Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Warning: The following article is not for the faint of heart. There are myths exposed that may revolutionize the way you view the mystery that is web design. So let's get to it.
Myth #1: Web Design is Tough to Do
This is a myth. Web design, dear reader, is easy. It's as easy as typing a letter, all you have to do is learn the basics and you go from there. There are a million professional overpriced web designers out there who may be a bit hesitant to let you in on this little tidbit. And understandably so.
Of course, we must draw a distinction between Web designers and Web developers. Web developers (in general) need to know sound Computer Science and systems development principles to correctly structure programs and large dynamic web applications that perform and deliver complex functions. This takes training and usually years of study and/or experience.
Web Designers, however, need to know how to use Dreamweaver, Frontpage, and a couple of graphics programs. Training for which is easily and freely available on the Internet.
In all fairness, the more you practice the better you become, so I'm not saying you can be the best Web Designer on the face of the planet just by reading a few articles, but I am saying you can become a decent web designer just by reading a few articles.
It's no big deal. I've done it, and so can you.
Myth #2: Web Design is Going to be Expensive
NO. Web design does not have to be expensive. This myth is perpetuated by people who charge outlandish prices for building a website. There is no justification for these kinds of prices because the skills needed to design a website are easily attainable and there are MILLIONS of people who have attained them.
Make no mistake dear reader, the supply of web designers is massive and the skills are cheap to learn. The prices should reflect this surplus but they don't. Web designers routinely charge clients through the nose for skills that are fast becoming a commodity.
Web designers usually charge by the hour. If it is an independent web designer or a small web design company, you can assume that the entire hourly rate is going straight to profit, which leaves you a LOT of room for negotiation.
In bigger web design houses, the designers are on salary, and the company usually will charge a sizeable markup. I've been involved with some companies that charge close to 6 times as much per hour as their designers were getting paid. Again, quite a bit of room for negotiation. So if you must get a web designer to do the job for you, don't let them take their hourly rate for granted, call them on it.
Or, you could just do it yourself for free :-). Or if you don't have the time, you could just get an existing employee, cousin, niece/nephew, who-ever that knows a bit about computers to spend some time on this site and others like this one and make a decent website at the end of it. I bet you it will cost you a lot less than a $ 50.00/hr if he or she starts off with a template. (Try (http://shop.webrightnow.com) for starters).
Myth #3: Web Design Requires Specialized Knowledge or a Degree or Understanding of Theory
Wrong. First off, dear reader, there is no such thing as Web Design Theory or a degree in Web Design. If you have seen a Degree program advertised, please don't take it, it is likely a rip off.
Sure, there's computer science theory, database theory, telecommunications theory, systems development theory, but mark my words when I say that is no theoretical or academic school of thought for web design. Web Design is simply a skill that can be easily attained by doing.
I like to think of it like Home Depot. Their slogan is 'You can do it. We can help.' There is a massive trend in the Home Improvement industry towards the 'Do-it-Yourselfer'.
You don't have to have specialized knowledge to build a deck or a patio for your backyard, or finish your basement, or put in a chandelier. You just need to get the plans for the deck, know how to use a hammer and a few other tools, and the good folks at Home Depot will give you all the information and materials you need to do-it-yourself. And guess what? You save a huge amount of money and learn a lot at the same time. What more could you ask for?
Web design is much the same nowadays. It's just so easy to grab a template, grab some software tools and just dive in and be making your own website in no time at a fraction of the cost.
Myth #4: Your Website Needs to Look GREAT to be Successful in Online Business
When you are extremely thirsty and need water, do you care what container the water is carried in? I'm guessing you are more concerned with the water in the container. In the same way, your potential customers or readers are thirsty for information.
People come to your website for one thing and one thing only: Information! Information about your product, how to buy your product, and how to use your product. Otherwise known as Content.
Content, dear reader, is king.
* Keeps people coming back.
* Gets you high search engine rankings.
* Sells your product!
* Establishes trust.
* Holds your customer's hand through all their fears and objections until they finally click on that darn 'buy now' button, or fill in that request for a quote.
Forget banner advertising, link exchanges and search engine optimization and all the other Internet Marketing techniques. Those don't mean anything if you do not have content that your visitor finds valuable.
Your content is the single most important part of your website.
Content content content.
Did I mention content?
This little fact takes the success of your website out of the hands of web designers and puts it in yours. Because you are the content expert, and you know more about your product and service than anyone else.
Of course, you don't want a website that looks really bad,, but to be successful, you need to satisfy your visitor's thirst for content. So why spend big bucks on the container, when the content is what will be getting you the sales and repeat visitors?
Bottom line, dear reader, is to put your time, money and effort where it will get you the most returns: developing your content!
So, dear reader, I will leave you with this: don't get caught up in Web Design hype. Spend some time on websites like this one and you will know all you need to know to be successful on the web.
But if you MUST hire a web designer, grab a template from our website (www.webrightnow.com) for few dollars, and get them to customize it for you. It will look good and you will cut your project time down by a huge amount.
About the Author
Sameer Hasan of Webrightnow.com (http://www.webrightnow.com) is dedicated to making Web design affordable and accessible to all those who need it. Sameer has a degree in both Marketing and Management Information Systems and has been working with the Web since 1996.