Look, I understand just how much that a professional website costs. I should, because that’s my job – even if I haven’t had the emotional or mental ability to give a quality product to anyone since I left my husband. The knowledge and experience doesn’t just go away because I’m focusing on my own health, instead of work, right now.
There are millions of sites out there that claim that either YOU can create your website yourself, OR will sell you a template, or will claim to be an experienced web professional.
But, let me tell you right now – you get what you pay for. A cheap website gives you NONE of the options or perks that a real web professional does. It’s not just about whether the site is “well designed” or not. It’s not about just “making it pretty.” Let me list for you some of the non-visual advantages you receive:
- All images used on the site MUST have what amounts to a “paper trail.” There will be either receipts from purchases from specific stock image sites (iStockPhoto, BigStockPhoto, Getty, etc), or there will be email exchanges from copyright owners (or the models themselves) granting specific permission to use the image(s). Anything without that paper trail had better be originally created by the web professional themselves.Sites that claim to let the business owner create their own websites leave the business owner wide open to copyright infringement issues. While the “create your own websites” often have warnings, as does Google images, that does not seem to make a difference to the website owners, because they don’t necessarily understand the exact difficulties that copyright infringement can cause for them. They simply think that if it’s on something like “Google Images” that means it must be a “stock image.”
Google Images is NOT a stock image company. Just like with Google Web, all that Google Images does is allow you to search the web for images. The originator of the image (whether that is a designer, an artist, or a web professional) has copyright ownership of that image. Just as with anything else that is published, if YOU do not own copyright of something used in your own creation, you must either receive permission for use, or PURCHASE said permission. Otherwise you get sued by the copyright owner.
- A true web professional understands the best practices on web sites for making it “user friendly.” If your customers cannot understand how to get to what they want on your website, they will leave your website. It’s that simple. What makes sense to you may not make sense to your customers.
- A true web professional understands the needs for security on a website. If you gather any kind of information from your visitors, you have a responsibility to ensure such information is secure.
- A real web professional understands search engine optimization (SEO), and takes the time to help you to understand why it is important, and how you – as the owner of the site – can do things yourself to ensure good SEO. They will also steer you away from “black hat SEO” which can get your website completely banned from all search engines.
- Visually, there is a difference between what is “tasteful and pretty” and what actually works as a design. Good taste alone does not make a designer. There are hundreds of little differences that go into making a good design. You have to have visual balance, effective use of white space, and typography is its own specialization within design. Look at it this way — your 4-year-old may be a prodigy as an artist, but their art at age 18 will be far more sophisticated and effective.
These are just a few differences between doing it yourself and having a professional do it. I wrote an article last year, that offers some insight into what you should look for in a web professional.
So, how does this fit with the article I linked to? I did some research on the Snap Thin website. Besides the fact that it looks like someone’s 12-year-old son created the site, it is definitely created from a “Do-it-yourself” company. If you look down at the bottom of the page, you will see the copyright for the page, in a very light shade of blue (almost as if they were hiding it, hmnmm?) Clicking on one of those links brings up Homestead, which is a “do-it-yourself” company for creating websites. Oh, they offer professionally created sites as well, but if you look at their portfolio, you will find they all seem to look the same – meaning they have basically only one or two “templates” and they use those for every client.
In other words, someone in the doctor’s office created the website. And, they assumed that Google Images (or Bing, or any other Image web search) was a “stock photography” source. And they have just opened a HUGE can of worms for themselves.