Every service business needs a professional-looking website to have credibility with customers. In your gut, you might know that your business’s current website falls short, but when deciding how to fix it, you might not know who to turn to. Should you hire a web designer or a website marketer?

In this guide, we’ll cover what sets web designers and web marketers apart and explain everything you need to know to give your business’s website the TLC it needs to jump to the top of search engine results and attract new leads.


Web Designers vs. Website Marketers: What’s the Difference?

Website designers and web marketers fulfill different missions and charge different fees. 

A web designer can deploy a professional website for around $500, though some will charge much more. They focus mainly on the graphic design side of things and usually want you to provide your own written content and strategy for the website. 

Web marketers tackle the same website nuts and bolts, but usually include many other services that are imperative for lead generation. Nearly all web marketers provide substantial research and search engine optimization services. Capable web marketers build an enduring SEO foundation that ensures high search rankings month after month. Elite web marketers build focused landing pages that routinely convert clicks to customers.

Depending on the services offered, a web marketer’s fee will range from $5,000 to $40,000, but for that investment, you get comprehensive, personalized service that generates leads for your company.

Web designers are primarily focused on making the website look good, whereas web marketers are focused on creating a website that actively converts visitors into paying customers. There’s a huge difference.

So, should you hire a web designer or a website marketer? By answering the following questions about what services you need for your website, you can decide whether you need simple web design or full-service web marketing.


Are You Spending Time on Web Content Creation?

Both web design agencies and web marketers can build a website. The difference lies in content creation and marketing strategy.

A web designer will expect you to supply much of the content for your site. A capable web marketer will begin by learning your business’s history, culture, and customer profiles. With these insights in hand, a web marketer creates compelling content for your business.

While you as a business owner are an expert in your craft, you likely aren’t a seasoned marketing copywriting professional. Writing words that directly connect with your audience and their pain points is a science, one that is best left to the experts if you want to maximize your advertising dollars.


Do You Know All of Your Customers’ Unmet Needs?

Congratulations, you have built a business that fulfills the needs of paying customers. You could not have come this far without understanding your customers. But how deep does that insight go? Do you have an all-encompassing picture of their needs, fears, and pain points?

Have you thought through the emotional or practical barriers that dissuade potential customers? Possible hurdles include:

  • Price
  • Poor experience with a competitor’s service
  • Fear of long-term commitment 

A web marketer brings your potential customers’ needs—both emotional and practical—into sharp focus and develops “ideal customer profiles.” They’ll then use those customer profiles to develop the marketing plan for your website and drive all decisions based on that information.

If part of your plan is to spend money on digital marketing such as Google Ads, Social Media Ads, or SEO, you’d be wise to invest in establishing your website as an optimized marketing tool that speaks to your customers and addresses their needs and fears, rather than just a pretty brochure of your company.


Is Your Site ADA Compatible?

Decades ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act laid our regulations to make the nation’s brick-and-mortar businesses accessible to people with disabilities. With the rise of e-commerce, the U.S. Department of Justice now enforces this law with online marketers.

Website accessibility best practices include:

  • Text-to-speech compatibility for blind users
  • Text zooming for visually impaired customers
  • Captions for hearing-impaired users
  • Keyboard navigation and selection

While every site will soon achieve minimum ADA compliance, the businesses that put extra effort into accessibility can also expect to win more customers. Both web designers and web marketers can help you build an ADA-compliant site, but you will need to shop around to find experts with genuine mastery of accessibility features.


Do You Monitor Your Competitors’ Marketing Efforts?

It’s a good bet you keep an eye on competitors’ websites. That effort is not enough in the hypercompetitive online marketing game. 

You need intel on how your competitors leverage Google AdWords, YouTube, Facebook, and other channels. Gathering this data is a core competency for a capable web marketer, but you will be on your own with a web design agency.


Are You Beating Your Competitors’ Core Web Vital Metrics?

In the summer of 2021, Google rolled out Core Web Vitals that measure user experience quality on websites, including:

  • Load Speed: The time it takes for the bulk of your page’s content to appear. 2.5 seconds or less is a good score.
  • First Input Delay: The response time for a user’s first click on your page. A good score is under 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: How frequently visible elements shift as your page loads. A score of 0.1 or less lands your page in the top 25%. 

Freelance web designers can build a website that excels on all three metrics—for a while. To maintain a high Web Vitals score, your site will require regular upgrades. Whether you select a web designer or a web marketer, you will have to commit to an ongoing business relationship.

These metrics have meaning beyond the quality of user experience. Google now factors Core Web Vital scores in its search rankings. Yes, these esoteric numbers now help decide whether or not your website cracks the coveted first page of Google search results.


Is Your Site on Page 1 of Google Search Results?

It’s a harsh fact of online marketing: Most potential customers (up to 94%) never move beyond the first page of Google search results. Google’s SEO algorithm is a complicated beast, and moving up in search rankings in a competitive market requires mastery in a variety of subjects.

A web page designer alone doesn’t understand these metrics or what’s required to climb the rankings. While they might know a few basics, it’s rarely enough to reach page 1 of Google. From that point forward, you enter the realm of search engine optimization, which requires web marketing savvy.

Getting your SEO strategy right pays dividends. Many business owners mistakenly believe that keywords alone define SEO. Well-researched keywords indeed boost your search ranking, but a web marketing professional sees the bigger picture, and can help you cover all of the bases to climb those rankings.

SEO boosts organic search results and is a wise investment that you only get from a full-service marketing agency, not a web designer.


To Pay or Not To Pay

A Google AdWords ad appears at the top of search results and looks like an organic listing with a discreet “Ad” flag.

AdWords uses a pay-per-click model: Businesses only pay if a user clicks on the ad. Thanks to the high page placement, those clicks are likely to happen. Some advertisers reap a 400% return on investment with this ad model. Many other businesses lose money and give up.

AdWords winners prevail because they generate a conversion after the click, which is a primary focus for web marketers.


Does Your Website Turn Clicks Into Conversions?

Let’s say your careful SEO work and AdWords strategy have earned a click from a potential customer. Many businesses direct this lead to their website’s homepage. This approach is a critical mistake.

Once a customer reaches your page, you may have as little as ten seconds to engage your prospect and make the conversion. The way to make the most of that ten-second window is to direct your potential customer to a dedicated landing page. This page should match the copy from your paid AdWords ad and use the same language.

Because you have a well-focused insight into your ideal customer, your dedicated landing page instantly addresses this prospect’s primary concerns. From here, you can guide your prospect to the conversion button. With conversions, you can afford more AdWords ads to drive still more conversions—a virtuous circle.

These conversions are far less likely to happen if your ads lead prospective customers to a one-size-fits-all homepage. Webpage designers can deploy a site that follows industry best practices, but they cannot custom-tailor landing pages that make an emotional connection with the best leads. That data-intensive mission requires a web marketer.


Do You Have a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy?

When your marketing goal is making visceral connections with an ideal customer, there’s no reason to limit yourself to Google AdWords. Depending on your business niche, banner ads, YouTube, Facebook, or even some emerging channels may deserve slices of your marketing budget.

Your presence on multiple channels works in your favor even if your business doesn’t earn that quick click. Repeated exposure leads customers to perceive your enterprise as the market leader. That perception will, in turn, build confidence in a new slate of ideal customers.



Does Your Website Sync with Your Marketing Strategy?

When your website and cross-channel advertising work together, you’re in command of a conversion machine. There’s a hidden payoff to this achievement: growth on your terms.

With a conversion machine, what you spend on marketing determines how quickly you add new customers. Think of dialing a thermostat up or down. When you add customers at your chosen pace, you will always maintain a firm grip on quality control.

A conversion machine is beyond the scope of website designers. Even among web marketing services, relatively few providers can help you reach this marketing pinnacle.



The Takeaway: Choosing Between a Web Designer and a Website Marketer

Should you hire a web designer or a website marketer? If you answered yes to every question, you have tenth-degree black belt marketing skills. Hire a professional web designer to tweak that website and carry on.

If you answered “No” to any question, you might benefit by partnering with a web marketing firm. Tally your “No” answers, and then start looking for a web marketer with the proven skills to plug those gaps.


Have You Met Simplex360?

Should you hire a web designer or a website marketer? If your content and marketing strategy is solid, a simple web design refresh could be just what you need, and you can find plenty of affordable web design companies out there.

If you need to spruce up your business website and integrate SEO techniques, DIY trial-and-error marketing won’t cut it. Simplex360 crushes that obstacle. We harness data, build conversion machines, and put profit-generating marketing within reach of local service businesses. If this sounds like what you need, schedule a free, no-pressure discovery call with our team.