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Web design agency or freelancer?

You need a new website. You’ve written your brief. Now who do you give it to?

There are more web designers around than users of Google Plus, so how do you choose one? The first decision is to decide between an agency and a freelancer. It’s likely you’ll have preconceived ideas about both, but read on because it really comes down to a debate about price, reliability and experience.

Web design agencies may seem expensive but cheaper is not often better

Price, you get what you pay for

Price is obviously a significant factor when it comes to anything related to your business but you should definitely not base your decision purely on cost. Everyone wants the best quality for the lowest price but, in reality, this is unfortunately a very rare thing! You will almost always experience better quality when you pay more money.

But why is a web design agency more expensive than a freelancer? Obviously agencies have the overheads that come with most businesses but you are paying for more than that:

  • Research time into your industry and business
  • A diverse range of skills and creativity
  • Bespoke web design design service (your design is tailored to your business – not already been used elsewhere)
  • A website developed from scratch with a structure that is designed for your site alone

A freelancer may often be cheaper but you could end up with an ‘off the shelf’ website that has restrictions and therefore doesn’t perform how you’d like. There may be a lack of marketing knowledge that means your website looks great but doesn’t focus on engagement. If using the site doesn’t result in users interacting with the site how they should, (an E-commerce site for example), it renders that site ineffective for your business needs.

A high quality website will not only help your business in the long run, but is likely to cost less over time because it will last the distance. Buy it cheap and buy it twice.

Ongoing Support and Reliability

An agency’s recommendations and references can be reliably validated whereas a freelancer’s may not. Checking an agency’s LinkedIn profile, Facebook activity and Twitter feed and reading the case studies on their own website will give you confidence in their ability to deliver the results you’re after. A freelancer may not have the range of clients or the resources to offer these assurances.

Many freelancers work as web designers for a second source of income and are therefore not contactable all of the time. This may result in queries not being answered and completion dates over-running. An agency will have a contingency plan for illness or holidays and deliver on time frames while a freelancer may go AWOL leaving you with no one to talk to or a back up.

Range of Experience

Agencies work with a large range of accounts and will have produced many different types of websites across various industries. They will be able to provide business and marketing advice throughout the process as their experience will go beyond just web design.

A freelancer may not be able to handle the variety of specific problems or issues that present themselves during the project whereas the size of the team working for an agency means that you are gaining a collaborative effort on your project. More heads are always better than one!

When it comes to experience and professionalism there is far less risk when working with an agency. Which in turn means less stress for you and more time to concentrate on running your business!

Anyone can build a website these days, but if you want more than that – if you want a digital experience that meets your objectives and helps to build your business, leave it to the experts. Because to deliver your project and exceed your expectations, a designer needs to know more than building a website – they need to be adept at graphic design, web programming, copy writing, understand SEO and know their digital marketing.

If you are serious about your business and accept that your website is an integral part of it, give it the love it deserves – choose an agency!

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