Totally agree what the above said.
I recommend a global IT outsourcing platform to you www.taskcity.com I am sure you will find many useful info and experts in this site to help you.
I completely agree with vwebworld. While there are many options available for someone new to web development to create their own websites, why would you want to?
I am a web developer as well and I always make sure that once a new client site is finished the client is given full access to update their site themselves - from making small changes to copy or adding a photo, to adding a page or a new section to their site without my help (of course we are there for support if you need it).There are so many ways to do this - from using off the shelf solutions such as Wordpress or Magento, to creating custom-built content management systems for our clients.
Why would you want to spend your time learning web development when you could job that out to someone who is a professional in the field? You may pay $5000 to the developer to do their job - but if you track your time to create the same thing and multiply it by your hourly rate, haven't you just spent that same amount of money or more? Isn't your time better spent making connections and building your business? It just makes good sense. Sure, there are some people who would research, design and build their home from the ground up with their own hands - but doesn't it make more sense to hire an architect?
Good discussion and like to pitch in my perspective as web developer as well as entreprenuer myself.
As a web developer, I would have to agree with vwebworld and Rochelle about the efficient use of ones time when you delegate the work to web designers. You should do what you are good at and delegates to others what you are not good at. For example, I fix some stuff around my house which I know I can handle but I won't take risk of fixing a plumbing problem which might take hours to learn and do it and even make it worse by trying it. Same way, if you know little bit you can try it out and give a start but don't try to build a well versed website which might not do good for you.
Being said that, as a entrprenuer who starts businesses. It is not easy to spend a bulk of money to a designer and wait for business to grow to get the returns. THats tough decision. So I usually recommend my clients who are just starting up is to see whtehr they have time and skill to learn and implement websites on their own using google sites or site builder which are easy to learn and help them out on logos and so forth for smallprice. Once they start their business and it goes well and see some money coming in, I recommend to revamp the website in a reasonable way to attract more customers. Thats how I would do being a entreprenuer.
I feel that make sense for both sides that way client is satisfied and I am satisfied by giving the right solution for him at the right time of his business grwth.
Interesting discussion here. Being a new business owner myself, I will definitely agree that I do not have the big bucks to spend on getting professional web designers. So I chose to go with Yahoo Sitebuilder and that has worked out fairly well for me. I like that I have the freedom to change around whatever I want whenever I want without depending on someone else to do it for me. Since the service is template based I dont have to learn any coding either and that's good as I have no prior background in that area.
I would like some advise though - I now can sell only one piece per transaction off my website through PayPal as I do not have an ecommerce service attached to it. What are some good suggestions for ecommerce services that will work well with yahoo sitebuiler - something easy to use and not breaking the bank?
I visited your website and it looks reasonably organized with unique looks which blends with your theme. Actually I am from the same town Chennai and very well know the arts and craft products you are selling. You are doing great job in helping women back in india by keeping them on job. I was surprised to see products from Elephant Pooh.
Anyway going back to you question, you don't need a big ecommerce engine to make your request work. Paypal still will help you to make add cart functionality and they can add products to cart and continue shopping. Check out this link, https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_pdn_xclick_to_cart_outside you will get more info.
If you need help, let me know.
Great topic and some good responses so far.
As a mortgage broker I used to have all my leads generated by realty agents. unfortunately it really worked poorly in Tenerife as they do any "easy" looking mortgages themselves (no regulations or qualifications necessary.)
After years of poor quality leads I came across Wordpress and slowy trod a well work path. I knew literally nothing about hosting, domains, SEO, content writing, php or anything else BUT all the information is out there and it is all FREE!
I have paid for almost nothing. You do need to have time to spare though. I set up my first site Tenerife Mortgage Broker and embarked on a link building and awareness campaign.
Slowly but surely the website began climbing up Google (I was doing reciprocal link building amongst other things...) and eventually hit number one. After about a year I noticed I was alos ranking for "spanish mortgages" and getting a few enquiries here and then for clients in mainland Spain which gave me the idea to start another site targetting that sector. I set that one up (by this time I was a lot quicker) and begin a serious backlinking campaign, fortunately I knew a hell of a lot more about SEO by then so was able to compete much faster. I know occupy the top position in search engines (UK datacentres) for most of my keyword terms and have just managed to get a third site onto page one as well.
My sites are not pretty! But, 95% of my leads and therefore my income is derived from these simple free sites. It took a long time to get my head around and is still not perfect (really need a mortgage calculator...) but I achieved what I set out to do and I think so can anyone else.
If you have the budget then outsourcing a professional is a good idea and I will be looking for a WP consultant shortly for another site I am working on as this one is a bit too complicated for me but thankfully I have a good idea of the work and time involved so can avoid overpaying and have a good idea of what to expect.
I think that is the biggest issue when outsourcing. I am sure the web designers know only too well home many scammers are out there waiting to take advantage (many moons ago I had a site built for me and the web guy actually had his own adsense on it - said it was good for SEO!!!) so it pays to have at least a basic understanding of what it is you are paying for and what it is you are receiving.
Every business should have a website. Even if it is just one page with contact details, get something up that will get indexed so when people come looking they can find you and email you.
I work for a small business as a jack of all trades (marketing, co-managing, event planning, etc.). One of the first things we did when I started here was to change the company site from a static design that the owners had to pay to update, to a WordPress site that I can update with posts, articles, new products, event information, etc. whenever I want or need to. This is so useful, especially if you're concerned about seo. So, while the owners of the business did pay a web designer to develop a look for the WordPress site, they have not paid him anything since then, because it is completely managed within the small business.
In addition, our web designer recently created software called WP Gadget (wpgadget.com) that allows people who have absolutely no coding knowledge to design their own WordPress themes/looks for their sites. So if you're pretty creative, willing to spend some time getting to know WordPress and can edit photos and such, you can put together your own site. I think there are a growing number of options out there for people who need cost-effective solutions.
I agree and disagree. And there can be a happy medium between the two.
To save money, building an addition on the back of your store is also cheaper than having a construction company build it.
To save money, going door-to-door with flyers instead of paying to insert them is cheaper.
But it's important to look at the value and return.
If your website doesn't look credible, don't expect to make many sales online (especially to new clientelle). If your business is primarily brick-and-mortar sales it can work (though a professinally designed product will do it better). How many spam emails do you get a week? How many websites do you come across that you find sketchy? Remember-your customers have the same problems and mistrust.
But there is a happy medium. Web designers can build templates for popular content management systems like Wordpress -- which, after the initial design, allows you to maintain control of the content. The same goes with out-of-the-box ecommerce solutions (like Prestashop). Many of these back-end (and front-end systems) are free. However, hiring a company to install or customize them can save you (literally) thousands and still give you the professional product you need (and the security and peace of mind that it has been done right).
If you have a larger budget, you can have custom software designed for you which meets your needs.
Today, I wouldn't recommend you "go it alone". Have a professional do the tough stuff - and you can do what you can do. If anything goes wrong and you need help - you have the relationship with a web design firm to fall back on. Without it, you're on your own. Most companies won't call you back when you say "the website I made is broken, can you fix it cheap?"
Here's an example of the best of both worlds:
revolutionmotors.ca - $700 - The customer purchased a template and paid for it to be customized and have most content setup. Custom features (admin interface to upload car inventory, contact forms for emailing, ect) were added to make working on their site easier, and they were trained how to use Dreamweaver to make simple content changes to their website. They are most pleased that they have a company to fall back on incase they "mess anything up".
If you do go it alone, I'd recommend becoming somewhat familiar with software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage and then purchasing a professional looking design from a place like templatemonster.
In the next few days I'll put together a guide to building your own website which may make it a little easier, should you decide to go down that route!
Empty Pockets, Casi, and everyone else
It is know that business owners [entrepreneurs] by nature are go getters which see no boundaries or limitations.
Hence, you had the courage to start a business aside from what the economy looks like. And to all of you that have had the courage to do such thing... Congratulations and understand that you are the ones fueling the economy.
But when we talk about web design and whether you should build it yourself? Well ask yourself this? You own a Ferrari and don't know anything about mechanics [ferrari] would you work on your expensive car? or would you rather pay the 300.00 dollar oil change fee? or would you do it yourself, to find out that you have caused 90K of damage to your engine?
Same goes for web design, A web designer if he's experienced enough [a web mechanic] knows the ins-and-out of web design. Many business owners think that because they can purchase Do-It-Yourself tools, that they can cut corners and of course the most important "Feel Proud" and show off to family and friends that they are the sharpest tools in the shed. Which you guys are don't get me wrong.
But I am going to take CASI's web site for example: Brenditas Body Works, If that's OK with you CASI, this is to show you how a professional web designer might be your best route. Ok, after going to your web site, yeah it looks very template-ish... meaning probably you and 1 million other people share the same template, just no the content.
Now after looking under the hood "Your Code" CASI you have 1337 lines of code before we get to your "HEAD TAG" I do see that your keywords are on the 9th row, but where is your rich content? remember search engines look at relevant content more than key words. I don't see and Index/ Follow tag nor do I see that your web site is structured correctly...
But it looks good on the outside doesn't it? "So you think" Not only that casi, but in the web design world we have a structure that we all have to go by, this is called Standardization or what we call semantics.
After trying to validate your web site over at the W3C.org the world wide web consortium, you have 89 basic html errors, and 33 Warnings. If you don't believe me click here so you can see for yourself. 89 BASIC HTML ERRORS AND 33 Warnings!
See everything looks good until you have a professional look at your code. I could have coded your whole web site in less than 1337 lines of code. But instead "Thanks to your Power Tool" you have a total of 1887 lines of code, and that's ONLY FOR ONE PAGE! HOW BIG are your files?
Bigger files means more bandwidth on your hosting server, and on the users side it means more time to download? What happens if I am using an I-Phone or the DROID?
will it be Mobile ready? it is a fact that more people are using their cell phones [smart phones] to do their online shopping. So here you are messing up someone's I-Phone, probably have to reboot a few times, and of course we all know, that's an unsatisfied customer. SO thank your DIY power tool...
I am not trying to discourage you by no means... You guys can continue to be jacks of all trades, and build your own web site, or hire a professional have him deliver a good looking web site, perhaps coded correctly, which will leave you more time to do what you do best, and that is to grow your business.
You can hire professionals on a per project basis or as an contractor, as a contractor you might have more accessibility to your files, and what goes on with your web site.
I personally, prefer to work as a contractor/ one time project it all depends on how much work the client needs.
I forgot to mention, Search Engine Optimization and E-commerce, which are two different worlds which have to be addressed correctly.