Today's post is one that I originally wrote back in March of 2012 for the Yahoo! Store blog. The topic of why to hire a professional website designer versus taking your design needs in-house is still one that is highly relevant, and very much debated today. Here are my thoughts on subject.
You might be asking yourself, do I really need to hire a Yahoo! Store designer or can I just create my own website using the tools and resources that are available to me? The short answer is no. One does not need to hire a designer to develop their new website. However, the longer answer might surprise you.
The Yahoo! Store platform is very versatile, as well as easy-to-use - that is to say that one doesn't need to be a programmer in order to create their own website. In fact, the simplicity of the Yahoo! Store platform is actually one of the reasons it is so popular. Mostly any one can use it. Yahoo! Stores are also favored because of their hosting capabilities and shopping cart security, but that's for another post.
While Yahoo! does make it easy to create a website, this doesn't necessarily mean Store owners should be the one creating it. Consider this; doing one's taxes is often as easy as copying information from one sheet, placing it into a box on another, adding and subtracting, and mailing the finished product to the IRS. Yet, many of us still hire a tax professional. Why is that? It's because overlooking something or making an error can be quite costly for us in the long run. Simply put, the risks associated with making a mistake outweigh the cost of hiring a professional. Well, the same can be said for website design.
It is for this reason, and those to follow, that I recommend hiring a professional Yahoo! Store developer.
Why Hire a Yahoo! Store Designer
Aside from being a sound, financial decision, hiring a Yahoo! Store designer to develop your new website does have its benefits. The following are 9 additional benefits to hiring a Yahoo! Store designer, versus taking the project in-house.
Designers Are Creative. Is Your Team?
By their very nature, designers are creative people. They have a deep understanding for what looks good, and what doesn't. For example, designers know which colors work great together, and which will clash. They understand that certain fonts work well online, and that others are simply difficult to read. Designers know which layout schemes create the very best browsing experience for users, and which will lead to confusion.
Furthermore, and probably more important, designers know what is appropriate when creating a website. Consider this; when a business hires a Yahoo! Store designer they are trusting them to conceptualize a design and layout that not only helps to meet their business needs, but one that is also appropriate for their target audience. Banks need websites to appear business-like, professional, and secure. Waterparks need websites to appear fun, colorful, and exciting. Knowing when it's ok to be playful and when to be professional is important. Is your in-house team capable of making those decisions? Can they design a website that meets your target audience's expectations?
Designers Are Experienced in Web Design. Is Your Team?
Designers design or they wouldn't be designers. While I will agree that not all designers are equal in the sense that some are undoubtedly going to be better than others, they will at least all have portfolios of the work they've done previously. Some will be good. Others will be better. The point I am trying to make is that by hiring a Yahoo! Store designer you are in fact hiring a professional with years of experience.
As in any profession, having experience means knowing how to complete specific tasks, troubleshooting specific problems, and not making simple, beginner mistakes. Also, having experience means being able to provide businesses with invaluable assistance in the design process. For example, a designer will be able to explain what will and won't work based on their previous experiences and know-how. How much experience in website development does your in-house team have? What assistance will they be able to offer?
Designers Can Customize and Modify. Can Your Team?
The Yahoo! Store platform is built on templates. Store templates can be customized, but only through extensive RTML programming and expert graphic design. In fact, designers can take what would otherwise be a standard ecommerce website, and modify it to meet the specific needs of their clients. Yahoo! Store modifications may include custom layouts, programming, graphics, and add-ons. Is your in-house team able to provide the level of customization necessary to make your website stand out among other Yahoo! Stores? Can they meet all your design needs?
Designers Are Accountable For Their Work. Is Your Team?
In the event an unfortunate, unforeseen problem should arise with your Yahoo! Store, having a designer to lean on can mean the difference between a cheap, quick solution and a costly, time-extensive fix. Allow me to explain.
If your business is like most, time literally means money. The longer your website is out of commission, the longer your business continues to lose money. In a scenario where a company designs their website in-house, that company would be solely responsible for correcting any and all shortcomings. This isn't the case when hiring a designer.
Yahoo! Store owners should be just as concerned with after-sale service, as they are with their initial design. Had the business employed the services of a designer, he or she would be accountable for creating an accurate and timely solution for any problem that might arise. Furthermore, most designers would jump at the chance to correct problems associated with their work. How accountable will your in-house team be when website problems arise? More importantly, how quickly will they be able to solve them?
Designers Are Resourceful. Is Your Team?
Similar to that of a carpenter, designers have a toolbox full of tools at their disposal for when specific tasks are at hand. When hiring a Yahoo! Store designer, there will be no need for businesses to purchase high-end programming software, design tools, or even reference guides. In fact, your designer will have everything needed to complete most design projects.
However, in the rare, off-chance designers do find themselves needing something extra, most are going to be resourceful. They will know what, how, and where to attain what they need. Does your in-house team have all the necessary tools of the design trade? Will they know how and where to acquire those they are missing?
Designers Are Well-Connected? Is Your Team?
I would consider one's being "well conected" as an extention of one's being "resourceful," but more to the point that designers can leverage their working relationships - friends, co-workers, and colleagues - when a specific project or problem presents itself. Possible connections will likely include other Store designers, programmers, artists, photographers, and marketers.
With that said, hiring a Yahoo! Store designer means having indirect access to an entire team of well-connected industry professionals. For example, should a client request a feature outside of my expertise, say a motion graphic or video, I can call upon my friend and motion graphic artist, Matthew Butler to assist. Through their designer, Store owners will likely find solutions to their current and future needs. How many industry professionals are included in your in-house team? Who will they turn to when a specialty project arises?
Designers Work Fast and Will Save Time. Can Your Team?
Hiring a Yahoo! Store designer will save time, especially when deadlines are at stake. As I've already established, designers are both experienced and resourceful. This means they can work fast. While I can't speak for every designer, in my neck of the woods clients can expect to have their custom Stores operational and accepting orders within 2-weeks time. Such a timeframe can mean a world of difference when launching a new website.
Furthermore, hiring a Store designer means being free to do what you and your team do best, manage the many aspects of your business. Does your in-house team even have the available time to develop your company's online presence? How long will it take them to get your site up and running?
Designers Can Increase Web Traffic. Can Your Team?
While it wasn't always the case, overtime, many Yahoo! Store designers had evolved their services to include website marketing. Through a deep understanding of how search engines work and what they look for, designers can create a company website that not only meets an owner's design goals, but one that is search engine friendly as well.
Search engine friendly websites are those that appeal to search engines. Key characteristics include informative meta-tags, keyword-focused headlines and page content, and clean, easy-to-parse source code. In addition, designers may specialize in other website marketing services, such as paid search advertising and social media marketing. Is your in-house team capable of generating relevant website traffic? Can they grow your business through search engine optimization and other marketing channels?
Designers Remain Updated on Industry Standards. Does Your Team?
Website designers understand that standards are always changing, both in website design as a whole and specifically with the Yahoo! Store platform. It is for this reason that designers work hard to remain fluent in the latest programming standards, browser standards, and design, layout, and usability standards. There is a lot to learn, and even more to keep up with.
Designers dedicate a large part of their week to continuing education via classes, books, magazines, articles, blogs, and other resources. With all that is involved with running a business - managing employees, paying bills, purchasing and tracking inventory, etc. - will your team be able to learn and remain updated on proper website design standards? Are they your best long term solution?
Where Does This Leave You
Hopefully, I have been able to instill in you a new appreciation for Yahoo! Store designers and the many benefits they provide. There is great value that can be leveraged when hiring a designer to build your company's website, and the decision to pass on professional assistance should not be taken lightly. For the very reasons I've outlined above, I hope to have at least inspired you and your team to consider professional design services, versus taking the project in-house.