Building Your Own Website vs Outsourcing: Pros and Cons

WEBSITES AND-BRANDING

Every busi­ness needs an on­line pres­ence. With le­git­i­macy now pre­dom­i­nantly based on the qual­ity of your web­site, it’s more im­por­tant than ever to have a web­site that res­onates with your au­di­ence and does the heavy lift­ing for you.

Maybe you have an ex­ist­ing web­site that is­n’t per­form­ing, or you’ve started a new busi­ness and need to de­velop your on­line pres­ence. Either way, if you’re eval­u­at­ing whether to build a web­site your­self or hire an agency, there are a few pros and cons to con­sider.

This ar­ti­cle will out­line the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of each ap­proach, as well as how you can mit­i­gate some of the risks.

Building it your­self

Your first op­tion is to build a web­site your­self. With the amount (and qual­ity) of web­site builder tools, this is an op­tion for any­one that has a rea­son­able level of tech-savvy.

We won’t dive into any of the tools we rec­om­mend for build­ing a web­site now. If this is some­thing that in­ter­ests you, read more about what tech to use when build­ing your web­site here.

a GIF of an animated duck coding on a computer

Pros

#1 Cost

This one goes with­out say­ing but the clear ad­van­tage of do­ing it your­self is that you can keep costs low. There will be some costs in­volved with the web­site builder you choose, but these should­n’t ex­ceed more than $200 per month.

Be care­ful you don’t limit the cost to money alone, your time is your biggest as­set. What is the cost to the busi­ness if you’re fo­cused on build­ing a web­site ver­sus spend­ing time on other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties?

#2 Control

There’s an ob­vi­ous ad­van­tage in not hav­ing to rely on some­one else to com­plete the work. You’re able to make changes and ma­noeu­vre when you want (or have the time avail­able).

Let’s say you have a par­tic­u­lar mar­ket­ing cam­paign that you want to ex­e­cute and as part of it you need three land­ing pages. With con­trol over your web­site, you can ex­e­cute your cam­paign with­out the risk of be­ing road­blocked by de­signer/​de­vel­oper per­son­nel.

#3 Domain Expertise

Who knows your in­dus­try and busi­ness best?

Yep, that’s right, you.

By build­ing your web­site, you ben­e­fit from a sin­gle voice that clearly un­der­stands where your busi­ness is and where it’s go­ing. While ex­ter­nal in­put and feed­back can be ben­e­fi­cial, there’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than en­gag­ing with an agency that does­n’t quite un­der­stand your busi­ness.

Cons

#1 Upskilling and train­ing

If you haven’t used a web­site builder be­fore or don’t have much de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence, there will be a level of train­ing and up­skilling re­quired to be pro­fi­cient.

Everyone learns at their own pace but even for a fast learner, it may take days/​weeks to get across all the func­tion­al­ity in some of the more com­pre­hen­sive web­site builders.

While you’re learn­ing the tools there is also the risk that the qual­ity of the fi­nal prod­uct is­n’t at the same level it would be if it were com­pleted by an agency.

#2 Adds to your ex­ist­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and work­load

There is a real risk that you might bot­tle­neck your­self if you take on web­site de­vel­op­ment as an­other re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Running a busi­ness is a full-time job. Even if you have the time to cre­ate the ini­tial web­site, will you have the time in 3-6 months to im­ple­ment the changes you want?

Obviously, you’re not tied to this de­ci­sion for­ever. You can al­ways hire some­one in­ter­nal to takeover, or con­tract out to an agency. Even so, you’ll need to cre­ate han­dover doc­u­men­ta­tion and al­lo­cate time to train that per­son.

#3 Limited by tools & ca­pa­bil­i­ties

The most ap­peal­ing and at­ten­tion-grab­bing func­tion­al­ity is of­ten the most com­plex. Makes sense right? If every­one could drop it onto their web­site then it would­n’t stand out.

Scroll to the bot­tom of this page, and then keep scrolling. Pretty cool right?

To get every page to have a smooth scroll with an em­bed­ded form (without im­pact­ing any­thing else on the page) was a lit­tle tricky. It was­n’t some­thing we could just drop in from a web­site builder - it had to be cre­ated with cus­tom Javascript.

It’s a skill that ex­pe­ri­enced de­sign­ers and de­vel­op­ers have. By build­ing your web­site your­self, you have to be will­ing to trade off on cus­tom, unique fea­tures that aren’t of­fered by stan­dard web­site builders.

#4 Lacks an ex­ter­nal point of view

While hav­ing con­trol is a clear ad­van­tage, there is also the risk that you silo your­self. External opin­ions can pro­vide a per­spec­tive that sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves the qual­ity of your web­site. Here is an ar­ti­cle that lists out some of the web­site en­hance­ment con­sid­er­a­tions you may miss with­out an ex­ter­nal in­flu­ence!

Even if you do build it your­self, be sure to seek feed­back from fam­ily and friends.

If you think you want to DIY your web­site build, check out this list of web­site de­sign tips that can en­sure a suc­cess­ful launch.

Outsourcing to an agency

An illustrated image depicting two road signs reading "pros" and "cons" - on each side are dot doints. The cons are, lack of communication, less control and negative impact on culture. The Pros are cost effectiveness, flexibility, access to expert talent and faster project delivery.

Pros

#1 Access to an ex­pert that knows what they’re do­ing

One of the main pros of out­sourc­ing your web­site build is that it will be an in­dus­try pro­fes­sional do­ing it (as long you hire the right agency). If you have no idea how to build a web­site, then hir­ing some­one else with the skills and ex­pe­ri­ence to do it for you makes sense. The whole job is taken care of for you - no has­sle and no stress over learn­ing about web code, web de­sign or web de­vel­op­ment. Also, in­stead of work­ing on it in your free time, out­sourc­ing al­lows you to fo­cus on other busi­ness ar­eas that re­quire your at­ten­tion. No one drop­ping the ball here, my friend!

#2 Familiarity with tools and tech­nolo­gies

Another pro of out­sourc­ing is that your cho­sen in­dus­try pro­fes­sional will be fa­mil­iar with all the fancy tech­nol­ogy and tools used to build your web­site. Building web­sites is their bread and but­ter. There won’t be any steep learn­ing curves or silly er­rors made here. This can save you a lot of time and has­sle as your pro­ject nears com­ple­tion. You’ll also be able to lever­age their ex­ist­ing re­sources, thus sav­ing you from spend­ing money on buy­ing new hard­ware and soft­ware li­censes be­fore get­ting started.

#3 Speed to mar­ket

Need your web­site up and run­ning quick smart? Well, then out­sourc­ing is the way to go for you.

An agency that of­fers web­site builds can get your site built from scratch in a mat­ter of weeks, and even the most com­plex sites can be com­pleted in a mat­ter of months. And since the agency is man­ag­ing all of the build­ing processes, you’ll have fewer hic­cups and com­pli­ca­tions along the way.

#4 Quality of the end prod­uct

As men­tioned be­fore, out­sourc­ing your web­site build is prob­a­bly go­ing to lead to a higher qual­ity prod­uct. Why? Well, it’s quite sim­ple: the per­son you pay to build your site has likely built tens (or maybe even hun­dreds!) of web­sites be­fore - af­ter all, it is their job. Need your web­site to align per­fectly with your strat­egy? This is eas­ier when

Basically, they know ex­actly what they’re do­ing and how to do it ef­fi­ciently and to the high­est stan­dard. The end prod­uct that they pro­duce also rep­re­sents their busi­ness, not just yours, so it has to be in tip-top shape.

Cons

#1 Investment

When you’re think­ing about out­sourc­ing your web­site build, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that there is also a (usually not in­sub­stan­tial) cost in­volved in hir­ing some­one else to build your site. Not only will you have to pay an agency to do the job, but you’ll need to find and man­age that agency as well, mean­ing ex­tra time and money on your part.

If you de­cide against out­sourc­ing your web­site build, though, the al­ter­na­tive is a more hands-on ap­proach. If you don’t have the skills or ex­pe­ri­ence in web de­vel­op­ment, you may well end up spend­ing any sav­ings in lost time and up­skilling.

#2 Risk - find­ing the right agency

One big risk in out­sourc­ing your web­site build is find­ing the right agency to build it. If you find an agency that is within your bud­get and are able to do the job well, it will be worth its weight in gold. However, if you choose the wrong one (too cheap, too in­ex­pe­ri­enced, the list goes on!), you could end up wast­ing a lot of time and money try­ing to fix things down the road. In some cases, you might even have to start from scratch with an­other com­pany! You can feel your back pocket hurt­ing al­ready.

#3 Control

The last con of out­sourc­ing your web­site build is los­ing con­trol of the end prod­uct. If you’re the type who likes to have a say in every as­pect of your busi­ness (i.e. most busi­ness own­ers), hav­ing some­one else come in and build your site may feel like a loss of con­trol. But, and I can­not stress this enough, if you em­ploy an agency to build your web­site for you and feel like you’re no longer able to get a word in or that they don’t lis­ten to you, that’s a red flag. The best agen­cies will make sure you have con­trol and the abil­ity to make changes as you go.

A quote block that reads "The best agencies will make sure you have control and the ability to make changes as you go."

So, the an­swer is clear as mud, right?

Whether you’re look­ing to make your busi­ness more suc­cess­ful, or just try­ing to get your mes­sage out there to more peo­ple, hav­ing a well-pre­sented, easy to use web­site is one of the most im­por­tant ways to do so. With so much rid­ing on the de­ci­sion, it’s no won­der you’re here pon­der­ing whether it’s worth it to hire an agency or just DIY it.

The truth of the mat­ter is this: hir­ing an agency to build your web­site will be more ex­pen­sive than do­ing it your­self, but it’s also highly likely to be worth it if you’re not al­ready skilled in cod­ing, are time-poor or need a fast so­lu­tion.

With all things, it’s im­por­tant to weigh the pros and cons of each ap­proach be­fore de­cid­ing on a plan of ac­tion that will help your busi­ness grow in the right di­rec­tion. Interested in hir­ing a team of ex­perts? You can book a free Website Strategy ses­sion with us.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Hudson

Digital all-rounder and hater of gluten

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