There comes a time when every company or organization is trying to build a website. Some of these companies decide to hire an employee or two, some create departments while others contract out the development to a company or contractor. Often times, I see companies making the wrong decision on which of these they should be hiring. One of the biggest ones is when a company or non-profit with little to no money, decides that they should hire an internal employee but only offer them sub-par pay. Its silly really but often these companies just don't know any better or may have had a bad experience previously.
So, I ask you, do you know how to decide which you need? Well, to start I ask a few questions. What type of site are you building? If its just e-commerce, a splash page, an informational site, these are all perfect for independent contractors. Reason being? These are small projects. Developing a website like these and giving the user the ability to manage that site after its been completed, should be a basic ability of any developer you would hire. Sites like these can often be completed in a matter of a few weeks and cost even less than the sub-par salary you're able to offer for a full time employee. If you're building a company to offer web services, websites or some sort of Web software, then you should be hiring an internal employee, if not, building an entire team. These types of services involve long term and on-going development. In this case, hiring contractors over and over again can end up more costly than building an internal team that is able to create tools and processes internally to increase the production rate of your entire company.
At the end of the day, each company and website could be defined in a way that both of these methods would seem to be correct. So, don't guess on which will be better for your company, talk to companies and individuals offering web services to see who comes back with a better price and time table for your project. If you don't already know how to get started, check out my blog on "How to post your website project to get a great website developer." Once you've got a solid definition of what your site is going to be, getting a quote on time and cost will be easier, but don't rush into the first company you speak with and make sure they are doing all of your work internally. And if you're really struggling, drop me an email and I'll see if I can get you going down the correct path.