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Blog Archive for February 2014

A Guide to Outsourcing Web Development

by: Arline Ramirez

Monday, February 03, 2014 | Comments (0)

Category: Outsourcing Research / Trends

According to the National Australia Bank’s Online Retail Sales Index, Australian consumers spent about $14.4 billion in online purchases in 12 months to October from last year. In response, more businesses are increasingly using online marketing. The Sensis e-Business Report for 2013 found that 60 per cent of Aussie SMEs are using a website to promote their business.

In short, everyone's online. While there are still customers who would purchase in the store, many check the business online first. The convenience of online retail extends to both the entrepreneur and consumer as it's fairly easy to use.

However, building a website still has its challenges. If you can't write a single line of code or can't afford to have an in-house web developer, outsourcing web development is a practical alternative.

The Essentials

First you have to pick three important requirements:

Pick and register a domain name.
It should be simple, short, and unique but easy to remember and understand. Avoid using special characters because it will be hard for you to give it verbally. It'll be tiring to keep explaining yourself.

Subscribe to website hosting service.
As the name suggests, it hosts your website on a server so it can be accessible via the internet. The service is charged monthly or annually.

There are types of web hosting service:

  • Shared web hosting - your site is hosted in a server with other websites. It's ideal for new websites and comes with a limited bandwidth. 
  • Virtual private server - it's similar to shared web hosting but there are less websites per server. It includes full root or administration access to its own operating system which is installed in a virtual environment. This is recommended for advanced users who need to install specific software or packages. 
  • Dedicated web hosting - your website gets access to the whole server. It also comes with a full root or administration access like a virtual private server. This is recommended for websites with high traffic or custom requirements that are not available in shared web hosting.

The Content Management System

Once you are finished with the requirements, you can send your domain login details to your chosen web developer.

Use a content management system if you need to upload text and images constantly. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most common. WordPress is the easiest to set up as it already comes with themes and plug-ins. If you don't need a CMS, you can build your site on a framework. PHP, .NET, ASPX, are the most common.

If you just need a simple site, tools such as Tackk, Wix, and Weebly are alternatives. But if you're going to build a business, it's best to work with experts.

Outsourcing Website Development

You can either hire an offshore web developer or lease a team for a project. Here are three important things that you need to remember:

  • Iron out all the details as much as possible. Provide a full scope of the website including sitemap and possible wireframes. Ensure that the web developer has everything so that your website will work exactly the way you want it. If not, gaps will lead to more development work and bad code.
  • You need to stay committed. Building a website is a long process. Even after the website is done, you still need to test it. The worst case is spending $30k to get it up and running, then bolting out after six months because the idea didn't take off.
  • You get what you pay for. You can get an inexpensive web developer but if you're in this for the long term, you have to invest money and time in it. Talk to previous clients and find out how their work is done. Don't just trust a portfolio.
  • Communication is key. If you're outsourcing web development, you need to ensure that the web developer is able to articulate their thoughts very well. Outsource nearshore or to a country that has a little difference in time zone.
  • Work with an outsourcing partner. Hiring and working with a freelancer require additional tasks apart from managing the development. If disputes and payments become problematic, they will be disastrous. Working with a reputable company reduces risks and smooths out the process.  

Outsourcing web development is a big initiative, but it's an important part of making your business accessible to both new and existing customers.