By: skylinegridadmin - Published: 27th February, 2015
Web design shouldn't be a product: it should be a service
The underlying idea behind this article is to illustrate the difference between offering web design as a service, versus selling a product, and what it means for the industry and for consumers.
Web design as a service means hiring a web developer, or a team of web developers, who will code, design and implement a website, from concept to inception. This process takes skills and dedication earned through years of industry experience, as well as constantly updated knowledge of trends and technologies. The end result is exactly what the client wants, without compromises, down to the finer details, and on budget.
Web design as a product means to hire a person who is most likely a marketer, rather than a web developer. This person will draft a proposal entailing the implementation of a content management system. Since the most popular CMS platforms are free of charge, anything outside of installing, configuring and customizing the CMS is, well... gravy.
As a consumer, one could say "Well, what's the difference? Am i getting a website for my business or not?"
The short answer is: Yes, you "get" a website. However, if that website costs more than the value of three hours of labor from an actual professional (and i am being generous), it's a ripoff.
What about those "Free" websites?
What could be worst than buying web design as a product? How about buying web design as a utility? Most frequently, when signing up for Internet service, or when buying a web hosting subscription, companies will offer "free" websites, or "free" web design services, as part of the bundle. These offerings fall within the "professional business tool" definition, as much as a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner falls under the definition of "Industrial grade".
DIY web design tools like Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace or similar automated platforms, are marketing vehicles designed to create lateral revenue, by means of turning web design into a utility. Self-publishing tools like Weebly, for example, are set to restrict the ability to create more than a certain number of content pages, limiting the freedom of the subscriber, to offer important and relevant content through his or her website, unless a premium is paid, by the month.
If turning websites into products weren't bad enough, turning web design into a utility service means to actively erode revenue from professionals who are dedicated to the development of great websites, and have a passion for technology.
Would you like to be charged over and over for a website that you have to maintain yourself? What's web hosting for, then?
Yes, there is always a cheaper option. Sourcing web development overseas can cost a fraction of what a local web developer would charge, however the reliability of an industry that relies on unsolicited spam for 99% of its marketing strategy, should be seriously called into question.
From personal experience, at least one out of three clients looking to have a website redesigned, were former customers of firms operating overseas, who somehow disappeared, dropped the project altogether, and in some extreme cases, went completely over budget, after a proper "milking", making the whole situation just a tad too obvious.
I'm not saying it's a typical scenario, but the truth of the matter is that it's easier to get away with theft, when the thieving hand spans across two oceans.
Web design is a service, not a product or a utility.
Hiring a web developer to build a business website, should imply four things:
- What's on the quote is what you pay.
- Subscription services should not include "obscure" maintenance fees
- You pay it, you own it.
- You will be able to edit content and manage the website yourself, without additional help, within the realm of what your business requires.
To that list, i should also add the value of a personal connection, and the importance of building long standing relationships with clients. If you are like me, 100% of your business relies on the strength of your relationships with clients, and since i am self-employed, like many of us out there, it's something i'd definitely continue working on.
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