Tooting my own horn

Today, I did a vanity search for “Toban Penner”. As embarrassing as that sounds, I was surprised to see that I was quoted on the News and Observer site. They were asking me about Google’s “Get Your Business Online program in North Carolina”. It’s one of these “you can build an amazing site all by yourself for free” programs. Sometimes, programs like these are scary for designers like me… but then I read what I said to the interviewer, and I feel better and calm down a bit. Here’s the snippet:

Google and Intuit’s program faces plenty of competition from companies, many of them small Web design firms, that have been helping small businesses get online for years.

Toban Penner, a Durham-based web designer that customizes WordPress templates for his customers, said local firms can often personalize a webpage better than larger companies like Intuit.

“A lot of my clients start off with a company like that, and then they realize that their site doesn’t reflect their company’s look and feel,” said Penner, who has been in business for about three years. “If you work with someone locally, they’ll be able to meet with you, see your company and get a feel for what you need. They’ll be able to design a site that fits with the identity of your company.”

The fact is, if you want a website for free. No problem, you can do it! But if you want your site to reflect your business in a professional way that doesn’t harm your image, you’re going to need some design skills. That’s where designers like myself and others will come in, and I think we’ll be in demand for years to come.