As an Atlanta web design company, we spend a lot of time telling people good reasons to build a website.

Whether you’re a small business or an enterprise, a good website is an invaluable piece of marketing material that connects your business with your customers.

But sometimes designing a website is a bad idea.  If you fall into one of these categories, you may want to think twice before hiring a web designer.

1. You don’t know what you need

This isn’t to say that you should have a bulleted plan and SWOT analysis to hand over to your web designer like your highschool business class.  But you should have a basic idea of what you want your website to do.

Most websites will fall into one of these categories:

  • Online purchases (e-commerce store)
  • Customer lead generation website
  • Informational or reference website

If you can’t tell your website designer at least one of the above it may not be the right time to hire a professional website designer.

2. You just need a personal website

In following with the previous reason, if your website isn’t generating income for you (or indirectly via your business), it may be hard to justify the costs of a website designer.

For those of you that just need a quick personal site, there are plenty of free website builders out there.

While they come with their own fair share of problems and I wouldn’t recommend them to someone with a real business, they are fine for creating a hobby site.

3. You don’t have the budget

Websites aren’t cheap and the professionals who have poured years into learning how to create great websites that build profitable businesses aren’t handing them out for free.

Some are shocked to learn that (good) websites even for small businesses can range from $2,000 to $10,000.

If you’re paying less than that, you’re not investing into your business’s marketing plan, you’re paying a tech savvy kid to help you install a WordPress theme.

Shortchanging the most visible side of your business to save a few bucks is a great way to run your business into the ground.  If you don’t have the funds saved up for this venture, that’s okay – save up the funds until you’re ready.

Don’t waste your money on an inferior site that will end up as a sunk cost.

4. You expect the website to run itself

Websites unfortunately don’t run themselves.  If you have a website that requires frequent content updates, you’ll need to do one of the following:

  • Get your website designed in a CMS (content management system)
  • Pay a web designer to update your website

Most website designers will do at least one of the above, but it’s still a good idea to budget a bit for more maintenance and updates.  This is especially true of sites built in WordPress and Drupal where security and vulnerabilities are a major factor.

5. You expect a website to magically make you money

A website is a doorway into your business.  While it’s one of the primary pieces of many businesses, it is not the sole piece.

A good website still needs to be backed by a business or idea and have a way of driving traffic to your doorstep.

Traffic -> Website -> Business solution

Ideally you have that last piece (your business) figured out.  But what’s also important here is that you understand the website itself contains many moving parts.

Build it and they will come

This isn’t really true for websites.  Content strategy, SEO, lead nurturing, and many other factors go into making your website a useful tool.  Neglecting the factors surrounding your website can render your website pretty useless.

6. You’re not willing to reinvest in your business

Your website starts making you money and bringing in customers.  “That’s great- what should we do?  I know!  Let’s stop spending money on it.”

I’ve never really understood this thinking.  It’s like finding a lucky putter that always let’s you sink birdies and deciding it’s time to ditch it.

Your current site is making you $X,XXX per month.  Not too shabby.  But what if you could be making $XX,XXX per month with it?  How much would be willing to invest to see those kinds of returns?

Between optimizing your website traffic and a/b testing to improve conversion, there are many ways to continue scaling your business.  If your website has shown good ROI, this is really just Finance 101.

7. You can’t relinquish control

This point is not an absolute reason not to hire a website designer, but it’s still a point to internalize and consider in the process.

You’re paying a professional to design a website for you- do you really want to tell them how to do their job?  If you’ve spent your time vetting out the best web design agencies, listen to their experience and let them do what you paid them to do.

I can’t imagine hiring an architectural firm and telling them, “Hey, I really think we should remove this support beam.  It really doesn’t suit my house.”

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating blind trust.  In fact, I think that good communication and including clients and web designers together in the creative process is vital.  But if your web designer strongly recommends you keep that beam in place, it may be a good idea to listen to the guy or gal you paid to give you the advice.

8. Your existing site still looks good and brings in customers

If you already have a site that’s doing what it’s supposed to do, then great.  Redesigning a website is always an opportunity to increase your total revenue and that’s exactly how it should be viewed.

If you don’t have a website and need to get on the map, this is an easier decision.  The website pays for itself in very little time.

However, if you just redesigned your website last year, does it make sense to redesign already?  If the sum of the value of the loss in sales is greater than the website cost, then go for it.

Still unsure?

If you pass all of the above, then it may be worth considering hiring a web designer to help you out with your business’s website.

At the end of the day, a website is an investment into your business and making sure it gets seen by the world.  It’s a crucial facet of your business and at the same time, it is not a magic bullet for underlying business problems.

The real question is where and how you should invest in your business to get the best returns.