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Build an In-House Team or Partner with a Web Development Agency?

Strategy, Design & Development

Many of our clients have been faced with the decision as to whether they should manage their website internally or have a professional web development agency like CommonPlaces manage it for them. As with all decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

Clients are faced with a decision as to whether build an in-house team or partner with a professional web development agency.

Reasons to Build an In-House Team

1. Company Knowledge -

Having a team in the office can be helpful as they are more apt to understand your business. By being a part of the day-to-day, they can be more responsive and in tune to your needs.

2. Budget -

Building a team to manage your website and infrastructure, helps set your budget for the year, since you would be paying an annual salary instead of paying for each request and project as you go.  

3. Convenience -

When your developer is in the same office as you, it makes communication much easier. You have the ability to go down the hall and request a change face to face. You can also control priorities and timing.

4. Commitment -

As with any employee, they are investing their time and energy in your business and committed to helping the company succeed every day.

Reasons to Partner with a Web Development Agency:

1. Expertise -

Do you have the knowledge to hire and manage great web developers? Most developers claim they are great, but few really are. Odds are that if you decide to build an in-house, you will end up hiring Jack-of-All-Trades and Masters of None. The best web developers want to work for an agency and specialize in their profession. CommonPlaces has different people who are specialists in Design, Development, Database, Security, Custom Coding, Planning and SEO. By not having a diverse group of specialists, you most likely will end up spending a lot of time figuring out how to do it and less time actually doing it.

2. Experience  -

Agency developers work on a large number of websites and have more experience with different situations and approaches. Since they’ve worked on a variety of projects, the likelihood that they will come up with a solution to meet your needs faster than an in-house developer is very high.  

3. Cost –

While bringing it in-house helps you set and maintain a budget, you might end up spending more in the long run due to annual salaries, benefits, PTO, education and nonproductive time. Whereas with a web development agency, you will only be billed on hours. Not to mention, you most likely will need to hire an outside vendor to cover the areas in which your team might be weak or lacking in.

4. Agency Knowledge -

A good web development agency will assist you with SEO (search engine optimization). They also know how to make pages load quickly and help you keep your content search engine friendly.  

Making a Decision

We have seen both approaches be successful. We have seen in-house teams that do a great job and those that don’t. We mentor a number of very successful in-house teams that turn to us for specialized needs. Unfortunately most companies of the later don’t have the knowledge to know if their team is creating a nightmare. Likewise, just because you hire a web development agency, it doesn't mean they will do a great job. Make sure whomever you hire has a solid portfolio of websites that represent the types of problems you need to solve.

So what should you do? If your web development needs are simple and more marketing based, building a team may be the answer. If your needs are operational based requiring customization and specialization, it may be best to leave it to a professionals.

Ben Bassi
By Ben Bassi

Ben Bassi is the Founder and CEO of CommonPlaces, a custom web development and digital marketing agency in Manchester, NH. With over 30 years of technology industry leadership and strategic planning experience, Ben has led two companies to Inc. 500 status.

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