Outsourcing Web Design: When to Say it’s time
During your company’s annual general marketing meeting, your boss broached plans about redesigning your company website. The announcement was not at all surprising as you and your team are already expecting this big reveal several months ago. Managing the project in-house can give your company 50% savings on expense, but such cost savings can cost you even more if the execution is not done properly. Now, the challenge is about whether or not it is a smart move to do all in-house or outsource.
When almost everything is being outsourced, the prospect of letting an outside company or a virtual staff handle the website design and development for your company might be appealing. But before you sign a contract with an outsourcing firm, you must consider a few things like available resources, risks, marketing money, and more of the likes.
Audit your internal resources
Do you have the skills and talent suited or ready to plunge into your website redesign project? This is the stage where you need to be sure about your people and their skills in handling the website redesign project. To create the most effective website possible, you need the right people who will push the project moving forward.
Do you have a marketing leader with you who will guide the team in developing the new direction of your brand in the digital and mobile realm? Your marketing expert will be in charge of so many things like defining who your target audiences are, what are the needs to be fulfilled, what your key success metrics would be from a web analytic point of view, etc.
Of course, you will need a graphic artist. Does this person has a full grasp of what web design stands for for your business? The graphic artist must know how to balance user experience and usability with merely the development of artwork.
Add to the list a competent and reliable web developer. Is this person capable of producing clean, efficient code, and then incorporating a content management system? Does your web developer knows how to code your website for a multi-touch, multi-screen world?
A copywriter or web content writer is as equally needed as the other website redesign team member. Their participation should help propel the project to move forward and not slow it down. You only can expect such talent to contribute a lot when the person has a strong grasp on the unique selling proposition of your company. He or she also need to be good at organising information so navigating your site becomes a breeze among users. The writer also needs to know how to write search engine-friendly content.
It is also important to include a project manager in the package. The role of the project manager encompasses managing your website redesign team members to taking control over timeline and budget. They also serve as the official voice of the project, taking inputs from all stakeholders and putting them all into action.
Can your in-house “one-person web team” perform the job properly?
As most often is the case, small-sized and medium-level enterprises keep an in-house web team but letting only one person juggle all the roles of a web designer, web developer, web master, system administrator, and sometimes, the writer too! The website development practice cannot be a one-man act because apart from updating a website, designing and building a website from scratch requires creative and technical skills and competencies. Even if you have heard of certain people who does both design and development, but they are rare and expensive.
Experience tells us that even how good a graphic or web designer is in executing elegant and classy web design, however they are limited by lack of technological prowess to execute their design comps. On the other hand, a very capable website developer might be the best coder in town but when asked to design, their output could range from being too utilitarian to being difficult to use.
Then for the good of your business, you might as well consider inducting your one-person web team as the project manager and outsourcing your existing project. When you outsource your web design project to an outside company, you get a whole team of web design and development experts who will give you several skill sets that know how to work together to get results.
The bottom line here is to outsource to offset internal weakness. Some parts of the project are better kept in-house but not others. When this becomes the case, you should immediately look for your team’s weakest link and replace them with people who can perform the job well and competently.
Evaluate your most important resources: Time
Remember that web design project requires time commitment from each party involved. Once you have all the necessary talent in place to redesign your website, you must make the most of their time. Website redesign project shouldn’t be treated as something that can be done “on the side.” Outsourcing solves the issue of focus and letting your core team focus on your strategic processes in the company.
Get Fresh Perspective from Outsiders
If you need access to innovation, new insights and the expertise not presently available in-house, better outsource them. An outside party can bring the perspective and the thinking that of your customer. Some of their perspectives are absent in your eyes and they can see your business and your products/services like a real customer would. They also can ask questions similar to what your prospect might.
When you are too absorbed and deep into your business, some details about your products and service are hazy to you. What you might be aware of the questions that your customers ask you several years ago might now be forgotten. When you have access to an outside opinion, you get the help you need in generating ideas for your desired outcome.
Key take away
Whether in-house or outsourced, the cost of your website redesign project will be affected by various factors. Don’t assume that you get the project done gratis just because it is your internal staff who will do the project for you. The opposite might as well be the reality than you think. One factor is the tendency for projects like this to drag on when the decision-makers are not into the project, hence, pulling more cost than you’d projected.
On the other hand, when you outsource the project, you can expect the cost to be more predictable. The reason for this is that agencies or an outsourcing company adopts repeatable process and they do it on a regular basis. The creativity that an outside company pour into your project can also be startingly fresh because they can see your company, your product and services in a way that you can’t.