Having a website is like having a puppy or a garden - it is a long-term responsibility. It requires constant care and you get bitten occasionally. Some of us can't take it and give up on trying to control our sites - we let the puppy do what it wants, even if it is not exactly what we need. What can we do to stay in control?
If we are still in the planning stages, we can make sure that we don't overcommit - that we make sure we have someone who will take the puppy for walks, that we have enough money to buy his kibble, and that he is going to fit into our apartment (we talked about content strategy in depth a few weeks earlier).
For sites that are already live, it is a simple choice - delegating web work to someone else or doing it yourself. Let us look at these alternatives in detail.
You could hire someone to create and maintain your website. Or you could use a solution like Google Sites to do it. In this case you are not outsourcing the whole process - you are still organizing and entering content yourself, but you rely on others (Google engineers in this case) to build and maintain the infrastructure for your site. The advantages are obvious - you don't have to do it yourself, but you also have to think about the disadvantages:
In short, outsourcing can be about trading short-term gain for a possibility of long-term pain.
"If you want to have it done right, do it yourself". You could learn web technology and build your site yourself - in plain HTML on our Legacy web publishing service or in a CMS like Drupal or Wordpress on our Shared Infrastructure Services hosting. You would have full control of your site - there would be less uncertainty than with the outsourcing solution. But there is of course a price to pay.
The do-it-yourself option is generally the reverse of the outsourcing one: short-term pain but a possibility of long-term gain.
Which route should you take?
Most of the time the best choices are mixed - you outsource the generic problems (e.g. reuse an existing bit of code for authenticating users) but focus on learning how to implement local problems yourself (e.g. adapt that code to integrate with our IdentiKey system). The more important the website is to you or to your unit, the more you tend to drift towards the do-it-yourself solutions. The more of a long time commitment to the site you have, the more it makes sense to learn it or hire in-house talent to take care of it.
If you have read this far, you probably do care about your website enough to think about long term plans. You are ready to learn more about the underlying web technology. OIT can help you plan and learn - you can start by asking for a free web consultation.