Assessing Your Web Design Options
If you want to create a web site for your business, there are several options. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common options, in no particular order:
- Custom Designed Web Site (Out-sourcing)
This is the most frequently used model of business web site building. Your site can incorporate your logo, be built to your specifications and satisfy your needs for the longest period of time.
It is the most expensive option, although it is not necessarily out of reach, even for a start-up business.
- In-house Custom Web Site
This is the same as the previous option, except that the site is built by your own employees who have those necessary skills (e.g., perhaps, your I.T. department can accomplish this in addition to their other work). In many cases, however, it will require hiring at least one additional employee. If so, this option becomes much more expensive than outsourcing the work.
- Template Based or Pre-Built Niche Site
You can purchase a pre-made template or have one designed for you. With some basic html programming skills and common computer knowledge, you can then build a site for yourself.
Similar to the template site is a site that is template based with already inserted content, products (if you’re following a retail model), affiliate links (for that model) or adsense inserts (for those who want a business providing online advertising. In other words, it comes as a complete site, with instructions about how to implement and expand it. This option, of course, is not suitable for an existing business looking to establish an online presence.
Either of the template options will be the least expensive of the choices we have examined so far.
- Build Your Own Website
This is the least expensive of all. However, there is a considerable learning curve unless you are familiar with the various Internet programming languages, especially html. However, there are online sources for free html tutorials. If you have the time, it can be an enjoyable experience. Most business owners, though, believe their time is better spent on the operational and marketing side of their business.
There is one more option that you should be aware of if you plan an online retail business. Miva, Yahoo and others provide store building software. You plug in the variables and a dynamic web store is magically assembled. I haven’t given this choice it’s own bullet point, because I believe it is a very unsatisfactory solution. The major drawback is its «dynamic» nature. Without getting too deeply into jargon, let me just point out that search engines are often unaware of some of the most important pages on your site. That results in a major downside for any online business. Furthermore, in the long run this option turns out to be more expensive, because there is a higher overhead built into the continuing costs. Some even take a significant portion of your total revenue. I prefer to keep a larger share of the money that I work hard to earn.
We’ll look further into a couple of my recommended options elsewhere in this site.