I had a client for whom I did a website re-design a number of years ago. Since then the client had been having the site maintained by an employee, in-house, in an effort to save money. That’s all well and good, but the quality of the site had been gradually eroding—margins around content had disappeared, the page banner (and the company’s branding!) had been eliminated on many pages, large, slow-loading graphics had been used in the place of text, and so on…
Let me tell you why it is a bad idea not to hire a professional.
More and more a website is becoming the first impression a potential customer receives of a business. What does it say about a company if its appearance is in disarray? It’s like the paint peeling off your building or a shabby welcome mat—not a very good first impression.
Not only that, but it devalues the money you invested in having the site professionally built in the first place. It’s like buying a new car and then hiring the kid next door to maintain it. He might be able to change the oil but he’s most likely not going to be able to work on the fuel injection system. Over time it will suffer if left in the hands of the unskilled.
So, while the neighbor or friend or employee might know enough to edit the contents of a website, s/he may not have the expertise nor the eye of a designer, a must-have to keep a website looking its best and functioning as it should. S/he probably won’t know how to optimize photos and graphics so that they load quickly and save the site visitor the annoyance of slow loading images and pages. And chances are, s/he won’t have the knowledge necessary to optimize your web pages for the best possible search engine results.
Printed marketing collateral can have the same impact on customers as your website, for better or worse. I have a client for whom I designed some business cards a few years ago—a very nice, clean design, I thought. But when she needed to have cards printed again, she didn’t come back to me to help her with the revisions needed. She just let the printer (or whoever) do the layout. The result was less than satisfactory. The text was crowded over to the very edge of the card—not a professional job in my book. But her business card is the first impression she gives to potential clients!
It’s my firm belief that “you get what you pay for.” I think it’s well worth the money to hire a professional to do the things that are so important to the image of your business and that are critical to your customer’s first impression.