That’s a question I hear a lot from clients and associates lately, and it’s valid. Let me illustrate, through some past experiences, why hiring a web consultant for website development and maintenance can be the lifeline your business needs.

The DIY Trap

I sat down with a client that wanted a website for her new business. She was in a partnership with a friend, and they had limited funds allocated for web development and marketing; they were putting all their money into the product. They signed up for an account on Wix.com (a free website builder and host) and put forth a great attempt at putting together a “professional-looking” website. Problems arose when they wanted custom options unavailable in the free plan. Now they were going to have to purchase a rather expensive monthly plan which would still require some CSS knowledge, a decent photo editing program that has a steep learning curve, and as well as tons of time learning the ins and outs of the Wix content management system, SEO, marketing, etc. At the rate they were progressing, they would have spent even more money than they wanted and delayed the business opening by over a year. Time is money; they wanted to invest time in growing their business, not learning new software. They decided to hire us to get their site built and launched. They saved money in the long run as their time to launch was cut in half, and all their needs were met.

Content Is King, But Not Without Subjects

Another client was using a free self-hosted website. He had amazing original content, including videos, photos, and case studies. He also used a free self-hosted site with a free template. The website looked professional, but the biggest problem was he had no readership. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. SEO and SEM are a skill that takes time to learn and execute. This client was more inclined to write and share. He did not want to learn nor worry about optimizing pages, building back-links, checking his site for 404’s or registering his site with the search engines. He brought us on and managed to get his readership up.

The Professionalism Factor

A third client had a website hosted on Squarespace. It was for a business site showcasing past work and had all the necessary means for contacting the company. Unfortunately, there were many problems – images weren’t optimized, the content was poorly written, and certainly not SEO rich. The site looked like an amateur put it together. There was no sitemap, any search engines did not index the business, and he wasn’t getting any sales from the web. There was a decent social media presence, but the site was amateurish and far from professional. We hopped in and designed a professional-looking site that immediately brought in sales.

Security Risks

Yet another client had a site that was hosted on a VPS with GoDaddy.com. The site was built using WordPress with a custom template. The owner had initially paid to have the site developed and installed by an outside company but figured he could maintain it himself. He knew how to post content, add photos and even tweak a thing here or there; the problem was – he got hacked. Sadly, the owner didn’t stay on top of the most recent news and hadn’t upgraded his WP version or plugins. A known vulnerability in the version he was using was exploited. Had the site been updated, he would never have been vulnerable. Luckily the host had backups of his database and files as he wasn’t making any on his own. By the time we got the backups restored and the site running again, he had lost a few days on the web; this, in turn, resulted in lost revenue. We were hired to maintain the site, including updating plugins and core site files, as well as monitor the site for any security issues.

The Safety Net of Backups and Proper Maintenance

What happens if an update goes sideways? That’s where a web consultant comes in handy. A proper web consultant will take backups before updating your site. In the case of a botched update, they will know how to fix the issue or restore the site from a backup. This is invaluable because it ensures that your site has minimal downtime and that any problems are resolved swiftly without causing harm to your online presence.

Continuous Monitoring and Regular Updates

A website is like a living organism. It needs nurturing, regular check-ups, and updates to perform optimally. A web consultant will constantly monitor your website for issues and red flags. A web consultant will address an outdated plugin, a broken link, or an underperforming page before they snowball into more significant problems.

The ROI of Hiring a Web Consultant

Hiring a web consultant to develop, install, and manage your website might seem unnecessary, but the ROI will be ever-present. Professional web consultants will be on top of the latest trends and news. They will know when a security risk is present and will work to prevent downtime. Web consultants specializing in SEO and SEM will better know how to optimize and market your site to get as much visibility on the web as possible. An expert will ensure you regularly back up, have a test site running so all changes can be tested and ensure you don’t LOSE revenue.

The Bottom Line

Hiring a web consultant is not just an expense; it’s an investment in expertise and time that you’ll save – which you can use to focus on what you do best: running your business. Your website is a critical aspect of your brand’s presence, and ensuring it’s in professional hands can be the difference between flourishing and floundering.