The web design market is full of options. And it’s especially tough for those of us in the mid to high price tiers. We compete with both discount designers and DIY services that promise the moon (all for one low monthly price).
Therefore, it can be difficult to convince a client to invest in a custom website. They may see that the low cost options are just as good. Or maybe they don’t understand the difference.
It is up to us to educate potential clients about what we have to offer. We need to demonstrate the benefits of a custom website and its long-term value. Here are some tips to make your case.
Explain the Differences
If you offer custom design and development, it’s increasingly difficult to compete based on price. Popular services like Wix and Squarespace offer business owners an easy and inexpensive way to create a website.
Therefore, designers will lose out when the decision is based on initial cost. But potential clients don’t always look at the fine print. It is often the data that shows the true value of a service.
Let’s look at some key factors worth mentioning:
Limited Functionality vs. Custom Functionality
DIY services may offer functionality that a site owner is looking for… or not. They are good at incorporating features that users have come to expect. But they don’t offer everything. If what they have on hand doesn’t suit your needs, you’re out of luck.
A custom website does not necessarily include these issues. If, for example, there is no WordPress plugin for a desired feature, one can be built. You’ll pay more, but you’re also getting exactly what you want.
Nowhere is this more evident than in e-commerce. It seems that no matter how “simple” an online store is, there are always quirks. This often requires writing code or adding a niche plugin. That’s what puts the “custom” in a custom website.
Readymade vs Original Design
Design should be an area where web professionals excel. A custom website is based on your business and the message you want to convey.
This is not the same as pushing your logo into a ready-made theme. The ability to have something unique that fits your specifications is also important.
There will always be those who are willing to sacrifice a unique look in exchange for a lower price. In that case, there are other worthwhile arguments to be made.
Locked In vs Freedom to Move
When you buy into a DIY service, you’re usually working within walled gardens. You can’t take your website with you because the platform is proprietary. Closed systems have some advantages, but they are also a one-way street.
A custom site using an open source CMS will not lock you out. You are allowed to host it almost anywhere. And there are usually tools available to help you migrate to another platform.
Web Designers offer Experience and Expertise
A great website requires several ingredients. There must be a strategy behind its look, functionality and content. Without such goals, it’s easy for your website to become inconsistent and aimless.
This is especially true for small businesses. They may not have a team of experts on hand. It is also an area where an experienced web designer can be an asset.
Hiring someone who knows what they are doing is of great value to clients. A designer can pick up on those little details that would otherwise not be there.
An organization’s website is too important to be trusted by anyone less than an expert.
Building Successful Long Term Relationships
Web designers often build long-term relationships with clients. And we are there to provide expertise, support and advice. Those things cannot be easily replicated or replaced.
It’s an important distinction and an important selling point. The ability to communicate easily with a designer is key. It is also an advantage over large conglomerates. It’s definitely a good idea to wait on a support representative (who may or may not be able to answer your question).
In addition, the personal relationships we develop with clients mean we are invested in their success. They are just another number. They are someone you can count on to provide great service.
A reliable partner is worth its weight in gold. It’s one less thing for a business owner to worry about.
Investment in Growth
When speaking with a potential client, keep in mind that building a custom website is a long-term investment. It is something that can evolve and grow with their business. Although the budget is an understandable constraint, you get what you pay for.
Many of the low cost site builders provide a respectable product and have a legitimate place in the market. But in general, they are for those with either very low budgets or a true DIY spirit.
Frankly, most organizations don’t have the time to put things together themselves. They also don’t have the design or marketing expertise to create something with impact. Depending on the tool they use, some get frustrated with the process and decide to hire a professional.
Business owners tasked with doing it themselves on a limited platform may be wasting their time. It also takes them away from their real strength – running their business. This can stall growth and negate any initial cost savings. That’s kind of big.
Custom Websites are usually the Best Choice
In fact, freelancers and small agencies aren’t the only game in town when it comes to web design. But we still offer a level of service and expertise that is hard to match.
Those who want a website are hearing mixed messages about which way to go. Some site building tools can allow massive advertising campaigns to use their services. The rest of us have to rely on the quality of our portfolio and our communication skills.
Fortunately, that more personal approach allows us to show our true worth.