I’ve started and run several companies in the past (not all of them huge successes) and one of the questions that always kept coming up was “Should I do this myself or hire someone?”
Most of the businesses have all been one-man-band types of some sort where I start it on my own and then later on down the line I start hiring people to carry out some of the tasks. This is OK, but are employees qualified to carry out some of the jobs I’m going to go through in just a few secs?
You’ve probably had the same question cross your mind too and didn’t know which way to turn and course of action to take. It can be a minefield out there and knowing which advice to listen can be quite confusing.
I’ve always tried to have an open mind when comes to these types of things (especially in an area I’m not an expert in).
Anyway, hopefully this helps?
Table Of Contents
Should I Build My Own Website?
Doing it yourself
In a word – depends….. If you are just starting out and have very few resources (by that I mean very little money) then building your own website is probably the best path for you. With the software available to you today, it’s actually quite easy to design and build your own website, you can even design your own logo too.
If you read any of my other articles, you’ll probably read that I constantly go on about WordPress. WordPress is a free platform that allows you to build your own website from scratch and also gives you the ability to edit certain elements (like text) yourself. For someone with little resources, this is pretty powerful and a great help when you’re on a budget.
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress isn’t just for those on a budget. All of our client sites are built on this platform and the vast majority of websites on the internet have all been built on this platform. Why? It’s what Google recommends. It’s not just fast to set up, the overall structure of your pages and posts and the use of great plugins (add-ons) is something that very few web builder platforms can compete with.
If you have a business and a website that has been around for a while and you simply need a refresh. You have the ability to change the theme almost instantly. You have the choice of purchasing a free theme or a premium one. Once you have found something suitable, simply upload the new theme, press a button and voila! A new look and feel for your website.
All in all, it’s pretty easy with numerous amount of help like videos and articles to get you started.
Hiring an agency
If you just want a basic website then going the DIY route is just fine. However, once your site is established and you now want to rank both the site and the pages in the search engine ranking pages (SERPS). You may need a bit more help.
Since Google and the other search engines keep altering their search algorithms, the structure and design of your website has to change in order to comply with what they’re asking for. For example, Google has now changed their search algorithms to concentrate mainly on mobile search.
In fact, Google has actually stopped updating desktop search and are focusing all of their efforts on mobile search.
Now, there are quite a few local websites out there that simply haven’t set up either a separate mobile site for their business or they haven’t made their existing site mobile responsive (automatically changes to fit the device you’re reading it on) and this is a big problem. Especially if you get a lot of organic traffic (non-paid) to your website from the search engines.
Give it a few more months and your website won’t be relevant anymore.
Again, you can make the changes yourself. However, an agency can show you the best course of action and what is best for you and your business. Some websites don’t really look that great using a responsive design and could probably turn off their clients if this isn’t done correctly.
Whilst having a separate mobile site might cost a small business a fortune when it’s not even needed. The advice and guidance from an agency are helpful in these situations.
Google is all about user experience and rewards websites in the SERPS for providing this for its clients.
Things like site loading speed, menu structure, rich snippets, size of the image and how well optimised they are can be huge ranking factors when comparing your site to the competition (and it’s not getting any easier).
Don’t think the competition is keeping still either. In most of the niches, we look at for clients, their competition is continually tweaking and updating their sites on an almost weekly basis which means they have to in order to keep up.
I mentioned search engine optimisation earlier on in this article which is:
the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results
Done correctly, the search engines can provide you with a ton of free traffic. Free traffic means you have an audience that you can either sell to or obtain a lead so that you sell to them later on down the road. Other than paid traffic, there’s no better way to get eyeballs on your website.
Doing it yourself
If you do have the ability to do this yourself, then I tip my hat to you. If your niche isn’t really that competitive, then as long as you carry out your on-page optimisation properly (ensure your meta tags are correct, the structure of your pages are on point, include a sitemap etc), then SEO for your business is a piece of cake.
If you’re unsure whether you are ranking. Try typing into Google a search term your client would use to find you. For example, if you have a dog grooming business, try typing in “dog grooming in Peterborough” (change out the town/city for yours) and see what results are shown. If your website is listed and worse still isn’t in the Google 3 pack then your site needs work.
Hiring an agency
Hiring an agency that specialises in SEO is what I consider the best route. Yes, I’m a little biased here but for good reason. You see, SEO changes every day. To keep abreast of what has changed is a full-time job and even then there are things even we haven’t heard of yet.
Ensuring that your on-page optimisation is correct is one thing. You also have off-page optimisation. This is the process of gaining backlinks (a link from another website to yours) and making sure your citations (a link or reference to your website where they display your name, address and phone number ((NAP)) of your business correctly) are up to date.
If you are in a competitive niche, your likely going to need constant references from authority publications like local news outlets and niche industry publications to maintain your standing in the SERPS. Without this, your site simply won’t be relevant and your clients will almost choose the competition over you.
Social Media Marketing
Doing it yourself
The vast majority of business isn’t even doing social media, so if you are, kudos to you! It doesn’t take a lot. Simply post interesting articles, videos etc on your social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook and you’re good to go.
The importance of doing this on a daily basis is paramount to your success.
Even though we manage several social media accounts for clients, we still advise them to at least post a few articles themselves especially if they need to respond to client queries.
If you’re not sure where to post, either check out the competition to see where they’re posting or simply ask your clients what social media platform they spend most of their time.
Hiring an agency
An agency will sit down and work out a social media plan that is designed around your business. They will then formulate that plan by working out what to post, where to post and a schedule that suits your clients (believe it or not, clients in different niches view social media at different times and on different platforms).
Online Paid Media
Doing it yourself
Setting up an online paid media campaign for your business isn’t difficult. Registering for Google AdWords and Bing ads are relatively straightforward.
If you know the sort of keywords to include within a campaign and the time to schedule to show your ads, then advertising online yourself is easy.
Hiring an agency
The difficulty comes when you have several thousand keywords, don’t know how much to pay per click, don’t know how to increase conversions, don’t know what time of the day to show your ads, don’t know what days of the week to show your ads and the list goes on and on.
There are very few small businesses that get online paid media right and most of them are overpaying by bidding too high for keywords.
A business also doesn’t set up their accounts properly. Did you know that you can overspend by a whopping 50% by not having negative keywords (tell ad platform not to show your ads for certain words like “FREE”) set up in your account?
Hiring an agency that knows what they are doing will probably save you money in the long run. The good thing is, you don’t need to hire them indefinitely.
Why not just hire them to do the important things like optimise it for the right keywords with specific campaigns, add negative keywords, show your ads at the right time etc.
Once they have done this for you, then you no longer need to use their services until you need help again.
So what do you think? Is it worth having a crack at? In all honesty, the vast majority of the tasks can be carried out by you on a basic level. I advise getting some help when you want to take things to the next level.
All the jobs above have basic elements as well as complicated ones. Posting a few posts on Twitter is easy. Growing a following that retweets your tweets so others can see isn’t. Getting found for an obscure product or service isn’t hard (especially with low competition). However, the vast majority of niches are becoming more and more competitive and basic SEO just won’t cut it anymore.
Hiring vs DIY? Well, that’s up to you. Timing is key I suppose. Not every business is ready to hire the services of an agency. On the other hand, some businesses are actually losing money by not hiring one.
What are your thoughts? Have you used an agency before?