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Should I Build and Maintain My Own Business Website?

Upendo Ventures: The Power of an Agency

The answer is probably no.

The phenomena is actually rather unique. A retailer may work with an architect or interior designer, but the actual work of designing and building a physical store is done by professionals. A chef has a lot to say about how to lay out a kitchen work-space. But you will rarely find the chef installing the flat-tops and burners. But there seems to be a perception that online business and eCommerce websites are somehow different.

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t build your own business website. Let’s review a few of them together.

The Cobbler’s Children

There’s an old saying, "The cobbler’s children have no shoes." The idea is that the cobbler (a shoemaker) is so busy working on servicing his customers that he never has time to work on stuff at home.

Think of your business. 99.99% of the time, a business website is about doing things other than building and maintaining websites. It doesn’t matter if you are a retail business selling clothes in the South Bay, a chiropractor in Silicon Valley, or a business consultant in Sausalito. Your business — the important things that you need to be an expert on — have nothing to do with spooling up an instance of a website platform, updating a security patch, or tweaking code. In many real ways, it’s a distraction from the core value that you deliver to your company.

Given the choice between completing a paid project, delivering an order, or providing great service to an important customer on one side versus updating to the latest version of your website Content Management System (CMS) on the other, you will make the normal, rational choice. The system update will have to wait ... if you remember to do it at all. If you build and manage your own business website you may be surprised at how often you have to make those kinds of choices.

When you use a reputable agency, taking care of all those things IS their business. They will allow you to focus on running your business day-to-day.

It’s Not About "Can You"

Entrepreneurs and experienced business people have a natural inclination to try new things and experiment. You would not have started your business unless you were able to look at a challenge and say to yourself, "I can do that!" It’s an important trait of all successful entrepreneurs. And when it comes to things like designing and building your website, the truth is that — given enough time, research, and trial-and-error — you probably could do it eventually. But the question is "should you."

You can pick your favorite successful person from history — from Henry Ford to Albert Einstein to Elon Musk. All of them are brilliant in their own way. All of them had tremendous success. But you would never choose any of them if your child was sick and needed a doctor. Of course, the reason you would never do that is because no matter how smart, talented, and experienced these geniuses were, they are not an alternative for the specific training and experience of an actual doctor.

The same idea applies to your website.

An experienced business website agency not only knows the answers, they know the right questions to ask. They know how to help you best accomplish your objectives and keep your site secure.

The Consequences of Error

Speaking of security, one of the most problematic aspects of building and maintaining your business website is ensuring that your website is secure. Paying attention to security starts with selecting the best platform and the right modules, widgets, and apps to begin with. Remember, your website is only as secure as the least-secure element used. This is not the time to be guessing.

From there, the task becomes one of remaining aware of security updates and implementing them, monitoring risks, maintaining security best practices, and ensuring that the data backup strategy is implemented and tested regularly. Unfortunately, many DIY websites do not truly become aware of all the risks until there is an incident. Protecting data, restoring systems, mitigating damage, and regaining customer confidence after an incident is difficult at best — impossible if the proper planning and practices have been neglected.

The Power of Agency

Ultimately, hiring an agency to build and support your business or eCommerce website is about acquiring leverage. On the build-side it transforms the business ownership experience. What might be many hundreds of hours filled with steep learning curves and an inevitable series of "lessons learned" followed by a schedule of monthly tasks that must be performed is now an efficient, assigned task where your vision and inputs are made real in a fraction of the time.

And that’s good business.

At Upendo, we’ve built hundreds of websites and eCommerce stores for businesses in the Bay Area and across the nation and provided the kind of continuing support they need to focus on their customers. We’d love to help you. Reach out and let’s talk about what your business website needs to be successful.

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About the Author

Jeffery J. HardyCommunication Strategist
Upendo Ventures
Jeff is a 25-year veteran of communications serving the technology fields. He has worked at the super-large tech behemoths of yesterday and the small entrepreneurial shops of tomorrow across the landscape of software, hosting, and cloud. He is a communications and social science nerd — and that means he creates a lot of content covering messaging, technology, leadership, and economics.

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