The cost of managing your own website

When my friend bought her little red hatchback a few years ago, she was certain she’d made a solid investment. The car was a steal: a reliable make and model, used but in good condition, and it had all-wheel-drive (a boon in Northern Minnesota).

She and the car had a very happy six months together. Until the engine failed. 

Now, imagine this scenario: my friend is complaining to a coworker about her car troubles. The well-intentioned coworker says something like, “Your car engine died? Gee, that’s too bad. I’ve heard that’s a really expensive fix. Why not do it yourself and save some money?”

I mean, what would you do in that situation? Laugh? Cry? Mumble a cuss word or two? My friend is very smart, but that specific problem requires a level of knowledge, skill and experience she simply doesn’t have.

Unfortunately, too many businesses approach their websites with this ill-fated “do-it-yourself” mentality. To be fair, build-your-own website companies make a mint convincing people it’s never been easier to create a bonafide site, without ever needing to upgrade or update or any of that new-fangled uppity stuff. 

A small business owner may crunch the numbers and think they’re saving themselves some money by making their own website. They spend ten hours or so building a simple, workable site that looks halfway decent. They get the word out there, maybe start inviting people to come check it out. 

The owner and the site have a very happy six months together. Until the site gets hacked.

Now, if the business owner has an undergraduate degree in computer science, that might not be a big deal. But I’d wager most business owners don’t have that specific know-how. And even if that were the case, chances are there are plenty of other things the owner would rather spend his or her time on. 

Here’s what all this boils down to: investing in a website is a lot like investing in a car. Your website is going to put in a lot of miles. We’re talking about the virtual storefront of your business. You want that space to be spick and span, safe and secure, and completely reliable. 

And if something does go wrong, you don’t want to get stuck spinning your wheels. You want a team of web experts on the job, saving you time, money, and screen-induced headaches.

So put down the wrench, back away from the vehicle, and call the real mechanics. It’s always worth it.

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