a Web designer. It wasn’t until the end that I discovered that this post was sponsored by a freemium service provider called WebStarts. In their post, they list four reasons why hiring a Web designer is dangerous. Let’s dive in. (article can be found here.)
WebStarts’ first claim is that good Web designers are expensive. This simple statement undermines their entire article. In one sentence that is supposed to support their “expensive” argument, they went ahead and let us know that there are good designers out there that can produce a high quality product. The writer just casually drops an amount it could cost without any reference, suggests you’d pay more for updates, then goes off on a tangent about getting a good deal.
Their second argument claims Web designers are slow–not necessarily slow in the design process, but in updating Web sites. Though depending on the circumstances, the author may have a point. However, his example given is a rather poor one. He said he lost money waiting on his Web designer to fix an error that was actually the author’s fault. And while that is unfortunate, this can happen in any business. I’ve worked as a print designer for several years. When you send something off to print, they send back a proof copy so one may double check their work to make sure it’s error-free. Had the author just taken the time to ensure everything was sound before sending it off to his designer, he could have avoided this in the first place. Personally, I think it sounds as if the author had a bad experience before and is taking it out on all Web designers.
His third claim is they don’t know your business. I truly can’t find the relevance here. A Web designer’s goal is to know your business, not the ins and outs like the author suggests. A good Web designer wouldn’t question a change unless it would make for a ton of work that would be a significant cost to the client. His examples get worse and worse. And his last claim is the worst one yet.
Claim number four says the Web designer can just “vanish” with your Web site. He claims many people get into Web design and have trouble surviving so they move on to other things and leave without a trace. But wouldn’t it be the client’s job to make sure the designer is qualified? This just irks me to my core. A bank wouldn’t hire just ANYONE without a background check. A millionaire wouldn’t just hire ANYONE to clean their home. So why would a business just hire anyone to design their Web site? They wouldn’t.
In the end, this is just an article to scare a business into using a template-based, freemium Web design service. And while these may be suitable solutions for very small businesses, for medium and larger it would not. It will be increasingly difficult to customize these types of sites due to their nature. A Web designer doesn’t just learn design, but they learn coding. And while sites like WebStarts makes it simple to design a Web site without the use of coding, these won’t be ideal for eCommerce sites or large business that will have product pages and other page-types that will rely on databases. A lot goes into Web design than just a few simple clicks. More than likely, if a business is looking for a Web designer, they will either hire a Web design firm or hire their own Web designer.
A good follow-up article can be found here.
Update: Since posting this, Venture Beat has removed the article. I did find a great rebuttal post here.