5 Misconceptions about Web Design in Zimbabwe
Quite often in Zimbabwe, a website is viewed as a fashionable item to have. This kind of thinking is prevalent amongst the old generation of which constitute the majority of the business owners who make the final decision on the web project. A website is not just a website, it is rather a critical piece of a company’s marketing effort. That means companies of all sizes are dependent on a successful online presence, which, in turn, means they’re dependent on web professionals.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t misconceptions about how web design and development should work or even cost. For whatever reason – and there are plenty – a lot of business owners have misguided ideas and beliefs about this industry and, more specifically, about designers, agencies, and the web design process & cost.
This blog aims to point out some of those misconceptions (myths, if you will) and what’s actually true.
1. It’s easy – anyone can build a website
It’s not. There’s no other way to put it. Web design and development isn’t easy. There are plenty of sites out there that look simple, basic, or effortless, but for 99.9% of them it’s safe to say that they didn’t turn out that way without a ton of hard work and a thorough process. The end result may look simple and easy to navigate, but it took hours of planning, research and adjusting to bring about what you see today.
Every feature on a site needs to be thought through properly to ensure that it meets the overall goals of not only the site, but the company as well. That then trickles down to design (making sure that the features are easy to use, readable, and accessible) and development (making sure that the site is fast, uses proper coding techniques, and works on a variety of screens and devices). All of these equals dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of work. So the next time you hear your designer quoting you $200 for a professional website, just know the other work behind the scenes will NOT be done knowing most likely you have no way of checking this other than the design you see.
2. Web design shouldn’t cost so much
It’s unclear where this misconception came from, but it’s a frustrating one to just about every designer and developer. While a visit to a unique, simple, and beautiful website may seem like it was easy and cheap to create, generally speaking, it wasn’t.
The kind of talent and skill needed to create a truly unique, beautiful, and money-generating website is grossly misunderstood. Good website designers are much more than pixel pushers – they do more than just make your website attractive. They create it to be an extension of your brand and your marketing with the underlying goal of making you more money (yes, even if you don’t sell anything directly on your website).
Instead of looking at your website as a huge expense or necessarily evil, think of it as an investment. Over time, it should be giving you a return. If it’s not, you might have a brochure site or something else is wrong.
3. Web designers are all the same: Same education, same experience, same skills
When you have your 3 quotations say one for $900, $750 and $250 then you choose the quote for 250 because it is the cheapest, you make the assumption that the guy for 250 will do just a good job as the one for 900. This kind of thinking is wrong. Not only in Zimbabwe, but all over the world web designers are not all on the same level of expertise. The method of getting 3 quotations and then choosing the cheaper one WORKS ONLY when dealing with finished products like a PC, Tables, Phones etc. Most likely the guy at 250 knows he will not create a sitemap for you, will not submit your site to the search engines, will not clean up messy CSS code, will not pay for a website theme nor will he develop one from scratch but rather will download a free or cracked theme for your project (which often has viruses).
The funny thing is that many companies in Zimbabwe will rush off to such a cheap developer in the hopes of saving money. Here saying to keep in mind “Zvaka cheapa zvinodhura” it means cheap items end up costly…The sad part about it is that quite often even if a cheap designer tells you he will do SEO for you and do XYZ as well for the same low price, companies often don’t have the knowledge of verifying this unless they have an IT department.
4. Any change I want on my website should be free
Imagine buying a car. It comes with a warranty in which the manufacturer or dealer cover quite a bit for a limited time. Now imagine that after the warranty was up, you demanded that your oil changes, tire rotation, and x-thousand mile service be free.
You’d probably be laughed at. So why expect that from a web design company?
Many design companies will give you a warranty or support period that starts after the site launches and ends after a certain amount of time. During this time if any issues come up, they’ll get fixed at no additional cost. Some terms may apply, but generally speaking, it’s common practice for this grace period to be included in the contract.
5. I can use Google for images for my website
Please don’t. For starters, it’s lazy and doesn’t add anything to your brand image and perception. More importantly, it’s illegal.
There are copyright laws to consider. The best case scenario is receiving a cease and desist letter warning you to stop using the author’s work. But that’s embarrassing and means you have to scramble to figure out what to put in its place. And what you really don’t want is to pay a hefty fine for using a copyrighted image. Instead, just fork over either a little bit of money for stock photos or truly invest in your brand and website, and hire a professional photographer.
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