Design like Jagger or why you shouldn’t design your own website (unless you’re a designer)

Design like Jagger or why you shouldn't design your own website (unless you're a designer)

Don’t design your own website. No, really. It will suck.

You might think that since WordPress or Weebly are so easy to use, you can design your own killer website. Nope. It will suck.

I’ve seen it time and again. You think you will save money by doing it yourself. You might even think the outcome is not so bad. You’re wrong.

Let me ask you this:

  • how many hours does one need to drive a car before they’re ready to race?
  • how many games of chess does one need to play before they can kick butt?
  • how many practice sessions on a guitar before one could woo girls with it?

A lot. 10 000 hours if you want to be among the best.

The thing is that web design is like most skills – it takes a long, long time and a ton of practice before you’re any good. Even if you’re gifted, it will take you many tens of sites, if not hundreds, before you can show off your stuff.

I won a web design competition back in 2001, but I still don’t do it (only tiny bits). Why? Cause there are people that can do it much better. I focus on the stuff I’m really good at, and leave design to the pros.

When your car breaks down, you take it to a mechanic. You need a new roof, you call a roofer. Yet, for some reason a lot of people think they can design their own website.

Your website is your #1 marketing tool. Don’t ruin it by designing it yourself. And don’t hire the cheapest provider or your cousin. The site will suck. Can’t afford it? It’s a matter of priorities. You can always find a way to pay for things that are truly important to you.

We live in the era of design. Good design sells, bad design doesn’t. There’s lots of research out there saying that people trust beautiful websites more. Heck, people trust beautiful everything more. Beautiful people make more money, are more successful and and just have it better. We like pretty cars, houses and clothes. The same goes for websites.

If the 80s and 90s taught us to take quality for granted, today good design is the barrier of entry.

(And no point mentioning Craigslist. First of all it would never take off if it would launch today looking like this, and secondly there are always exceptions).

If you build your own site, it will be ugly and it will hurt your business. You will lose money. Every day will be a wasted opportunity.

Every week I come across websites that offer something I or my clients might need, but the website is just so ugly I can’t take them seriously, and will look elsewhere. If you designed your own site, this is happening to you all the time – whether you’re aware of it or not.

Mick Jagger can move, but he’d probably get somebody else to design his site.

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  1. I designed my own site check it out and tell me how it looks!

  2. Regarding your point that “people trust beautiful websites more”… I would hardly call amazon.com or ebay beautiful websites, in fact quite the opposite. And these are the two most trusted online brands around. I think usability design and user experience is fundamentally more important than whether a website is beautiful or now. But your point stands – don’t design your own website.

    1. Avatar photo

      Design is just 1 factor that influences trust. Amazon and eBay have built trust by being around forever – hence they can look whatever they want – BUT they look “totally decent”, not amateur AT ALL.

      For new websites that people have never heard of before – design it the first creator or destroyer of trust.

    2. Amazon and Ebay are content first and that’s what makes them successful. The op is right, if you’re not a designer you surely can build a site using a multitude of tools but its going to look like sh*t and hurt your business. No argument against that, and any true entrepreneur understands and appreciates that.

  3. Hi Peep,

    Any designers/agencies you can recommend?

    1. I’m a developer and designed my own website…

  4. I fixed my own roof and my car, the car works great and the roof looks great . . . I guess I ‘ll design my own website :)

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Design like Jagger or why you shouldn’t design your own website (unless you’re a designer)