Building a Company Website: Which Option is Right for You?

As I said in my blog post earlier this week, a company website is no longer option in today’s digital world.

Although you might agree with this notion, building a website is easier said than done. If your company still doesn’t have a website, you might be overwhelmed by the options, unsure about how to get started or worried about the cost.

Have no fear!

We’re here to help. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve outlined some options for you to consider as you embark on building your company website.

Options for Building a Company Website

1. Do it Yourself.

Building a website used to be something that required special software and mad coding and design skills. No longer. There are now tons of tools and templates for businesses to build a website on their own.

My friend, Sarah Mason, wrote an excellent guide for building your own website for under $100. She walks you through several of the best options (such as WordPress, Squarespace, etc.) and gives you resources for getting started.

Mashable also offers some additional ways to build a website on a budget. Or, you can check out these additional website building tools from Entrepreneur.

While I certainly advocate for getting professional help with your website, building it on your own can be a good option for solopreneurs or cash-strapped businesses that are just getting started.

However, if you go with this option, you must be comfortable with technology and have the time to embark on this effort.

Cost: Low

Time commitment: High
 

2. Hire Freelancers.

If you don’t have the time or skill to build your own website, hiring a freelancer or set of freelancers can be a great option for you to get professional help while keeping costs in check.

A freelance designer can design the entire site or simply create a customized header for your website. A freelance developer can build out the site or simply help you install and set up everything. And, you can even hire freelancers to handle the copywriting as well.

It’s rare you can find a freelancer who can do both design and development. If you do, you’ll commonly find that the freelancer is stronger in one area. That’s why it might be best to hire two different people to get the job done.

To find a freelancer, start by asking your networks. If that doesn’t work, you can search on freelance job boards, such as Freelance Switch or Elance. The Next Web also offers a great guide for hiring and finding freelance web designers.

Depending on how much help you need and what kind of site you’re trying to build, this could cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

By hiring freelancers, you can get some quality work for less money. However, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for and manage all of the freelancers directly. This approach requires a lot more hands-on management from you.

Cost: Low-to-Mid Range

Time Committement: Mid-to-High

3. Hire a Creative Agency or Graphic Design Shop.

Perhaps the most common way businesses choose to build a website is by hiring a graphic design firm or creative shop.

There are a lot of benefits to this approach. Creative shops have a stable full of designers and developers they can call on to create the site based on your specific needs. They also offer creative direction and guidance and manage the entire project, so the burden is taken off of you.

Although this isn’t always the case, most creative agencies will have a higher level of expertise or skill than patching together a team of freelancers. You also get an easier and more seamless experience.

Just like hiring freelancers, you do need to have some idea about what you need. In other words, what kind of platform do you want to build it on? Do you need eCommerce capability? Because some design shops specialize in certain areas, you’ll want to hire one that can deliver the functionality you need.

As you may have guessed, this approach comes with a much higher price tag. On the very low end, design shops charge a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for building a website.

Cost:
  High

Time Commitment: Low-to-mid range

4. Hire a Digital Marketing Agency.

Perhaps one of the options businesses might not think of is hiring a digital marketing firm to build their website.

Some of the largest PR and marketing agencies will have their own design and development teams, while smaller marketing firms will rely on their external partnerships with freelancers and creative shops that can get the job done.

For instance, we fall in that second camp. The approach gives us the flexibility to bring in the design and development team based on the client’s needs.

A digital marketing agency offers a website approach focuses on marketing strategy. In other words, a marketing firm will help you determine how your website fits into your overall marketing efforts and how it can help you reach your business goals.

Hiring a digital marketing firm gives you many of the same benefits of hiring a creative shop, but with the added bonus of copywriting being handled by the marketing firm.

Going this route will often give you a higher level of expertise, a comprehensive approach and less hands-on management from you. But, this means it comes with a higher price tag — usually several thousand dollars and up. After all, you’re not only hiring the design and development team, but also digital marketers, copywriters, strategists and SEO experts.

Because there are more people involved with this process, it can be a slower process. Also, depending on how the firm works, you might not have direct access to the designers and developers. This means less direct involvement from you, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preferences.

Cost:
  High

Time Commitment: Low-to-mid range

Which approach is right for you?

There are plenty of ways you can go about building a website for your business. And, there is no perfect answer. You have to consider which approach makes the most sense for your business.

What questions do you have about these options? If you have website, which approach did you choose? Do you have another option to add?

Image credit:
 Pedro Moura Pinheiro

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Laura Click

Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

2 replies on “Building a Company Website: Which Option is Right for You?”

Great article, Laura. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen all the options laid out so clearly in one place. I can speak from experience in building my own site that it takes a lot of time and a lot of strong coffee. And thank God for Google. What did we all do before then?

P.S. Thanks for including me in your list!

So glad you liked it, Sarah. I hope this is helpful. I get asked about websites a lot, so I imagine I’ll send this to folks quite a bit so they can understand the differences and when it makes sense to hire folks like us. We’re not always right for every project so I hope this will help better qualify folks who are a fit.

And, I’m so glad to include your guide. It’s a great resource for sure!

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