It’s no secret that web design is now probably one of the MOST exposed forms of business in the global marketplace.
Do a Google search for “web design” and you’re liable to find a confusing set of prices spanning everything from the eternally optimistic “$100 websites,” to the tens of thousands of dollars charged by large design agencies.
You also have the so-called “free” or extremely cheap website building tools and hosting packages. However these services usually involve putting your own content into a proprietary content management system. This can be great if you have the time to learn how to style and enter content and you don’t mind someone else effectively owning your website. But if the company ever goes bust how hard will it be to move all of those pages of content into a new system somewhere else?
Also - many of these types of services are free only if you permit them to display advertising on your site - advertising over which you have ZERO control. Needless to say there is a real possibility that competitors' ads will show up on your own business website. To turn off the ads you usually have to start paying.
We choose not to outsource web design work because we find it gives us more control over the quality of customer service we provide. Keeping web design work in-house suits the style of our operation better - we are not a high volume business and prefer to focus on attending to the needs of a smaller stable of clients. However we do concede that for some businesses outsourcing makes sense.
We would be the first to admit that there are some great freelance operators out there who are based in countries with an extremely low cost of living. As a consequence they can afford to charge very low prices.
If you have the necessary knowledge and skills to locate a freelancer like this (a challenging and time-consuming task in itself) and feel comfortable overseeing the job then we recommend that you do so. We don’t attempt to compete with extremely low cost operators.
When dealing with overseas freelancers be prepared to contend with language and communication issues. Accountability will also be an issue and many people may find they do not have the time, money or legal resources to chase down someone in another country who has failed to deliver or who has seriously under delivered on a project.
Outsourcing is great in principle and it’s possible to save quite a bit of money so long as everything falls into place. However there are some issues to be aware of:
If your team lives in another country can you always be sure you’ll be able to reach them if something goes wrong or if a client has a question?
If you have to go back and ask for technical support every time your client has a question then the time delays will quickly start to add up which can be annoying for your clients and will rapidly lose you their respect.
And if something goes horribly wrong who stands to take the blame? If your client can’t seek legal recourse with your sub contractors in a far distant country, they will inevitably come after you.
Sometimes it’s hard enough trying to communicate with people whose first language is English. When English is not your sub contractors’ first language and you’re trying to get your message across over a crackly Skype connection it can be a nightmare.
There's no getting around it - time IS money. Spending inordinate amounts of time chasing up sub contractors and having confusing Skype conferences can quickly negate any of the monetary benefits of outsourcing. Make sure you keep tabs on just how much of your (or your associate's) time is actually being spent on the project in hand.