Should I learn to build my website or outsource it?
This is a common question with cash strapped small businesses. They understand that in this day and age, every business needs to have a website. They don’t have the skills in-house to build a website. They hear these Ads suggesting they build their own and save money. Sounds convincing. Why spend money when you can do it yourself. Money is scarce isn’t it.
Before we go further, we would like to explain that just like every business is different, every website is different and costs vary accordingly. A blog will not cost as much as a photography portfolio website. An informational website will generally not cost as much as an ecommerce website. What we are trying to achieve with this article is NOT to provide you with a price chart for your website, but rather to give you an idea of everything that goes into building a website.
There is a lot that goes into building a website. First and foremost is time – whether its your own time or the time of a developer, time is an important variable in this equation. How much time do you have or how soon do you need your website? Next is your interest in gaining coding knowledge, followed by design skills and money. How much are you willing to spend on learning web development vs how much are you prepared to pay others to build it for you. The variables differ from business to business. You may lack one, two, or even three of these resources. What then? Donâ€™t feel stuck as there is a way around everything. One resource can compensate for another. So, if you lack design skills but have time, do not fret, just start looking for a good course on web design.
Contrary to popular belief, money is actually the most flexible resource. You have time or you do not, you can code or not, you can design or not and not be willing to learn how to do it. Money on the other hand can buy you what you don’t have. If you feel something is valuable to you, you will have no qualms about paying for it. If your website has value for you, you will find a way to pay for it.
Building your own website
Let’s say you have time and want to build the website yourself. Here are some of the steps involved:
Each of these will largely depend on the variables of time, technical knowledge and design skills. You can opt for professional help for parts of it if necessary.
There are two options. You do all the website building yourself, from scratch. Or, use a Drag & Drop Website builder tool like Wix or Weebly. As a drag and drop builder, Wix & Weebly require minimal technical knowledge. The only drawback is that some of the available tools may be very limited. These builders do not let you do everything you want. Whatâ€™s in their existing menu is what you can use and not much else. But that may be good enough for you.
If you are a DIY type, you can create the content and graphics yourself. Since you are saving money by building the site yourself, there is a good chance that you have some spare pennies for content. You may even splurge a little on promoting the website.
Outsourcing web development to professionals
A professional developer will likely build your website using WordPress if it is a catalog or informational type of website or may switch to a different platform if complex ecommerce is involved. WordPress powers over 26% of all websites. Think of all the websites you visit. Chances are that they are WordPress sites.
Your web developer will ask you to buy a domain name (your web address) and hosting (where your website will reside). There are different types of hosting but you can start small and ramp up as the number of visitors to your site (traffic) grows. Here are sample hosting expenses:
- Shared hosting costs $5 to $30 / month
- VPS hosting costs $50 to $100 / month
- Dedicated hosting $150 and up / month
If you are very particular about design, then you may go for custom design. That could cost between $750 to $2,000 and up. If you want to be on the economical side, you may buy a ready made theme that will cost around $100 and still look decent. It may look a little cookie cutter but can save you a lot of money and your developer will then adjust it to your needs.
Once the design part is done, your web developer will code the functions that you need and also integrate the design into the backend. This could run from about $500 to several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of your needs.
Don’t forget content. Once you have the web site designed and developed, you need some content. Are you going to create it yourself or hire professionals. A good copy writer may cost $500 to $1,000 and you may spend an additional $500 to $600 on a graphic designer.
The last thing is traffic, that is, visitors to your website. A website does you no good if it has no traffic. But that is a separate subject in it’s own right and we can discuss it in a separate article.
Whether you decide to build your website yourself or outsource it to professionals, you must have a website. I hope this article helped.