Wait a second! Did we just refer to web designers as throw pillows, people with no real value to add to your web project?
Guess we did, and we’re not retracting any part of that statement – no matter how much it ruffles some people.
I hope that at the end of this lengthy post, I’d have convinced you to use the little money you have on something else other than hiring a web designer. I’ll try to put you wise to some cheaper ways to create a great-looking website.
Web designers will hate me, but who am I to care!
The truth is you have far more important stuff to focus on than losing your peace over a piece of website.
A Fancy Design Won’t Solve Your Problems
A website isn’t some piece of jewellery or some fancy car whose looks alone is enough to attract customers in droves.
It’s after you start running your business that you’ll realise web design was the least of your problems.
Here’s the question to concern yourself with before you even think of hiring a web designer:
- Is my offer or product line compelling enough to my target market? Does it address their needs to their satisfaction they need, or does it need some major improvement?
- Do I have a rock-hard strategy to acquire new customers for my offering repeatedly?
- Is my business model attractive enough to generate healthy cash flow?
- How do I plan to address some of the challenges that I’m likely to face in this industry? Do these challenges align with my instincts?
- How do I minimise the amount of risk that my business is exposed to?
As you can see, web designing doesn’t appear to solve any of the key concerns I have raised. Of course, you need a good design, but that comes at a much later stage in business when you’ve ironed out some of these issues we’ve highlighted.
A great design won’t pay off your bills or sort out your rent. If you’re operating from an office or physical location, you want to begin by making sure your business is generating enough revenue to cover the rent and other expenses.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you have the best website in the industry, and yet you’re still struggling to pay your bills. So yes, save that money for things that really matter and focus on getting your business off the ground first before you can think of hiring a web designer.
You’d be surprised by how much you can do with a small website. For all we know, some clients are understanding, and will, therefore, judge you on the quality of your products or services, and not your web presence. So, as long as you have the best product in the market, you can be sure of landing a few jobs to accelerate your career even with an ugly website.
Do you need a web designer to set a simple site?
The answer is NO.
With as little as $30, it’s possible to get a canned theme for your project. You can even invest in a good theme builder for as little as $100 and get to design your first website.
In other words, it’s possible to get your site up and running for less than $200.
With this site, you’ll still land gigs, get amazing jobs, close clients, and even raise enough income to support yourself.
So before rushing to a web designer to talk about your web project, make sure you have a great offer that you won’t have a hard time convincing customers to expend their hard-earned cash for.
Also, figure out how to get to your customers consistently. So, should it get to a point where you’re spending money on your project before hitting this milestone, just know that you’re wasting it.
You can Buy a Theme for as Little as $30
Which of these two options makes more sense?
- You spending more than SGD 10, 000 on hiring a web designer?
- You taking a few hours scouring the net for an SGD60 theme?
To get a stunning website that’s professionally done and worth all that effort, SGD 10, 000 is a reasonable estimate.
This is a decision you’d one day have to make, just that it’s not something you’d want to do at this stage of business. Once you grow your business and start making close to that amount of money, then forking out SGD 10, 000 for a professionally done website won’t be that much of a big deal to you.
Also, at this point, your business would have grown big enough to warrant a big spend.
Building your own site shouldn’t be that hard with a platform such as WordPress. You’d be surprised by how much you can achieve with this CMS program.
You can start by heading over to ThemeForest and selecting a professional theme. It should cost you about $30 (SGD 41) to $60 (SGD 82) to acquire a new theme. The next thing you want to do is purchase a domain name and hosting. This shouldn’t cost you more than $50 (SGD 69).
Now go ahead and install WordPress, followed by the theme you chose, and you’re good to go. You could even hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork to help you customise it the way you want, and you’d have created your website for less than $200 (SGD 273).
For an e-commerce site, you might want to check out with Shopify or Magento. These two e-commerce platforms pack tons of features and high-end themes that you can use to set up your e-commerce store in a matter of minutes.
Many of the themes offered on these two platforms are absolutely free. However, you might want to shell out about $180 (SGD 246) for a premium theme.
Out of the two, we recommend Shopify, which also happen to be the most recommended e-commerce platform on the web.
To keep it brief, you don’t have to waste a huge chunk of your start-up capital on hiring a designer. Not when you can still set up a good site without spending more than $300 on the site and still manage to come up with something convincingly good.
For a Basic Site, use Squarespace Instead of 17 SGD ($12).
Do you find WordPress or Shopify too complicated? You have an even easier alternative.
As one of the leading website builders on the market, what this platform tries to accomplish is make website building easy enough to be executed by anybody, regardless of your prior designing experience. If you’ve ever opened a Facebook account before and uploaded a profile pictures, rest assured you’ll be able to work your way around Squarespace.
It’s basically a drag and drop editor that lets you build your site in real-time by simply dragging and dropping all the element you wish to see on your site. It never gets easier than this, guys. Nothing to install. No complicated settings.
You just have to log into Squarespace and follow the instructions provided to get it done. Plus, you get to choose a theme from the options provided and then proceed to make minor tweaks to it until you’re finally able to create a site that you can use.
Squarespace is a great platform if you’re looking to create a simple, static website for showcasing your business and what it is that you do. Where you need to create a website that’s a little rich in feature and functionalities, we’d recommend that you try working with WordPress instead.
Consider working with WordPress if you’re concerned about SEO or wish to run a blog section on your website.
Squarespace is much simpler to use than WordPress. However, WordPress allows you to add more functionalities to your site through the simple use of a plugin.
For an e-commerce site, we’d advise you to use Shopify instead. And only use Squarespace when you’re sure your site won’t need anything more than a homepage, an ‘about us’ page, and a contact page.
Regardless of what option you choose, the good thing is that you won’t need a web designer to deflate your pocket.
Designing Your Website Using Wix
No other platform beats Wix as far as the drag-and-drop method of building a website goes. With this approach and this design, you can easily set a fully functional website without digging through crude code or technical tutorials.
As it stands, Wix powers upwards of 109 million websites, having registered more than 2.87 million paid users thus far.
Having a great number of users only goes to show how much of a great platform Wix really is. It’s definitely one of the platforms you’d want to consider when you’re setting up your first website.
In quick mention, the platform offers more than 500 stunning themes for you to choose from. These themes cater to a wide variety of industries including music, design, real estate, law, restaurant, hospitality, and photography.
So regardless of what industry you’re in, they surely have a design that you may use and even tweak to match your brand and everything else.
Here’s what you’ll like about Wix:
- Wix has one of the most innovative website builders you’ll ever come across online. They’re always adding new features and tools, which makes them richer and more reliable than any of its competitors.
- They have trendy designs. Their themes are built to the best of industry standards, with an option to upload videos, add different background sections, create parallax sections, and so forth, and without writing down a single line of code.
- Wix is always working on improving their platform. The Wix you knew last year isn’t the same Wix you’ll be interacting with today. They’re always obsessed with improving their website builder by ensuring it aligns with the latest technological advancements.
You’re allowed to use Wix for free but to unlock more features and be granted access to more customisation options; you’ll be required to fork out between $5 to $25 a month.
After Squarespace, Weebly is the next easiest website builder you’ll ever come across.
They have one of the most intuitive interfaces to use. It should take you less than 30 minutes to crack it up and build your website.
The platform also comes with lots of advanced features and functionalities that you can use to play around with for your site and even customise it to match your brand and business needs.
If you’re looking for something less technical and easy to work around, then Weebly might be the platform for you.
They also have tons of stunning templates that you can choose from to get started. These themes might not be as good looking as those of Squarespace or Wix, but they’re not badly off. Plus, they keep on making major improvements to them all the time. So, expect your site to look even better with time.
Don’t forget that this is not your final design. You’re just working on a provisional website, and as time goes, you’ll get back to your designer and make it better or more professional. The whole point is to make sure that you’d have known what you’re doing when you finally decide it’s time to hire a web designer.
Here are a few things that set Weebly apart from the other website builders on the market:
- A snap to use: With Weebly, you shouldn’t worry about getting stuck and not knowing what to do. Using it is like signing up on social media or using an iPhone. With this platform, you’d be surprised by how natural everything seems. Everything will be flowing so effortless; you wouldn’t even remember that this is the first time you’re creating a site on Weebly.
- Access to your design codes: Unlike other website builders, which hide everything, Weebly allows you to access your site’s codes and customise them to your liking. You don’t have to worry about this as the only thing it does is offer you more flexibility, just in case you’d want to work on your site at the code level in future.
With Weebly, you have the option of using the platform for free, with no restrictions. However, to access more tools and be able to incorporate more functionalities into your web project, you may have to upgrade to one of their premium plans – whose price range from $8 to $49 a month.
Their premium plan will give you more access to e-commerce and premium marketing tools that you can take advantage of.
Again, compared to the amount of money that you’re likely to spend on hiring a web designer, Weebly is by far more affordable.
With that said, you have no reason not to give this easy-to-use website builder a try. You can even try experimenting with their free version and only shell out your money when you’re convinced it can handle all your business needs.
Reason to Choose any of these Web Builders
Not all these web builders are created equal. In fact, there are times when it makes more sense to use one particular web builder over the other.
When to use Wix\
Wix when you’re looking for an easy solution that’s less time-consuming. It’s also a good platform if you’re looking for more customisation options. The platform comes loaded up with themes and plugins that you can use to add more functionality to the website you create. The only limitation associated with the websites designed on this platform is that they’re a bit sluggish, which makes them less SEO-friendly.
When to use Squarespace
Use Squarespace when you need to build a more stylish website that you can tweak around or play around with the colour scheme and various elements to match it up with your brand. Unlike Wix, Square space is a little bit limited on template options. But their themes look much better. They also have a limited option of additional pluggable modules that you can use to add more functionality to the website you create – just not on the same scale as WordPress or Wix.
When to Use Shopify
Use Shopify when you’re looking for a full-suite e-commerce solution with a point of sale and inventory management system. The platform also comes with so many templates (both free and paid) that you can upload directly to your site and get everything up and running without being forced to do much on your end.
It’s an ideal platform when your focus is on nothing else but e-commerce. Although, it would have been much better had the platform included a much wider scope by incorporating other functionalities.
When to Use Weebly
Weebly is a good website builder if you’re a bit of a technophile and are not looking for a platform that will make you want to bash your head on a table. It’s the simplest platform to use. Plus, the website you build won’t require much tweaking after you’ve selected your theme of choice.
In addition to packing a good number of themes for you to choose from, your site will load faster. The only limitation is that the platform doesn’t feature many pluggable modules for customising your site.
When to use WordPress: WordPress is our favourite option on the list, and it’s for several good reasons. At the core is the fact that there’s no limit as to what you can achieve with this content management program. It’s also one of the most flexible options on the list. Your theme options also stretch to a count of thousands. It goes without mentioning that you have more than 50 000 plugin options that you can use to incorporate more functionality to your site.
It’s, however, the ideal platform to choose if you want to focus on blogging and work on building your SEO score for a good ranking in the SERPs.
You Don’t Need to Spend Much on a Logo Designer; Instead, here are a few Logo Hacks that you can take advantage of today in Singapore
Logo designers aren’t cheap either. If you get a good one, expect them to charge you a buttload of money for the logo they design.
For a well-established corporation whose success depends on their brand identity, a good logo is definitely worth the cost.
But when you’re in the process of getting your business off the ground, the last thing you want to waste your money on is a fancy logo. The chances are that no one might even notice your expensive logo.
At the point of starting your business, you have to minimise your cost as much as you possibly can. Every dollar you spend matters a great deal at this point.
So instead of walking to a logo designer’s shop with a wad on your hands, there a few logo designing hacks that you might want to take advantage of today and save yourself a great deal of money.
The first one is hack 99. What this platform does is that it tries to connect clients with logo designers.
You simply describe your web project, lay down the specifications of your logo, and watch as designers contest for it. Each of them will present a logo to you, with which you’ll be choosing 3 to 5 of the logos and leaving some feedback behind.
You’ll then pick a winner from the bunch you choose, and that’s pretty much like it. This is a great way to find a logo you like and which describes your brand best.
Running the contest is a snap, and it’s only going to cost you SGD 408 ($299). Other than the money you spent on setting up your website, this is the only money you’ll be spending on your web project, and you’re good to go.
Does the $299 feel too steep?
Well, a cheaper approach would be to order the logo on Fiverr or SeoClerk. With these two platforms, it’s easy to get a good logo for as little as S$7 ($5). The only difference is that the logos you get will be very derivative and basic.
What these designers do is pull a template they have used before, and just plop your company name on it. There’s nothing wrong with using such a logo, but as your business grows and starts receiving more recognition, you might want to consider hiring a more professional logo designer to help you out.
Good Web Designers aren’t Always Available
Good web designers aren’t a dime a dozen. You don’t just run a search query, and bam! There goes a list of good web designers in Singapore for you to choose from.
About 90% of the designers you’ll stumble across aren’t good. Most of them are masters of rip-offs. They’ll simply pull a design elsewhere, and then make a few tweaks to it before submitting it to you.
Good web designers are also hard to come by because agencies are always on a hunt for one. Once they spot one that’s really good at what they do, they’ll poach them and hoard them all for themselves.
This is especially true in Singapore, where talent appears to be in deficit. There’s always someone looking for a great talent in the various digital fields. And once they spot one, they’ll immediately hire them and get them off the market.
That explains why it’s pretty hard to come across a good designer that’s freelancing. Also, senior freelancing designers know their worth. Rarely will you find one charging cheaply for their services.
Newbie freelancers that are really good at what they do also don’t get to last before someone snags them off the market. They’ll either be employed in a firm as part of their in-house team or find themselves working for an agency.
Some get to realise their true worth soon enough and start charging exorbitantly for their services.
Either way, finding a good designer with reasonable rates on their services is not an easy thing to do, especially here in Singapore. And while you’re still trying to get your business off the ground, the last thing you want to do is pay through your nose.
Settling for a Cheaper Designer won’t do Your Business any Good
Cheaper web designers do exist, and finding them isn’t as hard as you’d like to assume.
All you have to do is check out platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, and you’ll find plenty of these designers charging cheaply for their services.
However, the work you get from these designers is nothing more than the kind of work you could do yourself. Most of these designers have no real experience. They have zero coding skills to design anything worth admiring.
So, what they do is buy a premium WordPress theme and install it with all the demo content. They’ll then go through it and replace all the dummy text with some copy they wrote, and that’s pretty much like it.
By hiring a cheap designer, all you’re doing is paying someone to buy a premium theme from another place and install it for you. There’s nothing unique or extraordinary about the site they create as there will close to a thousand other sites using the same theme out there.
Almost all the cheap web designers you meet will be using this same old trick to fool you into believing that you’ve locked in a good bargain. But far from it, it’s just a matter of time before you stumble across a site that looks exactly like yours.
Plus, such sites are always bad for SEO. They can make a good site when you’re just starting and there isn’t much that you wish to gain from the site. At this stage in business, your focus should be on your actual business at this point, and not the design of your site.
Web designing isn’t some one-time activity. The site you design isn’t the same site you’re going to ride with until the end of time.
Web designing in itself is an ever-evolving field. New trends and conditions emerge all the time. Meaning you have to keep on revising your design and adding new features on it to keep it effective.
So, you’re not just hiring a designer and forgetting all about it. You have to keep on working on the design and polishing it through to match the ever-changing demands and needs of your customers.
When you hire a designer, you’ll be thrilled by the design they come up with. But as time goes, new ideas will crop up. These ideas will keep coming up until it gets to a point when you feel like the site needs a complete overhaul.
Design trends are always evolving. So, if your site looks great now, you can be sure it won’t look the same to you after a year or two until you make an effort to improve it.
Upgrading a site that you built using a canned theme is much cheaper compared to upgrading a custom site you that you paid someone SGD 10, 000 to build.
For a themed site, all you have to do is buy another theme or an upgraded version of the theme, and you’re good to go. However, for a custom site, you’ll have to pay your developer another S$5, 000 or so to work on some of the changes or upgrades you have in mind.
Only hire a designer when you can afford one
The only person you’ll be competing with here is yourself; the only people you’re trying to impress here are your customers.
So, forget about your competitors for a minute and focus on what’s good for your business. Your competitors might judge you for skimping on your website, but does the website serve its intended purpose?
If your idea is good enough, your business should be able to fund the website. In fact, this should be the criteria you use to determine if your business is ripe for a custom design. When the right time comes, your worry should be on whether you’re better off working with an agency or hiring a full-time in-house designer.
And when that time comes, that means your business will be generating enough income for you to set aside a budget for web designing after every financial year.
Hire a Designer for Convenience, Advice, and Services, not for the design itself
Hiring a web designer goes beyond the design itself. For the design, you have the likes of Squarespace and WordPress as the perfect alternative. But there’s more you can gain from a designer with the right timing:
The harder part of designing: Only hire a designer for things that you cannot do yourself. So, where you’re completely green on web designing matters, give yourself enough time to understand the fundamentals. Like how to distinguish between a canned theme and a custom one.
Only hire a designer when you’re interested in an off the wall design. You want to make sure that your site will be hard-coded from the ground up and not recycled from somewhere else.
Whatever you do, you want to make sure that there will never come a time when you’ll look back and rue that you ever wasted your money on hiring a designer who did nothing that was worth spending your money on. And the only way you can be sure this will never happen is when you learn to make certain decisions from a place of being informed.
The ability to manipulate your theme fully: Some of the things a web designer will be quick to slap you with an overblown quote can be achieved by a simple installation of a free plugin. Imagine paying a designer to install Google analytics or an SSL certificate on your site.
These are a few things that you can do yourself by just reading through some random online tutorials. So, before you rush to talk to your designer about a new feature that you have in mind, make sure you’ve researched about it heavily and ascertained that it’s beyond your capabilities were you even to try.
Most of the time, you’d want to hire a web developer when you’re building a custom website. You hire a designer when you want your site to feature a custom CMS or functionality that can only be hard-coded and not achieved through the simple use of a plugin.
The ability to add unique functionality to your site: What do you wish to see your site perform? Does this functionality require some backend manipulation that you believe can only be achieved through coding?
For instance, you might want to hire a designer when you’re building a site with a custom search for rental properties. Or when you want to create a custom real estate newsfeed or a calendar that your customers can use to book a room or make an appointment.
Where you want your website to conduct some serious operations, plugins may be incapable of performing this task or even frustrate you as you try to work around them or get them to be in sync with the rest of the features on your site. It’s then that you’ll realise that you need a web designer who understands the finer details of web designing and not just someone who knows how to install a plugin.
Also, some of these plugins require customisation. If the idea you have is a unique one, the chances are that you can only find a plugin that’s close to what you need and not exact. This will demand that you explore its code and find a way to fine-tune it at the code level to suit your needs.
The Ability to Think on Your Behalf: Only pay a designer when you think they’ve earned it. A good designer knows stuff you don’t. Most of them won’t be experiment with random solutions. They won’t be digging through forums and social media pages trying to look for solutions that they don’t understand.
If they’re really good at the trade, then most of them will just look at the nature of your problem and figure out a solution for it.
When you don’t have the time to think through something, a designer can save you the trouble by taking the task upon themselves.
A Web Designer isn’t Necessarily a Need
There’s nothing special about the designer you hire. A few of them have a knack for it, and it pays to be able to spot one and take advantage of their gift.
But that’s not to say everything they do is beyond your capabilities. People pay designers because they want to take the tediousness of doing some things off their hands. You could even learn how to code and in a few months and be able to design the website on your own.
But do you have the time for it? Or would you rather use the time on something else that you perceive to be most important?
Here are a few reasons you’d want to hire a web designer:
- When you have a project that you don’t want to do it yourself.
- When you have a project that you’d want to be handled professionally. You want to hire someone who’ll handle the project better.
- When you feel like someone else is more efficient in doing the job than you. This is the main reason people hire web designers. They want to hire the best talent they can find to design them something more professional.
We’re not talking about Squarespace or another WordPress theme installer. But someone with real experience, and who’ll be willing to put in the hours and pour in more creativity to create you something that’s completely unique and of top-notch quality.
This is one of the most honest blog posts you’ll ever come across online. It’s counterintuitive for us, considering we offer the same service that we’re trying to advise you to avoid. It’s like us advising you not to hire us.
This post is certainly going to cost us business, but what’s the point of us rushing to build you a stunning website even after establishing that you don’t need it? We’d rather have you focus on the things that really matter and then reach back to us a year or two later when you’re sure with what you’re doing.
We’re ready to hear you out and even offer you more advice on how you’re going to set up your own website with any of the platforms we mentioned. With that said, talk to our team of web designers at MediaOne, and let them help you make the best decision as you struggle to get your business off the ground.