End of the Local Designer

A couple of months ago, a client whose Web Site I had brought into this world left me a voicemail. Since it had been a while since I heard from them, I quickly returned their Phone Call. It was bad news. My services were no longer needed as they had gone to a pre-packaged solution. It was a landslide I should have seen coming. Gone are the days where local designers churn out custom tailored web sites for clients.

What Happened? Factory produced Web Sites are taking over. Unlike mass manufactured sites of yesteryear which contained a basic common template, these sites offer functions and targeted dynamic content for your business at incredible deals of only $90 a month. A similar site would cost me at least 5k to build for my client and high monthly costs as I generate the content so it is not a hard choice then to see why businesses are moving to this model.

How it works? Basically these factories somewhere along the line either had a client or investor that payed for them to develop a powerful web site. Objective all along was not to make money on single sales but rather on multiple sales. Thus the cost of development and maintenance is shared among many, hence the low price.

So what should the small independent design shop do? If you have ever read the story of Andrew Carnegie’s father who made great handmade lace until the factories came along you would know that this is a struggle that in the long term cannot be won. At best a designer could hope to build a unique brand for them-self that may attract attention and thus business, but not many will succeed at that. Alternatively they can take all the talent they have and build their own Factory and take it to the market place to sell.

To all the Local Designers left, I wish you Well