Web Designers! It’s Time to Stop Designing Websites

credit: http://c-c-s.deviantart.com/art/Superhero-81268647

If you’ve read “Web Design is Dead” you’ll know my thoughts on the web publishing process.

The steps required to set up a new website (that’s beautiful, accessible, fast-loading, cross-browser compatible, totally mobile-ready, totally editable, blah blah blah) are now standardized and productized.

Today, you can pretty much buy a website off the shelf that’s better than a site costing tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago.

Because today we have amazing, mature platforms like WordPress and amazing themes like Thrive and amazing hosts like WP Engine. Stuff that just wasn’t evolved a few years ago.

Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/csessums/4779009114/

If you’re still in the business of publishing websites for clients, you need to STOP right now and think where you’ll be in twelve months from now.

Let me set out your options.

Option 1: Keep Building Websites (Cheap!)

Question: Is your business building websites?

The price of websites is dropping like a stone. This is new digital economics. You can’t fight it. You must surrender.

Put it this way. A few weeks ago a guy contacted me from Croatia. He’d set up a web design agency with a friend, had read “Web Design is Dead,” and wanted a bit of advice.

I checked out their site, and their portfolio. I was impressed.

Then I checked out their prices. I was blown away!

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Not only are these guys turning out high-quality WordPress sites, but they can give you a full site for £600 / US$912.

Under a thousand dollars. For a fully-featured WordPress site. (Here’s their site: WPHactory.com)

I’ll ask the question again: Is your business building websites?

If so, how are you going to compete with Filip and Domagoj? Are you going to turn out two (or more) sites a week?

By the way, there’s nothing wrong here! If prices drop, that’s not a bad thing. The only bad thing is to stick your head in the sand and wait for “the market to pick up.” ‘Cos it ain’t gonna, my friend.

Option 2: Super-specialize!

I won’t go over it all again here (there’s a lot more about this in WDID), but whatever you and I are going to do to survive, we should be focusing hard on our special powers.

In other words, stop doing commodity tasks that Filip and Domagoj can do cheaper, and do more of what only you can do.

If you’re a talented front-end coder, work hard to become the best one in the world. If you love doing SEO for equestrian businesses, go out to market with that specific offer, etc.

It’s very tempting to broaden our offerings, thinking that will give us security, particularly when there are new techniques and platforms to adopt coming out all the time. But it’s a mistake.

In fact, the reverse is true. The more focused your offering, the safer your position.

Become THE (whatever-it-is-you-do-best) person. It will take courage, and commitment. If you’ve got the ability, you can make it.

credit: http://c-c-s.deviantart.com/art/Superhero-81268647

You may then continue as a freelancer, or go in-house as a specialist with an agency, or maybe join a startup. These are all environments that can support super-specialists.

But there’s only room for one “best of” in any niche. So here’s another option, which I think has a bigger potential market.

Option 3: Get Strategic

If you’re a web designer today, I’d like to invite you to re-frame your thinking of what “web design” means.

Specifically, it isn’t “making websites” (because that’s now a commodity). In fact, you should seriously consider hiring guys like Filip and Domagoj to do your website publishing for you.

What really makes the difference to your clients’ success? Hint: It isn’t having a websites that’s good-looking, accessible, SEO optimized, etc. etc. All that stuff you can now get off the shelf, cheap!

What really makes the difference is… whatever really makes the difference.

And that’s the beauty of what we do. Every client’s situation is unique. Every one is a new challenge.

I believe every business out there is crying out for one thing, which hasn’t been very easy to find for the past twenty years in this Wild West online marketing sector… STRATEGY.

  • I believe that strategy provides the edge that businesses need to survive, and thrive, in today’s economy.
  • I believe it’s strategy that delivers the most value you can offer your clients (and in the least time).
  • That means that strategy could be the most valuable service you can offer them.
  • Plus, it’s incredibly rewarding in many ways.

If this interests you, here’s what you need to do now:

  1. Definitely read “Web Design is Dead“.
  2. Work through the Strategy material in Open Source Marketing.
  3. I’m starting to build a Pro Training program as part of Open Source Marketing, so please make sure you’re on my mailing list and look out for announcements about that.

For more info, here’s a presentation I put together just yesterday for my OSM Pros working group.

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