With social media taking over the internet and some businesses not even operating with a website, using only their Facebook page, one has to wonder wether web designers will even be needed in the future. There are also more and more DIY website builders appearing on the market and Google even offers their own “free” version. It is certainly getting easier to either get a website or to not depend on it completely anymore.
So why would you hire a web designer?
Webfanatix recently created a cost effective solution that allowed people to pay a small monthly fee and then they could build their very own website. We offered an easy online checkout and also provided training videos. We promoted it heavily and signed up a few people. 3x months later none of these people had actually completed and launched their websites. Eventually we canned the entire project and we learnt a valuable lesson. Which is: very few people will and want to actually build their own website.
We tried to make it as easy as possible and we spent many hours trying to help and guide client’s, but what they really wanted and should have purchased was our skills and knowledge and manpower to put the final product together for them.
In hind sight, I don’t know what we were thinking really to launch a product like this, because we(and most web design companies) struggle enough as it is to simply get content from our clients, so why would we expect a client to complete the full cycle ON THEIR OWN, without anyone pushing them.
The simple fact is that a website is something that most businesses avoid and leave to the last minute, because they do not like talking about themselves, or they simply have misunderstood concepts and words in the general subject of IT. So they tend to avoid the whole subject and prefer to hire someone to just “take care of it” for them.
If they really wanted to build their own website, they would have started their own web design company, really.
So you see that there will always be a need for web designers like us or experts in the online and web space. Sure there will be 1% that actually are able to build their own website and do their own online marketing, but certainly there is no threat to our market.
What is the real threat to the web design industry?
The real threat to the web design industry is simply the lack of quality and too much competition. From what I learnt in economics at school, competition was supposed to be a good thing for the consumer, but I disagree in this instance. Too much competition in the web design industry has lead to low standards, low prices and many many fly-by-nights. There has been no benefit to the consumer because of this. It is tough to keep a web design company going when your clients can get what they think is the same thing from India for 1/2 the price. Consumers and even web design companies think of a website as a mere commodity, something they just sell in bulk. This viewpoint has lead to many many frustrations on the consumer’s end and also a big misunderstanding.
Buying a website is not like buying a car or a meal. You are buying a service. Without the service component present your website is not very likely to come to be or at least not in the timeline you expected. When a client doesn’t even know how to write content for his website, a cheap competitor would simply not care and focus on the next project and eventually end up with many incomplete websites just hanging and never reaching completion.
There is also a certain amount of push and follow up required to get most web design projects completed, and a professional web design company will be pushing their clients hard to complete, so that they can actually exchange their valuable final product(the website) with them.
The only way we can counter this real threat, is to give service in abundance and educate our clients, so that they do not fall in the trap of the cheap website service. If enough professional web companies did this, eventually the fly-by-nights will start dropping like flies and the pro’s will start earning what they are supposed to, again.