In-House or Outsourced Web Development: Which is Better? 

There’s so much debate about which is better, between hiring in-house developers and outsourcing web development. Some business owners say that they find hiring in-house developers better than getting help from outside the company. But others think differently. This issue has left some small business owners in a quandary which can roadblock operations and threaten ROI.

in-house or outsource web developmentWhile there are many business owners raving about the benefits out of outsourcing work overseas, others see it differently. Below are significant reasons why some want to get their work done in-house.

The Benefits of Hiring-In-House Developers

  • Buy in and not Bail out: People who work within the company are likely to invest time and energy and may often share in company equity plans. This motivates them to stay as a long-term company asset.
  • Hands-on: In-house developers are aware of the various areas the business engages in and capable of offering possible solutions that an external team may not see.                        
  • Aligned with the Company’s Interests: Normally, a regular employee has a mindset aligned to the company he is working with. This means those employed in-house help in building greater revenues because they know that if the company prospers, they will likewise get their own share of success.                                  
  • Controlled Time, Activity and Quality: The company can take control of all activities, quality, and time of in-house personnel. Some business owners feel that they can cut the cost if they use inside talent as the process of requesting for skilled external resources costs more. There are companies that are blessed with outstanding teams that do not require hiring additional help.


  • Cost: In general, in-house developers are more expensive than outsourced developers, often by a factor of two or more.
  • Hiring Woes: It’s hard and takes longer to find qualified outsourced expertise, and the longer you wait, the more frustrated you get.
  • Knowledge: Using in-house developers means building up in-house knowledge and expertise, which can take significant time and efforts.

So why do people outsource web development overseas instead of using those that are within arm’s length? Outsourcing is getting the services of consultants, an agency, or a service provider that can manage some portions of a company’s business.

Reasons for outsourcing vary; it could be cost, capacity, or it may be that the company is looking for specialized skills, special equipment a startup company has, or the business only requires limited, temporary, or seasonal resources.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Web Development

  • Special Skills, Specialized Equipment: The success of online websites depends on graphics design, PPC campaigns, website development, and many others. These require special skills and special equipment that companies outside the web development industry typically don’t have in place. These can be done by outside experts who can be tasked to do, including accounting and human resource management.
  • Scalable Capacity: With outsourcing, you only easily scale your development team to the size needed, improving throughput while streamlining costs.
  • Short-Term Commitment: Infrastructure and website upgrading, as well as graphic design are temporary, seasonal or limited needs. By outsourcing you pay for these services only when they are needed.

You may hire another set of minds with different skillsets when another need arises. Hiring short-term saves you from committing to annual salaries and benefits.

  • Lower Cost: Local developers get paid more than outsourced online workers and this is another reason why many entrepreneurs opt to outsource help. Paying half the cost to outsourced skilled individuals is a welcome idea for those who are just starting up.
  • Good Values through Competition:  With so many outsourcing contractors waiting to be tapped, skilled workers employed in these companies strive hard to outdo the others. This provides assurance to companies looking to hire experts as they would be getting the better if not the best hires to work for their cause.


  • Availability: Demand for skilled developers has soared high in the recent years which made experts in this field harder to find. These people are so busy tending to different clients and their availability is scarce.  This calls for being resourceful at choosing service providers to catch up with your deadlines.
  • Language and Cultural Barriers: While there are so many experts from outsourcing companies, there is a great possibility that communication can be difficult. You need time to converse with them on some important aspects but at times, it is difficult to bridge the language gap. You can get help from countries that speak the same language you do.
  • Loss of Knowledge: Using outsourced developers often means knowledge is accrued and maintained outside the organization, and can be substantially lost if there is no relationship with the external development team. What your outsourced workers know cannot be shared with the team, which means lesser internal growth for the company.
  • Ramp up Time: The time between product or software development and capacity utilization may vary due to several reasons. If this happens, there is no control over implementation. So, if an outsourced company cannot deliver on time, expect a delay in your revenues.
  • Management Time: In-house workers can get familiarized with the systems they manage quickly because managing tasks on a personal basis is quite possible. Outsourcing can fail on this area as they do not come face to face with the problems themselves.
  • Greater Risk: Before deciding on outsourcing IT services, running a background check on your shortlisted companies is a good idea. Not all foreign countries have the same security protocols your country has so there is always a risk in terms of private data or intellectual property handling.

Hiring in-house developers has a number of advantages but outsourcing is often a better option for growing companies. While other businesses look at hiring in-house as more ideal, the fact remains that technical expertise and communication skills could break the tie as to what a company really needs.

Have you outsourced some parts of your web development, or other business processes? Do you prefer to have a face-to-face interaction with your employees? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

View User Profile for Brian Conte Brian founded Fast Track with over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and technology expertise. Brian managed the development of Microsoft's first browser in 1985 and later founded hDC, the first Windows software company. Brian ran hDC, later named Express Systems, for 10 years before selling it to WRQ in 1996, where he remained as CTO. Brian spearheaded the development of one of WRQ's most successful products, Express 2000, which generated more than $10 million in its first year. Brian holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.
Posted by Brian Conte Friday, September 16, 2016 3:33:00 PM Categories: business partnership content development custom development web development website

Web Development Life Cycle in a Nutshell 

In this article, you will learn the different stages of web development in a language that even a non-techy person can understand.

Your website represents you to the world. An understanding of the web development cycle will enable you to work efficiently with web developers to achieve a prominent online presence. An image depicting the life cycle of web development.
As a businessman, you have to put in a lot of effort and planning in setting up your business, as well as your website and online presence on various social networks. That is why hiring website developers to help you build your website is getting more popular. From identifying the feature you need for your website to going live, the whole process is known as Web Development Life Cycle. Normally, this process goes through 6 stages, namely:

  • Analyzing
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and Delivery
  • Maintenance



This a crucial stage of the development cycle. This is the stage where you have to analyze the core values and functions of your company. You should have a clear understanding of your business goals and how you will need the web to attain these goals.

In order to analyze your goals in detail, you can break them down in parts and define those. First of all, consider what the purpose of the site will be; whether it will be used to promote a service, provide information, or to sell a product.  Once you have a clear purpose, you need to define the target audience next. Think of the ‘ideal’ person that you would want as the visitor; knowing their age, sex, interests etc. will help in determining the best design for the site. Now that you know your target audience, you can analyze what kind of content they’ll be looking for on your website.

After a thorough analysis, you can move on to the next stage of the web development cycle, and start planning. It is at this stage that the site map is developed.
A sitemap is the basic outline model of your website. It lists all the main areas of the site, as well as their subdivisions. This will help you to decide what type of content will be on your site. The type of technical tools to be implemented are also decided at this stage. The target audience is to be kept in mind, as you need the user interface to be such that it is not only easy but also fun and engaging for them to navigate through the web site.

Now is the time to design the layout of the website. The site will look different for different target groups as per their interests. It is also important to strengthen the identity of your company on the website. You can do that by incorporating the company logo or its colors into the design. Here are a few of the current website layout trends which you can go through for the layout of your website.

The web designer will send you several prototypes. You can either view mockups, or the designer can give you access to view the work in progress. This is done so that you are able to view the design and development stages, and are able to give feedback. This is necessary as the website needs to match your needs and tastes. You should also decide what type of Content Management System (CMS)  to use at this stage of the development cycle. Constant communication is ultimately necessary in this stage.

In the cycle, the development stage is where the actual, functional website is created by using the graphic elements of the prototype. No matter what CMS you will use, it is best to start with a generic HTML and CSS . This involves writing valid HTML / CSS code that complies with current web standards, maximizing functionality, as well as accessibility for as large an audience as possible.

The home page is the first page to be developed. After that, a template is created for the content pages, which contains the main navigational structure of the website. In this, the developer distributes the content in their appropriate areas. All the other technical features are made functional in this phase.

Testing and Delivery
Websites function as a multi-user and multi-tier system with bandwidth limitations. Consequently, tests for complete functionality and compatibility are done at this stage. Both automated testing and manual testing should be done without fail. Implement analytics tools so that you will be able to track your website’s statistics before, during, and after the website launch.

Once the final output is approved, website owners then perform a final run-through to confirm that everything was uploaded correctly and is functional.  The site can then go live.

The web development cycle doesn’t stop at the site’s launch.  With a lot of online competitors vying for your target customers, the real battle has just started. As a website owner, you will have to make sure that your website is updated with the current trends as well as stuffed with content that matters to your target audience.   Aside from regularly updating the content of the site, you should also be looking at regular site backups, additional plugin installations, tools and plugin upgrades.

Was this rundown helpful to you? Give us your thoughts.

View User Profile for Shubhada Paranjape Shubhada worked as a team lead for the Objectstar testing group (a product of Fujitsu) for two years. Later, she was the product lead for the e-filing development and support team for two years. Shubhada then joined Brian and her husband Ajey to start and run the Fast Track India operations. She holds a Masters in Mathematics from Pune University and an advanced diploma in Computer Science. She's on Twitter as @ShubhadaPar.
Posted by Shubhada Paranjape Thursday, March 17, 2016 6:25:00 PM Categories: business partnership technology website

Five Effective Strategies on How to Optimize Your Power Site 

New to Power Site? Here's five ways you can optimize your website on your own.

5 Effective Strategies to Optimize Your Website

Building your online business using Power Site is the most convenient way of putting your brand out there. Leaving the coding part to Power Site's web developers frees you from doing such meticulous task. So you can focus on other important aspects of your business.

By taking a look at the features of your Power Site, you will be able to determine which areas can be easily optimized on your own. Optimizing your site increases its Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). Ranking high usually means more visibility online, and thus, bigger chances of gaining more leads.

Here are a few ways to optimize your Power Site:

(1) On-page Optimization

Your Power Site's on-page content optimization may include the following strategies:

  • Proper keyword optimization without keyword stuffing - Your primary keywords should be used on page titles, headings, sub-headings, page body/content, product descriptions and tags, image file names and alt texts, meta title and description , page URLs.
  • Improve internal link building - You can link your most-linked web pages to your homepage and new SEO-targeted pages to harness link equity.
  • Video sitemap - Create a video sitemap if you have numerous video promotions.
  • User friendly landing pages - Improve user experience by having clear calls to action, properly constructed website navigation, and properly tagged product images.
  • Mobile device compatibility - Make sure that you have a mobile version of your website for customers who use mobile devices when browsing the internet.
  • Social media integration - Integrate social media to allow sharing of your content, highlight customer feedback, use as social-based commenting, show trending products/services to your social media followers.

(2) Blogging

Power Site's content management system allows you to easily manage your site's blog. Maximize these blogging features which will enable you to create properly optimized posts:

  • Set up categories to organize blog content to help visitors find the topics they are looking for.
  • Use primary and long tail keywords on your posts.
  • Include related images and links to reliable resources on your posts.
  • Include shareable images  you own. Make sure their file names are relevant to the content. Add alt tags when you insert the images on your posts.

(3) Link Building

  • Build relationships with other website/blog owners and get backlinks through guest posting.
  • Send request letters to manufacturers/suppliers for backlinks on their websites.
  • Find and interview influencers in your industry.
  • Create shareable infographics.
  • Write how-to guides for your target audience.
  • Answer questions on platforms like Quora, Yahoo Answers, and other Q&A sites.
  • Curate a 'weekly roundup' of best posts within your industry.

(4) Enlisting your Power Site to local directories

  • List down all of your business information such as website URL, physical address, telephone number/s, email address, as well as several product images you use on your website. These are required by local directory listings and will appear on a page once your account/submission is approved.
  • To find where your competitors are listed, you can use Whitespark's Local Citation Finder.
  • Submit your Power Site's URL to all relevant local directories.

(5) Other Best Practices

  • Always stick with high quality content for your website and/or blog posts. Apply the same principle in writing services or product descriptions.
  • If you do sell products on your Power Site, do not copy the manufacturer's description. Instead, write your own optimized product descriptions your customers can relate to.
  • Write long form blog posts particularly for new products you are promoting.
  • Many free PR sites are quite dubious. Have a budget set for press releases and make sure the site/s you will choose are highly reputable and known to produce good results.
  • Avoid mass submissions to various directories. Pick only relevant authority directories to submit to.
  •  Do not submit your website to Google using submission sites and tools. Use Google URL submission page.

The ease of having a Power Site for your business does not stop at the completed website itself. There is always room for improvement and there are basic steps you can take as website owner in order to optimize your website further.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Wednesday, August 12, 2015 10:18:00 PM Categories: SEO small business tips SMB web trends website

Website Tips and Trends: Top 5 Website Layout Trends in 2015 

Want to get ahead of your website conversions but don't know which one works best for your niche? Here's 5 trendy layouts for you.

Website layout trends

The ever evolving web has seen many changes in the way websites are developed and designed. From the glitzy and glamorous, to the simplistic and minimalist, today's website layouts are geared toward the user experience rather than impressing them.

If you are looking for website layout trends in 2015, here's a mix of remarkable and inspiring layouts you may want to apply:

Single Screen

Filling a single screen is one of the trends today. It is also a type of responsive design that adapts to the screen size, but has no scroll bars. The design completely fills the screen. The content of the site is tremendously focused and the (content) hierarchy is visibly established.

Single screen website can sometimes be dominated by a responsive image or a video clip.

Check out some examples of single screen website layouts here.


Modular or grid-based layout is also a responsive type of design. It’s flexible to adapt the size of the screen and uses adaptable layouts using plug-ins.

Creating same-size modules is one of the challenges of this layout since it lessens the emphasis on the most interesting content on the site. It is also difficult to grab the viewer's attention if you're focused on promoting a particular material or content on the site. Creating grids with various dimensions can prevent such problems.

Open style

We are all familiar with the design elements such as shapes, lines, boxes, and other 'dividers' containing content. Two of the most prominent elements among them are headers and footers which are designed to separate the important content from the rest of the material.

The latest website layout trend to remove of these elements and design a more open and free style layout. It offers a minimalistic look and feel, with an emphasis on the main content..

Split Screen

Split screen layout allows emphasis on two principal elements on a website. The significance of any website element is usually reflected on the hierarchy and structure. In this case, if you focus on two elements and would like to promote them simultaneously, a split screen website could be the best option.

Conveying duality is another reason to use this layout. If your business puts emphasis on products/services and your team, then this is the best layout to showcase your core assets to potential customers.

Flat UI

Another emerging trend is the use of flat user interface. This website layout strongly focuses on content and provides basic pattern with minimal distracting elements. Level UI is more simplistic in technique and has fewer image-concentrated patterns. There are easier pattern elements and fewer photographs which give way to a much faster website.

These are just some of the trends that many websites have applied and implemented these days. However, these are also building blocks which can be used in a variety of ways. Design according to any of these website layout trends depends on your business goals and how you can provide the best experience to your customers.

The usability and functionality of these layouts are also ever-evolving - allowing web designers to work on challenging but worthwhile mediums for every website owner's objectives.

If you wish to know more about these web layout trends or you would like to implement one for your business website, contact us today.

View User Profile for
Posted by Monday, July 13, 2015 9:56:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C responsive design SMB web design web trends website

Custom Development vs. Website Builder: What Business Owners Need to Know 

Custom web development is quite different from creating your website using a website builder.

Custom web development is quite different from creating your website using a website builder. For most people who promote a website builder, they are usually focusing on the differences in costs.

What does a web design and development firm do?

A web design and development firm provides a number of services to clients apart from design and development. These other services may include search engine optimization, online marketing, social media marketing, and content creation.

Web designers usually provide the design and artistic side which involve the visual look and feel of the website, and ergonomics. A web developer is similar to a programmer or someone who works on a website's functionality or how the site works.

A full service web design and development firm is often competent in providing these services. But it's essential to find one that caters to small and medium enterprises since they usually charge reasonably. Finding a reputable firm makes a huge difference since their team of designers and developers are vetted and committed to their clients' needs. And of course, fast custom development is a priority for these firms especially if it's a client's business necessity.

What is a website builder?

A website builder, on the other hand, is software that provides customers with a drag-and-drop user interface and hundreds of templates. Notable website builders include Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, Jimdo, IMCreator, and GoDaddy.

Website builders require a monthly fee (starting at $4 per month) and a customer can develop his own website by using the drag-and-drop interface. They've made the learning on their software quite small, so it's easy and fast to get a website.

If you need a website built for your business, it's best to take a look at the other main points that separate custom web development from website builder.

(1) Cost

Website builders usually start at $4 per month. But if you'll need to extend and add other features, you'll have to pay for them as well. Comparatively, if you'll work with an outsourced web development team, you may need to pay from $50 to $200 per hour depending on their geographic location and level of expertise.

(2) Design

Using a website builder limits your options since the company provides the design templates. A custom web design, however, may cost you from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars if you'll hire a freelance designer/developer, and upwards (a few thousand dollars) if you'll choose a web development and design company.

(3) Access

Website builders are usually owned by large companies, so it's often expected that they offer very limited access to customers. Comparatively, web development teams provide all accessible communication lines to customers. Many of them even have 24/7 access to online chats and phone calls to provide instant solutions to customers' problems.

(4) User interface

Website builders are known for using WYSWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop user interface. This is similar to a CMS (content management system) editor like that of WordPress.

Web design and development firms may or may not offer a CMS with the website they build for you. However, many of today's firms are aware that this is a necessity since business owners may need a client-facing CMS that they can use on their own (such as for blogging, posting ads, etc.).

(5) Scalability

A business website that's built by an expert web development firm is usually more scalable and extendable than one that's built by a website builder. The complexity of building a custom business website that's ready for scale and extension can only be done by an experienced firm.

Website builders are usually ideal for DIY webmasters and those who create and maintain websites for their hobbies. But if you have a business that needs more features and functionalities, it's only right to choose a web development team.

If you'd like to team up with an expert development and design firm, Fast Track development team can help you. Give us call today and let's discuss on building you a professional business website.

View User Profile for Shubhada Paranjape Shubhada worked as a team lead for the Objectstar testing group (a product of Fujitsu) for two years. Later, she was the product lead for the e-filing development and support team for two years. Shubhada then joined Brian and her husband Ajey to start and run the Fast Track India operations. She holds a Masters in Mathematics from Pune University and an advanced diploma in Computer Science. She's on Twitter as @ShubhadaPar.
Posted by Shubhada Paranjape Wednesday, May 27, 2015 1:35:00 AM Categories: custom development web development website
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