I am new to the whole IT scene, but not to the business scene. I was wondering if you veterans could help me in understanding the costs and benefits of outsourcing website development, and the "do-it-yourself" method.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Most of the risks that comes with outsourcing you development can be negated. But, the biggest problem is to know what they are and put procedures in place to combat those risks. Yes it will cost more in terms of money, and you might have to call them in whenever you want any thing change.

Check to see if you can get a solution off the shelve. This will ease upgrade and implementation cost. Also not all programmers write their code to the same standard so everything must be documented.

The most important thing is if your system must be develop from scratch make sure the company will be here tomorrow (depending on the complexity of the system) and that the chemistry is their.

I think that you being a business person you run the risk of not completing the project or cutting corners. Also you might get drawn into purely development and forget about the business. This will affect how soon you get the project to market. I might be wrong because if you have the time and know how this would be a great apportunity.

Looking at the big picture - the ideal is to get the system up an running ASAP, so you can start making money, and have someone to fix it when things go wrong (not you). So look at the pros and cons with the cost included and see route is best for you.

Thanks for the response, you helped a lot. I was wondering if you could fill me in a little bit about the "off the shelve" option. I have seen some programs that are designed to allow the consumer to customize their own website. My idea is a large scale social networking website, think on the scale of facebook, bebo, myspace... Would a packaged software satisfy these needs? Or would it be more to my advantage to partner with an expert?

Thanks again for your great help!