Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Web Builders Devalue Web Designers Work

It can be slightly frustrating for any professional web designer out there when you are questioned regarding your work and how it is worth what they are paying due to the mass amount of advertisements of applications that suggest you can have a your own website up and running at just the click of a button.

Sure, it is very true that you can indeed have a website of your own live within minutes but those kind of services are far from professional, client's may not always realise that and the fact they will assume that is how websites are built can be a little annoying to say the least.

From Freewebs to the entire social networking community such as MySpace and Bebo etc, a lot of the popular websites you visit today now let you alter the way your page looks such as layout and colours or in the case of Freewebs you can completely create a site without a single line of code in sight and without paying a penny.

The difference that really matters when it comes to having a site designed professionally is that you get a lot more than just a better looking and better coded website.

Some of the advantages of having a website coded well as opposed to using any kind of visual site builder.

Accessibility - When a site is created, accessibility is often neglected and you are instantly ignoring a certain percentage of your visitors and quite possibly losing yourself potential leads and sales not to mention that it is actually a legal requirement to make sure your website is accessible to all including blind, deaf partially sighted and any other common disabilities.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - This would be one of your major sources of traffic should you have a well made site, search engines crawl websites with bots than scan the code of your pages to look for keywords and tons of other information to rank you in search result pages, a poorly coded web page just makes the life of those little bots that little bit harder, the term is known as "Code to Content" and you want to keep your code as clean as possible.

Cross Browser Compatibility - Ok, so most of you probably stick to using one browser and any bugs you find you may get fixed and make sure it looks good but only in the browser your using, coding a site so they validate with W3C can help you achieve cross browser compatibility much better than ignoring validation. There are still some minor differences between browsers and how they render your code but for the most part coding well will make sure the majority of possible issues never occur.

Page Load Times
- I can't think of anything more tedious than a page that takes a while to fully load, a lot of load time can be reduced simply by creating pages correctly by which I mean validating and and not having useless code dotted around the place. Many visitors to your website may even hit their back button due to slow page load times so it is something to consider.

Those are a few of the most important aspects of having a professionally made website to consider.

So to sum up this article, you can indeed have yourself a website setup after just a few clicks of your mouse but is that going to give you a website that really works for you? How much do you really care about your visitors experience during their time on your website?

Most importantly, how serious do you want your visitors to take you?

So remember, when you pay good money for web design there is a reason behind it and it is not done in the "Drag Drop" environment that is often assumed.