Some may say that the future of web design may be in jeopardy. And that is a warranted thought, as sites like Wix, Square, and even WordPress are becoming more and more prevalent. These sites provide quite a robust turnkey option when it comes to web services for a company, client, or whatever the case may be. I have gotten this question quite a bit as a web design and development student, and yes, this question has a fair bit of the ingredients to really drive home a sense of existential dread, especially if one is not properly equipped to tackle this pesky question.
From a topical standpoint, it seems web design is dying from an industry standpoint, but one you look beyond a few of the superficial items, there are some key points that really give the craft of web design and development a foothold for many years to come. Some of my friends would call this “future-proofing” your trade. I like that term. So you may see me use it later in this article.
A lot of companies use these sites that have a premade website ready to go and from a bird’s eye perspective, this seems like a great solution to the problem of web presence. But that’s just it- how in the WORLD do you know if you are getting the web presence, the findability, etc. in the browser? For instance, when someone types in “Flower Shops that Sell Lilacs,” will your flower shop that sells lilacs show up in the search results? Well, someone could definitely be on the other end working with things like metadata for web crawlers and data analytics so they can use algorithms for analytics so that your site does show up on the radar. Can you give a wild guess as to who might be knowledgeable in such areas? That’s right, you guessed it- web developers.
A common misconception is that web developers just create sites all the time and, boom, that’s it. No, no. They can do so much more. Let’s say you DID go to wix and you found a template that you just can’t live without. And let’s even go far to say that you know how to take that source code and plug it into your site, you savvy devil. Ah, well, the template is a little off, and you know folks are going to notice it when you get that huge influx of traffic to your website when you deploy. Someone has to fix that template. Someone needs to take that template and “wrap it around” the aesthetic you already have going for your posh site. Who ya gonna call? That’s right, a web developer!
And the list really does go on. Over the years, or not even a year’s time, the internet is known to make changes to its protocol and change the standards of how things work. Chances are, a change is going to be rolled out that may just completely take your site offline, or maybe render your site useless as folks try to use your interface. There needs to be someone you can use to keep your site “future-proofed.” I told you I was going to use that word again.
Yes, future-proofing. You don’t want your site looking like it came from 2002, no way. Someone needs to be able to update your template and keep your site looking pristine and sharp! Templates age out and you need someone who is savvy enough who can parse the web and find templates that are consistent with your themes. A web design and developer is someone you can think of who knows a thing or two about computers, how the web works, and has an eye for aesthetics. Good lord these people are superheroes!
Keeping your site up to date and functional can be quite the work and without the proper care, just like a garden, your weeds can start growing out and causing problems rather quickly, so it’s always best to call in the professionals. They can see when said weeds are getting ready to cause a threat and they can be there, waiting with a nice big bottle of weed killer. Excuse my metaphors, but I believe you see where I am going with this. Your website is your business, your outreach, so you need to call a professional so that your site stays at the peak of its potential in drawing in people and giving them a quick, easy, and delightful experience working with your site.
One last thing I will say is, features, features, and more features. Your website needs some sort of cool functionality. You want to provide some image that when clicked, it takes you to Grandma’s Sweets LLC? Web developer. You want someone who can introduce a dynamic feed of your Twitter feed to your main account, but the feed have a Victorian style frame around it. Web developer. When a person goes out and buys a premade website, they are effectively locked in to whatever the designer had in mind for that type of template. But with a web developer, the options are unlimited, because your imagination is the only limit, and the imagination of the web developer. You can even learn some things from your developer, and thus be able to handle some more basic tasks on your own. I see that as a definite win. If you want to take your website to the limit and have full creative control over it, a web developer is your answer. And most people want this. Most people want to say “hey I really need my site to do and look like this.” Sure there are templates that can emulate your vision, but why limit yourself there when you know you will want to spice things up by adding extra functionality and style? Don’t limit yourself! Hire a developer to help you realize all your visions!