Why do you need a website?

It’s a serious question and one you need to ask yourself before you start working with a developer or designer. Why? The answer can’t be because the latest shiny business book told you that you needed one or that your cousin the Social Media expert said you are missing out. You have to have a reason that you believe in.

The process of building a website is going to be frustrating unless you are building it yourself. (Even then, it’s not going to be nearly as easy as you think) If you aren’t 100% in then it will be easy to either give up or just let your designer or developer run the show. Both cases are bad for your project.

Answer the question. Write it down so you don’t forget it. Review it from time to time to remind yourself why you are going through all of this. You are the vision keeper of your website project. If you lose sight of the end-goal, your project will never make it.

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Do I really need to hire someone to build my website? Part 2

Obligatory recap from previous post

In “Do I really need to hire someone to build my website? Part 1“, we looked at how to look at your website and try to determine if you need help building it or if you can do it yourself. We discussed one way of scoping your website using a very simple methodology; the WordPress.com test. In this post, we will look at the next two levels of difficulty.

A Moderate Website

Take the list you made in the previous exercise. How many bullet points did you not check off? Of those, think hard about whether you really need them to get your project off the ground. Can you compromise on any of them and put the off until a future date?

If, after thinking through the points that cannot be done with WordPress.com, you still have bullet points that absolutely have to be done, then yes, you need to bring someone in to help you. The good news is because you’ve started thinking through your project before hand, you are ahead of the game. Most websites that get built aren’t thoroughly thought through until they are finished and the keeper of the idea (you) wonders why they didn’t get the website they want.

Now that you know you need help, start planning your budget to see how much help you can afford. Once you know what you want to build and how much you can afford to spend, then – and only then – you can start looking for a developer to breathe life into your idea.

A Complex Website

If you have more than two or three bullet points unchecked after the earlier exercise, you are most likely building a complex website. This is not a bad thing and shouldn’t scare you but you do need to think about it differently. Your web application may still be built on top of WordPress; it may also use Drupal or Joomla. Chances are good that you will also need to arrange to host your application on the web somewhere. (For more on that, see “Does your web design company own you?”

Unless you are a programmer yourself you are going to need to hire someone to build your web application. There is a good chance that you will end up with a team that involves a designer, a programmer, and a writer; other members are possible as well. The important thing to remember when building a complex web application is that you have to know what you want before you begin, or you will never get the website you want. Planning out your web application before engaging a developer is critical to the success of your project.



Want more helpful advice?

Are you looking for more helpful advice? Check out our book, Avoiding a Goat Rodeo. It was written to help non-programmers understand website development. It shows you how to get the website you want.

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