The Great Debate: In-House versus Out-House
After deciding it’s beneficial to your company to have an online presence your next question is should you hire an outside consultant for your website? Or should you give the responsibility of website strategy and design to your in-house IT person? In this article we are going to give you the information you need to make the best choice for your company. For the most part, a website marketing strategist and a website designer have very different skill sets. A strategist understands branding, marketing communications, brand image and the different theories concerning how consumer interact with brands, whereas a website designer is familiar with design programs, writing HTML code and keeping up with current website design trends. It is extremely rare (some would argue impossible) to find that person in today’s talent market. So what are the real options a company faces?
Option 1: Hire a website consultant to provide suggestions on how to improve your website design, search engine optimization, Internet marketing strategies and social media strategies. A consultant can then provide you with a list of website design companies that can provide the design work needed.
Option 2: Give the internal IT employee those responsibilities along with the responsibility of building and maintaining their website.
So what are the implications of hiring an out-of-house website consultant? The major benefit of hiring a consultant is the ability to trust their advice; a consultant is fluent in technology and understands how to apply that technology to reach your target market. Consultants won’t succeed if their reputation is bad so their focus is on giving a company exactly what it needs to be successful. I mean you wouldn’t hire a mechanic to fix a plumbing problem; you hire a plumber because they have all the knowledge needed to get the job done correctly and in a timely manner. The consultant will be well versed in internet marketing strategies, social media marketing and search engine optimization which are all important for a company with an online presence. Another benefit to hiring a consultant to advise your company is the ability to trust they aren’t telling you what you need just to make a higher profit as opposed to hiring a design firm where you cannot be sure. The biggest con to hiring an outside consultant and design firm is the cost, it costs more to hire two different companies instead of assigning the job to a current employee, but we would argue that your business would see a higher ROI. Hiring an outside consultant and website design company will also allow you to have a shorter timeline for completing your website (re)design, which means it will be up and running before it would be if you let your in-house employee handle the job. A marketing consultant will be able to teach you what you need to know before starting a marketing plan, determine which mediums will be most effective for your business and teach you the critical elements are a compelling marketing message.
Now let’s talk about giving the job to your in-house IT employee. Your first concern is whether or not your IT employee has both sets of skills to be able to successfully perform what you are asking. We agree that an in-house IT employee should have at least some HTML coding knowledge, but is that individual also familiar with the strategies necessary to deliver successful results, we believe that in most cases, probably not. Another issue is the current responsibilities that your IT employee already deals with, is giving them this big project going to have negative consequences on the responsibilities they also need to perform, yes. Developing and designing a website is a huge project that takes a lot of man hours to complete. This means that either you going to have to raise the salary of your IT employee, or pay them major overtime. Not to mention that the timeline for the project will be longer because your IT employee will have to pause the project in order to handle their everyday IT responsibilities like computer malfunctions.