By keeping everything in-house, you could wind up spending your entire budget on payroll. On the other hand, if you outsource everything, quality and control become concerns. This is a dilemma that all industries struggle with and something that every company, manager, and employee should understand.

Understanding the Dilemma

Companies often make the wrong decision because they don't fully understand the situation. It's not as simple as looking at the budget and determining which method will save you the most money. Quality and control are also things that should be taken into consideration. When deciding whether to outsource a particular task, always ask yourself these three questions:

Will the overall quality of work suffer?
Will I lose control over how the work is managed or completed?
How will the decision to outsource affect my bottom line?

According to Joshua Steimle, a contributor and online marketing guru, there is no standard rule of thumb for deciding what to outsource. Having run an online marketing firm since 1999, he has found that every situation is unique. "I wish I could tell you that based on my experience you should always outsource in Situation A, but always take it in-house in Situation B, but I can't," Steimle writes.

Like Steimle, other internet marketers agree that the only way to make smart outsourcing decisions outsourcing is to handle each situation independently. The areas that you should specifically consider include SEO, web design, and content marketing.


While it's just one part of the equation, price will have a big influence on how you handle SEO. According to recent industry averages, you can expect to pay an entry-level SEO somewhere around $50,000 per year. If you want one with experience, it'll probably run around $75,000 per year, and for a true industry expert, you're looking at more than $100,000 per year.

You should also note that an effective SEO campaign will likely take more than one employee, and planning for two or three is wise. That means you should expect to spend around $100,000 on the low end and at least $300,000 on the high end. These figures are enough to force most companies to outsource, even if they might not want to.

Web Design

When looking at web design, things are much more flexible. You can likely find economical choices on both ends of the spectrum, and the decision will come down to how comfortable you feel with the quality and control. According to this blog post from, studies have shown that 63 percent of data breaches are directly related to outsourcing tasks. Are you comfortable giving a third party access to some of your most valuable information? You'll certainly need to find someone you can trust.

Content Marketing

Simply put, content marketing is one of the easiest things to outsource. There are plenty of quality writers looking for work, and most are willing to sign on as a contractor, which is cost-effective for your company. However, if content is one of your company's major focuses, it's worth looking into building an in-house team of employees.

A popular solution for many companies is to combine outsourcing with an in-house department. This could look like using independent contractors to create the content, but hiring editors to carefully control the editorial process.

Get to Know Your Company

As you can see, there is no clear answer on whether to outsource your online marketing efforts or keep them in-house. It almost always comes back to the three questions regarding quality, control, and cost. By weighing the positives and advantages related to each of these factors, you can make an educated decision that will point your business in the right direction.