There are tools that can help you create an online presence yourself. For more complex solutions, you may want to hire professional assistance.

If you are a small or medium-sized organisation, you may not have all of the skills and resources necessary to create the web presence set out in your online business plan.

This is okay. There are online tools that can help you, and you can hire the services of web professionals to fill the gaps in your organisation’s online capabilities.

 

DigitalIQ tips

Can I do it myself?

Maybe, but it depends on the complexity of your online business plan.

If you do not have specific or complex requirements of your website, there are tools that may help you create it yourself. For example, if you are not trained in graphic design, and your budget does not allow you to hire a graphic designer, you may still be able to give your website a professional look and feel by using a design template at little or no cost.

Likewise, a content management system might help you to create web pages withoutpaying for the services of a web developer.

However, it is likely that you will need help from a web professional to create complex web solutions that fall outside the experience and capabilities of you or your internal staff. This might include things like customised e-commerce features or tailor-made designs.

To get an idea of what it might cost to hire website specialists, see ‘Website building costs’.

DIY or outsourcing

There is no exact rule as to what you should do yourself and what you should outsource (DIY vs outsourcing). However, in general you may want to consider the following:

Skills and resources
Evaluate whether you have the right knowledge, experience, and tools in your organisation to implement your online business plan.

Costs
Compare the costs of doing it yourself with the cost of outsourcing certain online services. It is important to make sure that when you are obtaining quotes for outsourcing certain tasks that all costs are included in the quotations you receive.

It is a good idea to get quotes from multiple suppliers and compare their offerings.

Continuity
Once you choose to reach out to your customers, supporters, donors or suppliers online, they might come to expect this channel to always be open to them as a way to communicate with your organisation. Because of this, any online business plan could represent a long-term commitment.

Mixed strategy
In most cases, you will need to do some activities yourself and outsource others.

It is generally a good idea to take responsibility for developing your  functional specification document, because you are likely to know your business better than anyone else. However, you might consider outsourcing tasks like the design and development of your website to experienced web professionals.

 

DigitalIQ tips

Finding web professionals

 

  • Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. If somebody with a similar web project to yours had a good experience with a web professional, they might be a good choice for you.
  • Have you come across websites that you particularly liked the look and feel of? Consider contacting the people who designed these sites to work on your site. You can often find the contact details of the web designers and developers in the footer of small business websites.

Outsourcing strategy

When engaging outsourcing partners you should generally consider the following:

 

Evaluation process

You can use the same set of requirements or  functional specification document to request commercial offers from several potential suppliers. This will give you an opportunity to evaluate and compare their prices, responsiveness and customer service, the overall quality of their proposal, compliance with your requirements, additional suggestions, references and commercial terms and conditions.

Professionals to fill the gaps in your organisation’s online capabilities.

Location

While many overseas companies may offer attractive pricing, consider what impact time differences may have on your ability to collaborate in real-time. Legal protection can also become an issue with companies located outside your own jurisdiction.

Professionals to fill the gaps in your organisation’s online capabilities.

Confidentiality

Protect important information by using appropriate contracts with third party suppliers as well as your own staff.

Professionals to fill the gaps in your organisation’s online capabilities.

Legal issues

It is a good idea for both parties to sign a legal agreement that details things like the project’s specifications, deliverables, timing, intellectual property rights and confidentiality. You should consider seeking legal advice before entering into a binding agreement.