If you ask many web designers, whether web design has become a commodity, they will most likely say yes. With such a wide range of templates, website builders and other applications, I feel that web design has become a commodity.
A commodity is any product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee. We could say that web design has become a commodity because of too much supply or too many do-it-yourself options or both. I feel in part that it is both but mostly the invention of website builders, low cost templates and CMS (content management systems) like WordPress that made it a commodity.
Too Much Supply
With a low barrier to entry, all one needs to do is learn how to code html and CSS, as well as good design principles. Learning code is no easy task but if you are willing to focus, you can gain the skills necessary to become a web designer.
A short cut to entry is to use a program like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web. These programs come with templates that you can modify accordingly with no code knowledge necessary. In my opinion, this doesn’t make you a web designer but use it if you may.
Do-it-Yourself Website Builders, Templates and CMS are Popular!
With so many low cost do-it-yourself applications to choose from, consumers are taking the more frugal route. In most cases they are willing to sacrifice professionalism for a website. They hardly understand why they need a professional web designer at all. Most of them just see it as a website. The perceived value has dropped since almost every kid with a computer now claims to be a web designer.
When your son or daughter is learning HTML in school, is hard for you to imagine paying someone to build it.
What’s a Designer to Do Now?
So what do we as web designers do in a marketplace like this? We have to differentiate ourselves from the rest. If you have always wondered why some web design firms continue to make over 1 million or more in revenue a year, this is why.
These companies are able to differentiate themselves from everyone else in the marketplace. They do this by diversifying their services and giving their customers top-level customer service.
Of course they are doing many more things that you won’t know about unless you investigate. I suggest that you select a top design firm and investigate what they are doing differently from you.
No Substitute for a Professional Human Web Designer
Regardless of the many options out there for getting a website, there is still not any substitute for a professional web designer. If all you want is a website and nothing more then use a website builder or WordPress or whatever. However if you want a consistent brand identity, more customers, more visitors and room for development in the future, you need to hire a web designer.
As an SEO consultant, I can easily spot websites that have been made with templates or website builders because of how poor the on-page and technical SEO are. Some examples include using flash as the primary design tool, extremely high page load times, ignoring descriptions and title tags, thin content etc.
In a nutshell, one could say that the same reasons why you would higher an interior designer to decorate your business or home, is the same reason why you might want hire a professional web designer.
By Gabriel Nwatarali – Professional web designer, SEO and entrepreneur. Helping people understand the web, while achieving their goals. Hobbies include design, fitness and meeting new people.