Are you looking to build a new website for your business? When it comes to building a new website or redesigning an existing one, most small businesses find it challenging to decide whether to hire a website design agency or a freelancer.
As a business owner, it’s crucial for you to have a successful online presence. However, you cannot achieve your target goals by simply having a website. If you want to be successful online, you need a website that is a perfect combination of great usability, attractive visual design, and engaging content.
In addition to this, you will also need to implement SEO marketing and possibly paid marketing tactics to beat your competitors. That being said, developing a functional business website that generates clients or customers requires experience, knowledge, and skills. Now you might be wondering how to hire the right professional to design and develop your website.
When it comes to website creation, you have two options:
- Hire a Freelance Web Developer
- Hire a Website Design Company
If you’re ready to start a website development or re-design project for your business, the first decision that you will need to make is whether to work with a freelancer or a website design agency.
Choosing the right professional for creating a website can be an incredibly important decision for any business. To make the right decision, you need to consider the pros and cons of each option. But before we start figuring out all the pros and cons of these two options, let’s first understand the fundamental differences between the two main types of web developers.
Difference Between a Freelancer and Website Design Agency
The process of creating a website that generates clients or customers is quite complex, involving several phases such as website design, website development, content creation, SEO, and more.
A freelancer is a self-employed individual who isn’t committed to a certain company or agency. These professionals work as a web designer, developer, content writer, or even a blogger and is often an expert in one of those roles. A freelancer usually works from home and takes on several projects for different entities at a time.
A good website design agency, on the other hand, is a full-service company that specializes in developing websites. This company employs a team of professionals who work towards a common goal of designing and building your website.
A website design agency has professionals who specialize in different aspects of website development such as graphic designers, web developers, copywriters, marketing specialists, and more. Now let’s find out the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer or a website design agency.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Website Design Freelancer
The major benefit of working with a freelancer is the low cost. Many small businesses prefer to hire a freelancer because, in the short term, it seems cheaper than working with a website design agency.
Freelance web developers set their own rates and are often more flexible with the price. Freelancers charge less because they don’t have to manage overhead costs like staff salaries, office rent, and etc. They are after all, individuals with no team.
Besides this, working with a freelancer allows you to get more involved in the creative process. A reliable freelancer can also devote more time and attention solely to your project. However, there are also some serious disadvantages to hiring a freelancer for your project.
Here are some top of mind reasons as to why you should never hire a freelance website designer over a reputable website design agency:
1. Freelancers Probably Have Full-time Jobs or Other Priorities
Most freelancers use website development gigs as side hustles. Translation: you’re not their #1 priority. Or, they may squeeze your work in, in between tasks at their nine to five.
2. Freelance Website Designers Can Go Rogue
We have one client in particular who comes to mind when we think about this huge con. They invested thousands of rands (a deposit upfront before development) in a freelance website designer. This website developer disappeared with their money and left them with an incomplete and nonfunctional website.
There are more nefarious instances too where website developers hold websites hostage and continue to extort money. The downside is clear in both situations. Going with one single human carries more risk than a team or company with multiple professionals.
3. Freelance Website Developers Don’t Have Well Rounded Marketing Experience
Freelance website developers are skilled in that—building websites for businesses. They most likely are not well versed in marketing, the actual aesthetic design of your website, or UX. Some developers are pure coders, while others are rooted in graphic design and code.
If you hire a freelance website designer, you may not get the best advice about how to build your business website or rebuild it, especially if getting clients or customers for you is a top priority. When you work with an agency, they’ll have a marketing team to support your website in the most strategic way possible.
If having a website that gets you clients or customers on a consistent and regular basis is not something you care about, then this con may not matter much to you.
4. You Get What You Pay For
You get what you pay for. It may be tempting to go with a freelance website developer who charges half of the going rate. But you need to ask yourself, “why are they charging less?”.
You shouldn’t go with the most expensive option either, but shop around and find an affordable website designer who charges an affordable rate, has client reviews and portfolio items of work they’ve done in the past.
5. Managing a Freelancers Can Be a Headache
A freelancer is a single individual who doesn’t have a team with different specialists. Unlike an agency that has a team, freelancers work solo which means that you are at the mercy of their schedule and the limitations of their skillset.
It is also most likely that you will need to hire multiple freelancers specializing in different aspects of website design, development, and marketing. Now you have to directly manage multiple people and be well experienced in website design and digital marketing.
Pros and Cons of Working with a Website Development Agency
Website Design Agencies enjoy more reputation in the industry. This is because full-fledged companies are registered with authentic organizations like the CIPC and you can easily find their client reviews online. They have a reputation to uphold within their community and among their industry peers.
A full-service website development and digital marketing agency will have its own content writers, web developers & designers, and SEO experts- all under one roof. Even if you have to pay more than a freelancer, you can save the cost of hiring multiple people to complete one project. When different specialists work together on your project you get better results in less time. These agencies have access to advanced technology and better design and marketing expertise to provide you better service.
The only drawback of working with an agency is the cost. These agencies employ multiple specialists and invest in software, systems, and maybe even physical office space to be more and more efficient so of course, their rates will likely be higher.
The Verdict: Website Design Agency vs. Freelancer
As mentioned above, both options have some pros and cons. The decision of hiring a freelancer or agency largely depends on factors like the services you need, your goals, your budget, and the time-frame that best suits your project.
If you consider the pros and cons of both options, clearly hiring a web development agency is a better option overall and in the long term. As compared to a freelance web designer, good website design agencies have the resources and support to take on a full-scale web development project.
You don’t need to hire multiple freelancers for your project. The agency will take care of everything from planning through deployment. Good web development agencies also provide digital marketing services to help you generate clients or customers and can manage your website for years to come.