So many people these days claim to be able to make websites, long gone are the days where it was seen as some kind of clever, voodoo, dark magic. Programs like Dreamweaver and Frontpage have brought web design to the masses. No longer do small companies have to pay thousands to create great looking and effective websites… They can just get their mate’s kid to knock them something together for a couple of hundred quid!

It really bugs me when I hear people talking like this.

I’ve been making websites and working on the web professionally, full time for quite a few years now, and every day even now I find so many new things to learn. It’s a constantly changing arena with so much to learn and consider. How anybody can claim to be a ‘web designer’ because they downloaded a cracked copy of Dreamweaver I find quite amazing.

Why shouldn’t you get a 15 year old to design your website? Well aside from the legal implications of getting a kid to work for you, here are a few more very good reasons.

1. Making Updates – A website should be a constantly evolving thing. It shouldn’t stay the same for long. It’s important that you are able to add and update the content on your site. I’m not saying that 15 year olds don’t know about content management systems, but if they are using Dreamweaver for example, it could be an uphill struggle!

2. Continued Support – What happens when your website goes down but the kid you once enlisted has skipped off to university or got a real job? You’re left with a website you can’t update and doesn’t work! It’s effectively useless to you! You’re then faced with the challenge of finding a new whippersnapper or paying excessive rates to tidy up their work.

3. Marketing/Online Promotion/SEO -‘Making a website’ for a small business is much more than just putting some graphics and basic content online. The site needs to be crafted to reach it’s full potential. The web designer has to understand how the web works, search engines, keywords, optimisation – a website needs a full marketing and promotion strategy.

4. Accessibility/User Experience/Cross Browser Compatibility – A 15 year old with a cracked copy of Dreamweaver won’t necessarily understand all there is to know about navigation, user friendly interfaces and human computer interaction. Making sure that everyone sees your website they way it should be displayed. A professional web design company will have a good knowledge of accessibility guidelines and a combination of Macs and PCs, with various browsers installed – and then various versions of those various browsers.

Yes, you could get a 15 year old to build you a website. In much the same way that you could get a 15 year old to build you a house or perform brain surgery.. It’s just not recommended!