Millions of people now use the Internet to find the things they need. A well-laid-out website can provide all sorts of useful information to those who might need what you have to offer, such as hours of operation, telephone numbers, email address and information as to why they should select your company over others. When planning or designing a business website, you generally have two options: build the website yourself or contract the work out to a professional Web designer or programmer. Before you rush into a lengthy do-it-yourself project or shell out a lot of money to a professional, consider the pros and cons of both approaches to building your company website.
Needed Design Abilities Many desktop and online applications exist that enable you to create websites rather quickly. Many Web hosting providers provide access to site builder applications that let you create basic websites in a matter of minutes. Likewise, desktop programs such as Dreamweaver, Net Objects Fusion and others ship with templates you can use to create a website with a minimal amount of HTML or Web programming experience. However, many of these easy-to-use site or template solutions produce only basic sites that are more suitable for personal websites rather than sites for businesses. This is especially true if you plan to offer products for sale on the Web. While you may be able to produce an attractive, functional site with the consumer-oriented tools, you must possess at least some experience in coding and programming to add advanced features such as customer management solutions, a working shopping cart application or login or membership management. If you need these types of features, and you don’t feel comfortable in implementing them yourself, it might serve you well to hire a professional Web developer.
Time to Set Up and Implement the Site If you feel your business needs only a minimal Web presence and site that consists of just a few pages, you can probably use available Web design tools to create your business website in a few hours. However, if you sell products online or implement a customer management system, designing and implementing a site can be a time-consuming affair. If selling products online, you will want to ensure that every product has an enticing description and you include every pertinent information. This means you must design a new page or database entry for every product your plan to sell. Likewise, if you plan to offer helpful content on your site – and you should to attract more visitors – writing and uploading articles for your site takes a substantial amount of time. If you have ample time for these tasks, there is no reason you cannot do the work yourself. However, if creating product pages or content for your website distracts you from running and growing your business, you should seriously consider outsourcing your website project.
Site Repairs and Maintenance A successful website requires more than just a good design and catchy name. Once your website is live, it will require continuous maintenance and updating to ensure potential customers keep coming back. Although it is relatively easy to create a website with modern development software tools, these applications are not very useful if your site starts having problems. HTML or other code errors, broken links, corrupted database files are always a concern for busy websites. Therefore, unless you or someone at your business has the ability to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues that might arise with your website, using a professional to design, monitor and maintain your business website can save you and your site’s visitors a lot of grief in the long run.
About the Money In the end, money will undoubtedly be a major consideration in your decision to outsource your business website or do the work in-house. Good professional website developers usually don’t work cheap, nor should they. However, if you spend some time soliciting ideas and bids from developers, you can probably find someone who can work within your site budget. Building the site yourself will usually save you a lot of money. However, before you undertake the task yourself or appoint the task to one of your employees, you should determine if the time you spend on the project could better be used to manage and grow your business. The time you might spend designing, creating and implementing could wind up costing you more in lost business revenue than what you pay to an outside contractor.