Do You Still Need a Standalone Website?

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A friend who owns a small restaurant asked me recently if she still needs a website for her business.

She has a Facebook page and social presence on Instagram, and Twitter and has regular activity on Yelp. In her opinion, most of her traffic goes to those places.

She can also do her own updates to all those places and interact with customers. She can add events, post new menu photos, and change options. Her issue is that she has a website that she pays for every year. It costs about $250 for that but she pays by the hour for a designer (not me) to update the website. That part runs her about $500 a year. Plus she pays for her domain. Is it worth it?

Her only hesitation is that all those social sites point/link to the website. Yes, the website gets traffic, but it is not her main way of getting the word out to old and new customers.

My advice was to keep the website. In total, she spends about $1000 a year. Not insignificant, but not a huge investment even for a small business. She could cut costs by using a free hosting website and maybe find a cheaper web services person or even learn to do updates herself using something like WordPress.

My main reason for keeping a website is that even in 2023, people just assume every legitimate business has one. Are you a business if you don’t have a website?

Any thoughts?

The Need for Web Design Courses

An article declares that “Digitization Increases The Need for Web Design Courses.” But does it?

A web design course needs to teach HTM, CSS, graphic design, UX, UI, and a shelf of other skills. languages. There are so many things to know that a) it probably can’t be taught in one course, and b) in the work world it will likely be the job of several people.

There are also the “soft skills” of designing so that words, images, videos, colors, and composition work together and are engaging to viewers. In other words, problem-solving, planning, and collaborative communication. As a person who came to teach from the humanities, I like that the article notes that these courses also need to “emphasize the proper use of English grammar and correct formatting” though that is not always the domain of a designer these days.

Clearly, it is courses – plural – that will make you a designer, and possibly will lead you to focus in one area of specialization.

With the many DIY web design tools and platforms available to us now, basic web design can be learned on your own through some trial and error. I know designers who make a living at it and who took that path. For them, creating a site for a local business or friend is entirely possible. But all of them would admit that they probably could not step into a designer job at a big company. And that’s okay. We need all kinds of designers at all kinds of levels.