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Is it easier if I do certain things myself?

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Well, it’s not brain surgery. Still, there’s always a chance that you will spend a lot of time doing something that your web designer can do in only a few minutes. Or, worse, that you create a problem that will take the designer a lot of time to correct. Whether that’s a risk you should take depends on how much you value your time and who is paying for your designer’s time.

There are some fairly simple tasks you might prefer to do yourself, and there are some things that are probably better done in-house, including:

  • Domain registration. This is an easy thing to do. If your designer is charging you a lot for domain registration, smack him. A lot of designers have a preferred service, and they may do it pretty quickly for you. The advantage to doing it yourself is that you’ll always get those helpful renewal notices.
  • Content development. If you have good in-house writers, or a marketing department that insists on a particular focus, you’ll probably do a lot of the content development in-house. If there is a lot of content on the website, especially if it involves area expertise, you’ll probably want to do it yourself. Some firms have good writers on staff, and writing for the web is a somewhat specialized skill, of course. Stratecomm has expertise in both areas. Other design firms don’t really understand English, however. If the design firm’s site is poorly written, you certainly should not trust them with yours.
  • Hosting. At Stratecomm, we prefer you host through us. However, many of our clients already have hosting arrangements, some are required to use servers in their facility. We can certainly work within these arrangements. If your web design firm offers hosting, it may be convenient to use them, as they are probably more familiar with the features, problems, compatibilities, and idiosyncrasies of their system.
  • Logo, images, and graphic design. Perhaps you have something in mind, or maybe you have a well developed corporate identity. It’s your website, it should be something that makes you happy. On the other hand, you are paying the design firm because of their expertise. Many things that look cool to the untrained eye will come across as amateurish to someone who isn’t already acquainted with your company. Consistency is important, though. If you have an image, your designer should work to ensure that website works with that image.
  • Website Maintenace. Once your site is done, it’s tempting to do the updating yourself. Actually, this can be set up pretty easily by your website developer. A small site can be updated using a simple program such as Macromedia’s Contribute. Larger sites can be built on top of a robust content management system such as Zope/Plone. (This site is built on Plone). What you want to avoid doing, unless you are a developer, is making modifications to the html yourself. Simple mistakes can cause very strange consequences that may not be easy to fix.