Yes, we realize this is an agency writing about freelancers vs agencies, so yes, there will be some bias. Please note however, that way back when, this agency once was a single freelancer with simply too much time and energy on his hands.
Why work with a vendor in the first place?
If you’re choosing to work with a vendor to develop your website, chances are it’s because you do not have the in-house skill set to do it. (Luckily, we do.)
First thing on your plate is to determine why exactly you’re having a new site developed. Are you looking for a visually appealing website that will work as a credibility booster? Or are you more concerned with helping your website better communicate with search engines, moving it up in the results and making it easier for potential customers to find?
Although there are many other reasons to have a website, we typically see companies coming to us with one of these two outcomes as a goal. So once again, why work with an outside party to develop your site?
Expertise. When it comes down to it, you’re going to a vendor for their expertise. It’s the vendor’s responsibility to help you understand your goals and help guide you into making the best decision for your business’s online presence.
Advice. We encourage you to come in with a motive for why you want to create/update your company’s website. But, remember to stay open minded because you’re looking to a third party for a reason. Chances are they can help you either pinpoint your goal or point out opportunities you may have missed.
Points to Consider
Web development, with both freelancers and agencies, requires the same procedures and experience levels to deliver a successful experience and product. Here are three points to consider when choosing a web vendor:
When it comes down to it, both a freelancer and an agency can deliver a great end product. The difference is the risk you inherit when working with an individual versus an agency.
With a freelancer:
- There’s higher risk of project delays. If only one person is balancing all departments of the business that’s less time devoted to developing your site.
- There’s higher risk of an imperfect end product. When working with an individual they may have a lack of experience, giving you a less than satisfactory site.
- There’s higher risk of having to start over. If your freelancer ‘moves on’ from their small business for a full time job you may be left out to dry.
With an agency:
- When compared to a freelancer, costs within an agency are sometimes perceived as ‘more expensive’. With an agency, there are multiple roles involved in one project ranging from project managers, sales, design and operations that can have an effect on the price tag.
- An agency won’t say yes to everything. Some website agencies will turn down web-based requests such as social media or PPC Marketing that a freelancer may take on per-request.
Ask the right questions
When on the hunt for your perfect web developer here’s a few questions you should ask to help understand the risks you’ll be assuming once you commit.
My vote: reduce unnecessary risk
Working with a team reduces unnecessary risk.
With an agency, you are reducing risk by diversification. An agency has put the right people in place to manage each facet of their company’s operations. This leaves people to deal with what they’re best at.
With an agency, you have a team working for you, not an individual. A team is more likely to provide comprehensive expertise on the project at hand. A team can’t go and accept another job, leaving you stranded. By working with a team, you’re simply watching your own back.
Whoever you choose to build your website, remember to ask questions. Remember that you are counting on their expertise. Remember that a website is not a ‘one and done’ project. No matter who you choose, ask the right questions and remember the risk you assume.