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Do not Let Your Internet Designer Maintain You to Ransom!

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Don’t Let Your Web Designer Hold You to Ransom!

Here’s a question for entrepreneurs who want to launch an online business: do you really need a professional web designer to build your website? It’s a question to seriously consider, especially during the current global economic downturn.

Rather than undergo the huge costs involved in setting up a bricks-and-mortar business, today, more and more businesses are deciding to save money by setting up directly on the internet. This trend has led to a massive increase in the number of professional web designers, some of whom are exploiting the ignorance of their customers and holding them to ransom.

Here’s a typical scenario: you have a great idea for a business. You have a tight budget, so decide to set up online. Despite using the computer on a daily basis, you have zero web design skills. This is why you go online to search for a web designer.

You are overwhelmed by the range of options and confused by terms like HTML, CSS and PHP. You ask the advice of friends and get confused even more!. You finally make a decision, perhaps because you’re exhausted by the vast amount of research you’ve done and maybe due to the growing fear that someone else might have a similar idea and will get started before you do.

You choose a web designer who promises to take care of everything for you: registering the domain name on your behalf, setting up email addresses for the domain, designing the website and hosting it. You pay the cost in advance and sit back, waiting for your all-singing, all-dancing masterpiece to be created, attract lots of visitors and start to make money.

A week passes by: you contact the designer for an update, but get no response. Two weeks come and go: still no word. The weeks turn into a month. You persist. Eventually, your designer gets back to you with the ‘finished product’, leaving you with very little scope to make any adjustments to the site. As far as they’re concerned it’s a done deal and they want to move on to a new project.

So, your site is launched. It’s a bittersweet moment for you: the copy is riddled with mistakes, the colours are not quite right and new product images need to be uploaded. You approach the web designer to make the changes and suddenly realize that he or she has a lot of power over you and your business.

You’re kept waiting again, and even worse, the initial low cost of the design has turned into an expensive drain on your resources with every change costing you money. Frustrated, you decide to end your business relationship and go to another web designer. This is when you discover that you don’t actually own your own domain name: it’s registered to the web designer! It takes yet more time and more cost to get your name transferred over to you or indeed to register another name and pay a new designer.

The scenario above is based on reality, but thankfully does not represent people’s experiences with all web designers. There are some good professionals out there. The main point is that if you’re a small business owner, you need to take control and avoid getting into this type of situation. One way to do this is to build your own website. It’s not as scary or as complicated as it sounds!

Developments in web design software have meant that any novice can create their own professional-quality site in a matter of minutes. There are many online website building services available that offer website templates that you can easily modify to create your own unique design.

Before going ahead, you’ll need to be clear about what you want your new website to achieve. Is it to provide a gateway to your business with a handful of pages and a contact form? Is it to provide information on your products and services and allow people to buy them online? Or do you want your website to host a video to showcase your talents? These days, there are online website building services like that can provide all of this for free or at a very low cost.

There are some cases in which you would definitely need a web designer who has specialist skills beyond being able to construct a few pages, but these would be for websites that incorporate highly complex functions.

It’s important to remember that a website is more a marathon than a sprint. In reality, building a website, even with no web design skills, is the easy bit. The challenging part is to keep it fresh with interesting content to attract new visitors and make a living from it. That’s why it’s particularly important for you to seriously consider building your own site and not leaving yourself open to being exploited by customer-unfriendly web designers.

Having someone design a website for you can be an unnecessarily complicated and expensive process, especially if you run a small business and need to update your site regularly. You’d be well advised to explore the many options available for you to build your own website, with an emphasis on packages that include a domain name, email address, professional-quality templates, free hosting, sellers tools, forums, audio jukeboxes, video players, comprehensive user guides and great customer service.

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Don’t let your web designer hold you to ransom!
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