If your business or brand doesn’t have a modern website yet, including a responsive design for mobile devices, you’re probably feeling the pressure. Everyone is moving at least part of their business online, and if you want your online presence to compete, you need to be on the same page. Or maybe, you have a site but are in serious need of a website redesign.
If this is the case, you’re in need of either a freelancer, an in-house developer, or a full-fledged web agency. To make this process smoother, we’ve broken down these three options and looked into how to choose the best one for your next website redesign or build.
A Look into Website Development:
A competent web designer, or web design firm, should have well-rounded experience in all aspects of web design — from website development and design to User Experience (UX) and content strategy. It is skills like these that differentiate a web designer from a web developer. Web designers are often solely versed in the visual elements of a website, while developers are able to create the website using code from the ground up.
Whether you choose to partner with a web design agency, or go with a freelance web developer, you will need to make sure the team or individual is knowledgeable about the market as well as your brand, or business. This ensures that your finished site will be able to stand up against your competitors in the online market.
In the beginning stages of your website development or website redesign, it is also important to ask simpler questions such as what timeline you can expect from project start to website launch, how it can be managed by your team post-launch, to see a portfolio of past work, and what they plan to do to match the vision you have for your new website.
Hiring a freelancer
Pros: More affordable, flexible scheduling, personalized communication
Cons: One-person team, potential for limited skillset, often longer timeline
Best for: Smaller projects or single proprietorship businesses
Partnering with a freelance web designer or web developer may be an attractive option. Oftentimes freelance designers are able to do work less expensively than a web design firm or agency would be able to.
With a lower price tag, however, comes limits associated with a one-person team. A freelancer may not have the well-rounded experience that comes with a firm or agency. Without an entire team to fall back on, this can limit them from the potential of their final product. Also keep in mind that one person can only work so quickly.
That said, working with a single freelancer sometimes lends itself to immense amounts of flexibility during the web development process. By working person to person, requests go directly to the individual who will fulfill them and ideas can be shared immediately without going through alternate channels.
Keeping it in-house
Pros: Pre-existing relationship, cost effective, knowledgeable about company
Cons: Limited time availability, slimmer skill set
Best for: Website redesigns that don’t involve large software overhauls
Maybe there is someone on your team who feels competent redesigning your website or building one outright. On the plus side, you have an established relationship with this person and communicate with them often. Remember though that due to the fact that they most likely already have another job to complete, your web project may not be completed on the rapid timeline you had hoped for.
Additionally, if you are partnering with someone in-house who already works at your company, most likely their job is not based around website building (unless, of course, you work for a web development agency already). This means that website design and development is most likely a hobby of theirs and, similarly to a freelancer, they have a skillset which excels in some areas while lacks in others.
This may mean they end up going with a premade website template with open-source CMS from providers such as WordPress or Squarespace. While these are good options for individuals looking to build their first website, the limited templates offered by companies like these usually do not provide the full range of services and capabilities that a larger brand or company needs.
Partnering with an agency
Pros: Full team, vast experience, and quality customer service
Cons: More expensive
Best for: Large or extensive projects and websites that need a wide range of capabilities
Web design and development agencies are usually the most expensive option when it comes to a website build or redesign, but you know what they say: You get what you pay for.
Web design agencies have large teams of designers, developers, and individuals specializing in everything from code to UX, search engine optimization (SEO) and copywriting. These specialized skill sets at your disposal allow for a well rounded new website with depth and value that simply isn’t comparable to a website built on a premade template or by many other means.
Another thing to consider is customer service and access to the team once your site is launched. Depending on the freelancer, they may not provide services to you once the initial project is completed. Agencies, on the other hand (or good ones at least) often pride themselves on their partnership, even after the website launch.
Ultimately, when choosing which avenue to take for your next website development project, the project itself should be at the heart of your decision. Weigh the pros and cons thoroughly, but more so you should look for the option that will give you the final product you need.
If you decide to go with a freelancer for the project, start your search online. And if you’re interested in partnering with a web design agency, reach out! Our talented staff is here to assist you and answer any questions you may have about your next website build.