Although every business has different needs, they all must consider similar questions. One issue on which many businesses often disagree is whether to use an in-house web developer rather than hiring an outside company or doing it yourself. The web is a rather big deal in today’s increasingly technological economy, so your company’s website is certainly of prime importance. Yet is it necessary to hire someone to handle your web presence full time?
Obviously, the correct answer is easy, it depends. Some businesses can legitimately get by with just creating a website on their own. If you plan to have rather static content that you don’t expect to change for a number of years, such as would be the case with a restaurant that doesn’t have a seasonal menu or a local brick and mortar business that has no online sales, then you can probably get by doing it on your own or with an outside company.
If you’re reasonably competent in using computer software, there exist fairly easy tools that will allow you to create a website with minimal fuss on your own. However, keeping such a site updated, ensuring it ranks well on search engines, and maximizing sales through quality design are all things that you probably won’t be able to achieve on your own. If your business needs or desires any of these things, then you’ll have to use outside help of some kind.
The question then becomes a matter of hiring another company to do your website as a one time affair or to hire a web developer to keep up with your site over time. For static sites, hiring out is definitely the cheapest solution. However, if you plan to sell things online, update your site regularly, or interact with consumers over the web, then hiring an in-house developer will dramatically simplify things for you.
Web development and online software design is the kind of thing that you should always expect will eventually break. No matter how well coded a product is or how secure a site you set up, over time you will encounter problems. If you have one person keeping track of these problems, they can understand what needs attention. Outside groups that you hire as a one-time basis may do a good job of setting up your site, but they will nevertheless be initially lost when you end up having to rehire them years later to fix mistakes made the first time around. An in-house developer will not generally have this problem.
However, it is too simple to say that an in-house developer is better. In-house developers are notoriously expensive; they can sometimes be several orders of magnitude more expensive than custom software development for your company. By declining to hire in-house, you might have to endure some hiccups later on, but the cost of fixing those hiccups may be much lower than if you had employed an in-house developer the entire time.
In the end, it really depends on what you value more. If you want the highest quality possible, in-house developers are definitely the way to go. However, if your bottom line is efficiency, hiring an outside company or even doing it yourself may be the better option.