It's a rare modern business that doesn't have a website, but putting together a state-of-the-art online presence can be costly.
However, don't be tempted to save cash by going down the DIY development route. It's a false economy that will hold your online business back, and here's why.
1. Skill and Experience Required
Modern software packages make it easy to put together a straightforward website that provides a basic presence for a fledgling business. However, making an effective and profitable site for a second phase of growth takes much more than following a point-and-click exercise.
No matter how enthusiastic you are, there will be no disguising the work of an amateur compared to a team of experienced designers and developers. Considering that your website is often the first impression a customer will have of your company, why start off on the wrong foot by building something generic and uninspiring?
2. Time Is Money
A full-featured site isn't something that can be thrown together in an afternoon. Devoting enough time to building a website to make it a success will inevitably distract you from your core business. And who has time for that?
Taking opportunity cost into consideration, some business functions are invariably more cost-effective to outsource. Web development is often one of them.
3. Ground-Up SEO
If you want your site to perform well in Google searches, this needs to be planned for up front, as an integral part of its development. The days when SEO involved bolt-on trickery are long gone, and it's hard to make a badly developed site rank well after the fact.
All professional web developers should know this, and will produce a site that's search-friendly from the ground up.
4. Conversion Rates
Business websites need to convert well if they're to provide a return on their investment. Whether you run a full e-commerce website or a simple brochure site with a contact form, if it doesn't generate business, it's not doing its job.
Maximizing conversion rates is a huge, complex field and requires expertise to get it right. It's not something even a knowledgeable beginner can pick up with a few hours' research.
5. Dead Ends in Development
The web doesn't stand still, and your website can't afford to either. When you build your own site, you'll either be caught up in a never-ending cycle of upgrades and fixes, or you'll be left with an online presence that slowly but surely fossilizes.
A good design agency can keep your website current with only a few hours of maintenance each month. They can also quickly add new sections or features as your business needs demand.
6. Support with Issues
What happens if your self-built site encounters technical problems beyond your current knowledge? Do you know how to apply security patches or re-start servers? For anything major, you'll likely need to hire someone to fix the issues.
This will present a problem if you call in a professional to handle a site built by an inexperienced amateur. It can take just as long to adapt to an unconventional approach as it does to actually find the root of the problem.
It's far more cost effective and efficient to combine development, maintenance, and support in one package, with one agency taking responsibility.
7. Long-Term Cost Effectiveness
Lastly, if you build your own site, chances are you'll be less than entirely satisfied with the end result. It likely won’t have the features, usability, or conversion power of a professionally made site.
If you wind up needing to hire an outside agency to pick your site apart, fix its issues, and bring it back up to speed, it'll likely cost more than simply outsourcing the task in the first place.
A website is such a crucial part of modern business that you can't afford to take shortcuts. Professionals can often tailor your design and development plan to fit within a budget, rolling out groups of key features and expanding your pages as your website helps increase your sales. And, if you're serious about doing business online, it's an investment that needs to be made.