Do Your Website In-House or Hire Out?

October 31, 2017

Today’s digital marketplace has an abundance of web design and development tools that are easy enough for even beginners to work with. You don’t even have to know how to code to create and publish a beautiful website.

But should you rely on in-house talent to design and develop your website or should you hire a professional digital house to do this for you?

We’ve put together a helpful list of questions to ask yourself and your team to assist in making the determination to keep your website development in house or outsourced.

Design and develop your own website…

1. If you have an overarching marketing strategy already in place

Strategy is the MOST important element of your digital presence. If anyone tells you otherwise, run. Seriously!

Your website is a piece of your overarching marketing and digital presence, so it needs to be in sync with your brand, your key messages, your brand platform, and your digital and traditional marketing outreach efforts. Strategy is the glue that holds everything together, so make sure this is in place first. If you already have a strategy, awesome! Proceed to point 2.

If you aren’t sure where to start with a strategy or don’t already have one, we can help. Here is a field guide on marketing to get you started, and the opportunity to participate in a marketing audit that will jumpstart your process.

2. If you have competent designers and developers in house OR you can use a customizable template

Do you know these words or tools? PHP, htaccess, UI, UX, Wireframe, Wordpress, API, Customized Theme, Plugins, Widgets. If the answer from you or your in-house resource is mostly “no,” you will probably want to work with a design house because they are all important elements of putting a website together.

If you do understand these terms and you have designed websites before, go for it in house! We have written a blog about the pros and cons of the best website builders and have created a Field Guide to help you start the website building process. Take a look at these and if you have any questions, reach out to us. We are always here to answer questions!

There are also tons of great, customized themes available for Wordpress, Wix, and Squarespace on Themeforest. Check out the templates available to you! If all you need is a simple website that can be accommodated by using a custom theme, Themeforest is a great resource.

3. If you will have the long-term resources and time, in house, to update and maintain it

We find that especially in small businesses or solopreneur organizations, the biggest battle is not only finding effective digital creative resources, but also time. If you have the time now—and in the future—to build, maintain, and refresh your website, in house may be your answer.

We have seen that when entrepreneurs are busy running their business while also trying to grow their business, time is the biggest obstacle to creating and maintaining a website.

You may have ample time to build your website now, but think ahead 12-36 months down the road when your business is booming and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will maintaining my website and keeping it fresh take prominence over building my business?
  2. Will I have the time to dive into marketing if my business takes off, or will operations and business development take precedence?
  3. Will I even want to focus on maintaining my website down the road, or am I more of a builder?

If any of these 3 questions landed you at a “yes,” consider working now with a web design and development team. Then 2 years from now when you need to update your website, you will already have the team familiarized with your digital brand and you resources to hit the ground running.

Hire a professional…

1. If you are looking at a total brand and content overhaul

Attempting to start or run a business as well as do all of the strategy, creative, and digital elements is too much for one, or even a few, people to accomplish. If you are looking at a brand new brand or a brand overhaul as well as a new or updated digital presence, get outside help from the experts. They will not only guide you through the process of web design and development, but can also provide helpful expertise and background metrics on what they have seen be successful and unsuccessful in the digital marketplace.

2. If you want help with not only a web presence, but a marketing strategy

Very few leaders think of “strategy” when they think of designing or developing a website. Even fewer leaders realize that behind every great website design is a killer marketing strategy. Our website designs are all predicated upon a discovery process with clients that first establishes a guiding marketing strategy.

We agree with Steve Jobs:

Design without strategy is just veneer.

Great design and development houses provide you with a website that will meet your marketing and business development needs now and in the future.

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3. If you don’t have competent designers and developers in house

This is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s important we say it. Not everyone can design websites. Even people who can use customized templates to get a Wordpress site up and running can run into problems with more complex functional requirements like adding e-commerce or lead-generation pages to your site. Even complex javascript, customized PHP calls, or a wide variance on the CSS on your pages can quickly overwhelm a non-developer.

List out your functional requirements for your site. If you observe several pages that have unique interactive, functional, or design requirements, consider contacting an outside development team.

If you aren’t sure where you land on wanting to do a website in house or hire a professional, give us a call today. We can help!


Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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