Website Mistake Business Owners Make
Creating a website is not difficult, at least not as difficult as it was in the past. Before WordPress, businesses only had two choices 1. hire a webmaster internally or 2. hire a web design agency; and it wasn’t uncommon for business to release control of their website to an agency.
But it’s sheer insanity to do that now, and yet businesses still do it. Stop. There’s no reason to do it.
How it Starts
Here’s how it usually works. A company decides they either need a website or they need to update their existing website. From there they’ll first see if anyone within the company has the skill set, or hire an agency if no one internally can handle the job.
The company will start interviewing various agencies, or freelancers, to find the perfect match; and likely not consider who will maintain or host the server of the website. Deciding which designer or agency you like is the easy part, but not many business owners consider the implication of letting an agency host the site on their internal servers.
Once you relinquish control of who hosts your website, then they become the gatekeeper of the site. All changes will have to go through the gatekeeper, in this case it’s the agency, and you get the honor of paying an hourly or monthly rate for the work they do.
Crazy. I still fail understand why this goes on today. I’ve worked with companies that paid $15,000 to an agency, only to get tied to $500- $1,000/month retainer. The smaller the business, the more of an issue this is.
What You Can Do
Web design agencies fall into two camps, one camp will host your website on their servers, and the other will design the website but you are responsible to hosting the website.
I’ve seen little difference between the rate an agency will charge or a freelance designer; both can run $5k, $10k, or more for a website. But generally speaking, a smaller agency will design the site, and then upload it to your server, which costs less in the long run.
Hosting Your Site
The agency that hosts your site on their server is effectively requiring you to use them to maintain your website. But if you host the website, then you do have the option of updating the website yourself or pay the freelancer/agency to maintain your website.
My preference when working with clients, is to advise them to host the site, and try to maintain the website themselves if possible. There is absolutely no point in paying $500+ per month for a website retainer, especially if you’re a small business or solopreneur. Go with WordPress, and ask your designer to train an internal staff member on how to update the website.
Why Should You Self Host
Self hosting your website is the best long term solution because it gives your more options for the future. By self hosting the site, you can opt to hire an external or internal designer to maintain your website. Plus, you have the option of hiring a different agency to redesign your website in the future.