The quick answer to this question is a definite yes. Although it is true that there are many free programs that are easy to use for a novice, it is also true that you get what you pay for. These online programs often use a template, and the result is an appearance that is limited. In fact, a good web designer who is familiar with the more popular programs, can often tell at a glance what the program was that was used to make the website. There is nothing wrong with using these programs if you are not trying to make money or using it for professional reasons. Non-profit organizations and businesses use professional website designers and do so for many reasons. The following are several specific reasons why this is true. Although this list is not exhaustive, it will give you an idea of why professional web designer are in demand.
Businesses and non-profit organizations want a unique and professional look
Any time these cheap programs are used for a business it shows, and the first impression that a person has of a company is often the website. A business can give a bad impression to someone before they have a chance to make a sale. If a website looks cheap, people will think that the company is cheap as well. The impression will be that the company’s products and services are low quality.
Businesses and non-profit organizations need site stability
With professional website design, a business is assured of getting a site that will not crash. Websites that crash are usually not designed for a lot of traffic no matter how good the server is. It takes a good website designer to be able to understand how to create a site made for the traffic that a business or non-profit organization expects to get.
Businesses and non-profit organizations desire a strong functional site
Even when a site is stable, it must be functional. Customers need to be able to navigate the site easily and intuitively. The website should be compatible with all web browsing software and mobile devices. For businesses, there needs to be a well integrated catalogue of products that is easy to look through. Orders should be easy to place, and all of the popular payment methods need to be accepted.
Businesses and non-profit organizations want to be visible on the Internet
Everybody talks about search engine optimization today, but the truth is that is starts with a good website design. Making a site that is already designed to be attractive to search engines makes SEO easier after the site is up and running.
Website professionals are in demand now more than ever. All of the free programs and software are strictly for do-it-yourself web page makers. Serious businesses and other organizations not only use professionals but require them. Keep in mind that even if you have a lot of talent, large and medium size companies usually want to see a degree before they will hire you. A degree shows a certain amount of self-discipline and commitment to your profession. For further reading there is an excellent article in smashingmagazine that explains how to get started as a freelance website designer.