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Part-Time Web Design vs. Professional Web Design

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Part-time web design seems to be the product of an age in which WYSYWIG web design programs such as Microsoft FrontPage™ and NetObjects Fusion™ have made the creation of web sites universally accessible.

Having (supposedly) negated the need to learn HTML, or one of the other internet coding languages, this perceived ease has created a substantial number of part-time web designers working building websites in the evenings for a little cash on the side.

But are their services up to the task when things go wrong?

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What level of support will you get from the part-time web design crowd?

Before answering this question, allow me to relate a little story about Mike, a friend of mine who works as a professional photographer in the UK.

A few months ago he was approached by a couple in need of his services for their wedding day. After quoting his price, Mike was confronted with disbelief about his supposedly outrageous prices and a comment along the lines of: "A friend of a friend of ours said he would do it for less than half that."

The friend in question was an enthusiastic amateur who did the occasional photography job on the side for a bit of extra cash, and no matter how much Mike tried, the ridiculously low price won out in the end.

A typical scenario you may say, but there is a twist in this tale.

After covering the wedding, apparently with reasonable success, the friend’s photo lab suffered a mishap resulting in the complete destruction of the wedding photos, along with a substantial amount of other materials. Nothing remained of the couple’s big day.

It could of happen to anyone, and indeed it did, to Mike some years earlier.

Being a professional photographer however, Mike not only benefits from many years of experience, but also from rather comprehensive insurance policies which, in this case, covered the cost of restaging the entire wedding down to the last guest and recreating the lost pictures, thus preventing a catastrophe for the newly-weds on that occasion.

Unfortunately, the other couple’s ‘friend’ had no such insurances.

Although this little tale has nothing directly to do with part-time web design, it does illustrate the hazards of contracting part-timers, rather than full-time professionals, to undertake any given task. And while the physical destruction of materials is very rare in the web design industry, catastrophic data loss is an ever-present danger for anyone working with computers.

What happens if things go wrong and the web designer loses your data?

What happens if your specifications suddenly become more complicated?

Some part-time web designers may be able to cope with such scenarios, but for the majority of these operators (and their clients) they would spell disaster. Professional web design companies, on the other hand, usually implement comprehensive data backup routines and have contingencies in place for ballooning technical specifications; in other words, the client is covered if things do happen to go wrong.

It pays to remember that the lowest price is not always the cheapest in the long-run, when thinking about getting someone in the part-time web design sector to build your new website.

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