In a matter of minutes, even an amateur with no web design or development experience can put together a somewhat professional-looking website and take it live. That’s the reality we live in, thanks to the existence of free (and cheap) website building tools.

But it’s not your only option. You could also work with a professional to design and/or develop your website from scratch. This usually costs thousands of dollars, making it far less budget-friendly – but does it confer advantages that free website builders can’t?

Your Options

There are many different ways to hire a professional web designer.

For example, you could hire:

  • A web design agency. Web design agencies like exist to give you all the resources and contacts you need in one place. They usually employ many different web designers with different specialties and have a high degree of accountability; however, they also tend to be one of the most expensive options.
  • A freelance web designer. You could also hire a freelance web designer or a Web Development Design Agency. They’re much less expensive, but it can be hard to find a reliable option.
  • A full-time employee. If you have many design needs, or if you want someone on deck to work on other types of projects, you may be interested in hiring a full-time employee.

The Benefits

You’ll see different advantages (and disadvantages) depending on how you hire a professional designer and which designer you choose. However, no matter what, you’ll enjoy at least the following benefits:

  • A totally unique design. One of the disadvantages of using a free/cheap website builder is that you’re usually limited to using one of a handful of preexisting templates. Because thousands to millions of brands rely on these templates, this can make the design seem repetitive or unoriginal if it appears too often. When working with a professional designer, you’ll get the option to create a totally unique design from scratch – and you won’t have to worry about someone else having a carbon copy of your site.
  • More direction and input. Working with a professional means you’ll have more opportunities to voice your opinion and provide direction (not to mention feedback in the early stages of design). If you have a clear vision for your website, or if you want to be absolutely certain it’s everything you want, working with a pro may be the only option.
  • Variations and options. Generally speaking, web designers will show you multiple design options in the early stages of the process; this way, you can see how your website might look in different styles or with different approaches. It’s true that you can get a similar effect by browsing through website templates, but with a professional designer, each possibility will be unique.
  • True brand understanding. If you want your website to be successful, it should provide users with an accurate and consistent understanding of your brand. Every element, including the colors, the fonts, and the layout, should be in line with your business’s identity and character. Only by working with a dedicated professional will you have the chance to articulate the nature of your brand – and get a website designed with those brand standards in mind.
  • Evolution and modification. Professional web design isn’t a one-step process; it’s usually something that unfolds over the course of several weeks. While you may be eager to see a finished version of your site, this lengthy timeline is actually a good thing. It allows you to make modifications and tweaks throughout development – and guide the evolution of your website, rather than choosing a single cookie cutter-style template from the outset.
  • Results-oriented work. Most web designers are invested in your success. They want to make you happy so they can get better reviews and more referrals – which means they’ll be designing with conversion optimization and user experience in mind. As long as you’re working with someone qualified, you should enjoy much better results when your website launches.
  • Accountability. Finally, working with a professional designer usually means having a party you can hold accountable. If your website is delayed, if it doesn’t look quite right, or if it’s not performing optimally on certain devices, you can reach out and get your issue resolved quickly; that’s simply not possible if you rely on a website builder with no channel for support.

So is it worth it to hire a professional designer when you could technically create a website for free? The answer, for many brands and individuals, is yes. If you want something truly original, or if you just want more control and accountability, there’s no substitute for hiring a pro. But if you have a tight budget, or the advantages just don’t seem worth it to you, free website builders are always an option. 

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.