The Web Development Maze: Family or Friends vs Professionals

by | May 9, 2023 | Web Hosting, WordPress

When it comes to website design and development, individuals and businesses often have to make a choice between two options – hiring a professional web developer or relying on a tech-savvy family member or friend. Remember that a family member who knows a couple things more about the web can appear to be an expert to a business owner who is not tech savvy.

Each of these alternatives has individual pros and cons, and it is critical to assess several factors before reaching a conclusion. These factors encompass technical proficiency, project timeline, work quality, interpersonal relationship dynamics, maintenance, and future support and security updates.

Website Development and Design

Website development and design constitute crucial components of a successful online presence since a website frequently serves as the initial interface with potential customers. It acts as a reflection of an individual’s or enterprise’s brand identity and should, therefore, exude high quality, functionality, and aesthetics. The website should be intuitive, secure, and readily accessible to the intended audience. Reflecting on these factors is crucial to guarantee the website’s success and credibility.

Advantages of Family or Friend-Based Web Development

Cost-Effectiveness and Flexibility
Enlisting a friend or family member to create a website can prove to be a cost-effective alternative. It can be less expensive than hiring a professional and provide greater flexibility in terms of timelines and revisions.

Personal Understanding of Vision and Objectives
A friend or family member may have a better understanding of your vision and objectives, which can lead to a more personalized website that aligns with your goals.

Disadvantages of Family or Friend-Based Web Development

Technical Expertise and Quality of Work
Web development requires a range of technical skills that may not be possessed by a friend or family member. Consequently, there’s a chance that the website may lack in terms of functionality, aesthetics, or optimization.

Project Timeline and Personal Relationship Dynamics
Even if your friend or family member has the necessary skills, the project timeline might suffer due to their other commitments. Additionally, working on such a project can strain personal relationships, especially if disagreements or problems arise.

Maintenance, Future Support, and Security Updates
In the long term, maintenance, future support, and security updates are vital considerations. A friend or family member may not have the knowledge to provide ongoing support or implement necessary security updates, potentially leaving the website vulnerable.

Professional Web Development: A Worthwhile Investment?

Professional web developers possess a wealth of knowledge in the latest web development tools and trends. They have a deep understanding of essential skills like:

    • HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – HTML is the standard markup language used for creating the structure and content of web pages. It uses tags to define various elements within a webpage, such as headings, paragraphs, links, images, and more. HTML provides the basic structure and semantics for a webpage.
    • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – CSS is a stylesheet language that defines the presentation and appearance of a document written in HTML. It allows web developers to control the layout, colors, fonts, and other visual aspects of a webpage. CSS works by selecting HTML elements and applying styles to them.
    • JavaScript – JavaScript is a programming language that enables interactivity and dynamic functionality on websites. It is primarily used for client-side scripting, meaning it runs on the user’s web browser. JavaScript can be used to manipulate HTML elements, handle events, make HTTP requests, create animations, and build complex web applications.
    • Responsive Design – Responsive design refers to the approach of designing and developing websites that adapt and respond to different devices and screen sizes. With responsive design, web pages automatically adjust their layout, content, and overall appearance to provide the best user experience on various devices, such as desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
    • UX Principles (User Experience Principles) – UX principles refer to the fundamental guidelines and best practices that aim to enhance the overall experience users have when interacting with a website, application, or product. These principles focus on understanding users’ needs, goals, and behaviors to create intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable experiences. Some common UX principles include simplicity, consistency, accessibility, feedback, usability, and user-centered design.
    • UI Principles (User Interface Principles) – UI principles, also known as user interface principles, are guidelines that govern the visual and interactive elements of a digital product. UI principles aim to create visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces. They involve designing clear and intuitive navigation, using consistent visual elements, maintaining proper hierarchy, providing meaningful feedback, and creating a cohesive and coherent user interface.
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – SEO is the practice of optimizing a website or web page to improve its visibility and ranking in organic (non-paid) search engine results. The goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of organic traffic to a website. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have algorithms that determine how websites are ranked in search results. SEO involves various techniques and strategies to align a website’s content, structure, and other elements with these algorithms, making it more likely to appear higher in search results for relevant queries. SEO encompasses both on-page and off-page optimization. On-page SEO involves optimizing factors directly on a website, such as keyword research, meta tags, headings, content optimization, URL structure, internal linking, and mobile-friendliness. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, focuses on activities outside the website, such as link building, social media promotion, online reputation management, and influencer outreach. The benefits of SEO include increased organic visibility, improved website traffic, higher brand credibility, better user experience, and potential for higher conversion rates. By following SEO best practices, businesses and website owners can increase their online presence and attract targeted organic traffic from search engines.
    • Among numerous others

With a diverse range of competencies at their disposal, they are capable of developing a website that not only operates with faultless fluidity but also satisfies the distinct demands of the client in question.

One of the prime benefits of enlisting the services of a skilled web developer is their ability to complete the project promptly. Expert developers grasp the significance of delivering within the designated timeframe and budget, providing a more dependable service than that of a friend or relative. This trustworthiness guarantees that the website is launched without delay and is fully equipped to serve its intended function.

Yet another critical advantage of employing a seasoned web developer is the ongoing assistance they can offer. Expert web developers can provide continual support and security updates, ensuring that the website remains in step with the most recent security protocols. This aid provides a level of coherence and safety that might not be achievable with a friend or relative. The developer can apply updates and troubleshoot any issues that may emerge, guaranteeing the website’s seamless operation over time. This degree of service is crucial, especially for enterprises that depend on their website to generate revenue or interact with customers. If there isn’t ongoing support in these areas, in a few months or years you may find yourself with a broken and useless website that is unable to be fixed.

Potential Pitfalls of Professional Web Development

Higher Costs
The primary downside of hiring a professional web developer is the cost, which can be significantly higher than having a friend or family member help out.

Less Personal Understanding
A professional may not have the same intimate understanding of your vision or business as a friend or family member might. However, they will make efforts to understand your needs and translate them into a functional and aesthetically pleasing website. A caveat to this, however, is that a web developer will approach making the website appeal mostly to potential customers, who will normally NOT have the advantage of the intimate knowledge of the business as that of a family member.

Moving Forward

If a website development project with a friend or family member is not going well, open communication is key. If you decide to transition to a professional developer, ensure a smooth handover, maintaining respect and gratitude for their work.

While involving a friend or family member in web development may seem like a cost-effective and convenient solution, it can bring about unforeseen complications. Professional web development provides a level of expertise, reliability, and continuity that’s hard to match. In cases where a transition from a friend or family member’s work to a professional developer is necessary, it’s crucial to approach the situation with openness, respect, and gratitude. Maintaining good personal relationships is just as important as having a well-developed, secure, and user-friendly website.

In conclusion, website development is a critical element of a successful online presence, and the decision to rely on a friend or family member versus hiring a professional web developer should be made after careful consideration of the project’s specific needs and requirements. Whatever the decision, it’s important to maintain a positive relationship with those involved in the project and ensure that the website is of high quality, functionality, and aesthetics.

Our Experience

All of the above being said, CharlesWorks has been performing website development and getting businesses on the web since June of 1998. We’ve had a lot of experience (unfortunately) “taking over” a business’s website development project started by a friend or family member. While some went well, the majority were fraught with issues that cost the business tremendous amounts of angst in addition to dollars. There have even been times when the business lost their domain name because of lack of ability to access it due to the family member or friend not understanding all the protections to put in place when acquiring it.

So use caution – you are gambling with the success of your business. This is definitely a time where it appears you will get what you pay for.

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