Building a Website: DIY or Outsource?

Ché O'Donnell-Gibson
September 29, 2015

I have found that you need to ask yourself the same set of questions when choosing between DIY or outsourcing – whether its building a website or making a piece of furniture.

I built the new website for Alike myself. Not completely, as I have had outsourced specific help from a couple of friends with coding tweaks, specific design elements, illustration and photography.

Yet, the overall design and build I did on WordPress a year ago I knew nothing about building websites and now I know quite a bit. (Well…more than I did:)

When deciding whether to DIY or outsource the second website, I chose DIY for these reasons:

1. I like technology. Sounds simple but in my experience, learning something new is much easier if your interested in it. Sometimes it can be easy to forget the simple things.

2. Higher level of control. After completely outsourcing the build of the first website, I realised I am pretty particular with design and other designers don’t really like that. This can lead to some difficult conversations and ultimately paying extra for changes.

3. Expected continual change. Website builders generally offer package builds. After they work out what you want, they will suggest a package price to complete it. If you change your mind with what you want during or after the build process, it is most likely going to cost you extra because they will have to spend more time changing things.

The catch, is that businesses evolve as new things are learnt about customers, products and/or the business environment and a website will therefore need to adapt to reflect this (especially if it is a new business). I learnt from my first website build that I would want/need to make continual changes to the site over time as I learnt more about the business, what customers want and how they use the website.

4. Save money longer term. This is always a conundrum in business. Time vs Money. Are they the same thing? Will it cost you more or less long term? To me, it came down to how important I thought a great website is for this business specifically. I learnt over the first 18 months that my website is my gateway to sales and therefore a very powerful piece of the business model. This is not always the case with every business. Some are run completely on word of mouth.

I therefore predicted I would save money in the long term, even if it took me 6 months to get a website I was happy with. After 5 years of tweaks the investment of time would have easily paid itself off.

5. Cashflow. I didn’t have the money at the time to throw at an outsourced website building company yet I had the time. On the outside it looks like a time vs money conundrum but when you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money and Cash Flow is King. Priorities with expenses need to be made every month. When the budget is tight as it is in a start up, a new website build can seem hard to put at the top of the list no matter how important you think it will be with future earnings.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.



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