With all the do-it-yourself web design sites, young professionals may wonder what is the outlook for a web designer. Web designers indeed face competition from these sites, but ultimately the custom work of a professional website designer is and will remain in high demand. This guide will outline the value and shortcomings of these sites about a custom site designed by a trained web developer.
The Overall Outlook For Web Designers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web designer positions are expected to grow a much faster than average 13% through 2028. A few reasons are driving this growth and demand, with the first being the simple fact that every modern organization needs to have a website. This is true whether they are a private business, a government agency, a non-profit organization or even an individual professional who wants to host their resume and portfolio online. Another major reason web designers are in demand is the need for mobile-friendly sites, as many users now access websites on their mobile devices. Web designers are needed to create new sites for mobile as well as convert existing sites. Web designers do not only have to worry about competition from the DIY site builders. Another major concern is the outsourcing of web design work to countries where web developers can be paid less. Fortunately, factors such as the need to know cultural nuances and the possibly higher costs of working with web designers in multiple countries mitigate this issue somewhat.
The Basics Of The Do-It-Yourself Web Design Sites
Do-it-yourself web design hosts have occupied a role on the Internet for a long time, with the biggest names currently including WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and Weebly, among others. These sites provide users with basic web design tools and templates to create a site for their business, personal use and other purposes. They allow users to build their sites with drag-and-drop features and perhaps limited HTML, rather than more complex programming languages that web designers use to build sites. The templates used, which can be both free and paid, are not especially customizable. Still, their ease of use and free cost make them significant competition for professional web designers. For users with limited needs, they may not see a good reason to hire a web designer instead of simply building a site with these tools. So with all the do-it-yourself web design sites, what is the outlook for a web designer?
The Weaknesses Of Do-It-Yourself Web Design Sites
The do-it-yourself web design sites are incredibly basic. This is how they can offer their services for free and remain easy to use for the general public. But these services do not always give users what they need, especially if building a website for their business. To start, these sites default to using subdomain names, which are a poor choice for businesses as subdomains appear less professional, are less favored by the search engines and can be more difficult for customers to remember. Templates are often very limited and unable to be customized much. Although these sites offer several features, such as the ability to place widgets, maps, slideshows, social media links, contact forms, media and more, the look of the site will ultimately still be limited and likely look like many other sites out there. Sites built by amateurs often contain rookie mistakes or do not look as professional as a site designed by a web designer will. These weaknesses allow web design firms and web designers to effectively advertise their services in contrast to do-it-yourself web design sites.
Why Organizations Still Need Web Designers
Organizations will still need web designers for the reasons listed above. Many will not be satisfied with the limited offerings of build-it-yourself website services, be concerned with security or want to avoid these site builders for other reasons. Businesses want their websites to be modern, stand out and meet the needs of their customers. Sites built on templates often cannot offer that. Businesses may be wanting to create a certain look that simply can’t be done on a template, or they may want more customization than a basic template can offer. They also may want to avoid having a third party’s brand noted at the bottom of their site, which is common with site building services. Some of these services will not easily allow copyright information to be placed at the bottom of each page, which is another reason professional organizations may want to avoid them. According to Small Business Trends, DIY website builders may even display ads on the sites they host. Web designers will continue to be needed for these reasons even with free site design options available.
Job Options For Web Designers
Web designers are lucky in that they have several options for how they wish to work in their chosen profession. They can seek full-time or part-time employment at a traditional business, which will typically be a larger company that will have more consistent web design needs. Many will be employed by web design firms, to which companies will outsource web design work when they need it. The final option is for a web designer to build their own business as a self-employed individual or freelancer. This option offers a lot of flexibility and upsides but some significant downsides as well. The Balance notes that to compete with the DIY site builders, web designers will need strong knowledge of coding languages used in web design, be excellent testers to ensure the site functions properly, have great client service skills and be dedicated to the maintenance, updating and troubleshooting of sites they have designed.
Prospective and current web designers are right to be concerned with the rise of do-it-yourself website builders. However, these services are limited and organizations of all sizes will continue to need web designers who can build them custom, gorgeous websites. Even with all the do-it-yourself web design sites, the outlook for a web designer is still very good.