Many of our clients have been faced with the decision as to whether they should manage and maintain their website internally or have a professional web development agency like CommonPlaces manage it for them. While we highly recommend working with a professional web development agency – as with all decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.
The In-House Team Provides Company Knowledge.
When it comes to understanding your business, nothing will compare to your own people. By being a part of the day-to-day, they can be more responsive and in tune to your needs. However, unless your subject matter experts are also highly familiar with all of the areas of web development, you may wish to give this careful consideration depending on the scope of your website build.
Sit yourself down in front of the mirror and ask: Do I 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 may end up hiring Jack-of-All-Trades and Masters of None.
A Web Development Agency Provides Web Development Expertise.
The best web developers want to work for an agency and specialize in their profession. 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, they will likely find solutions faster than an in-house developer. A good web development agency will assist you with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and launch your project fully optimized for search. They also know how to make pages load quickly and help you keep your content search engine friendly.
As for learning the ins and outs of your business and industry, this knowledge and understanding comes with time. A good agency will take the time to get to know you, your industry, and your audience before making recommendations on content, design, functionality, etc. This ensures your website and portal are built specifically for you while providing web development expertise on the back-end.
Effectively Lower Hourly Rates
When viewing the effective hourly rate cost, hiring an in-house team can appear to be a more cost effective solution. Your costs include their annual salary, PTO, benefits, and taxes. Even with extras such as events, equipment, technology, and other miscellaneous items, your overall hourly rate will most likely be lower than if you were to work with an agency. Plus, building an in-house 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.
However, finding an individual who is an expert in everything your company needs is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. You may find yourself needing to hire multiple employees to cover all your marketing and development needs. This results in spending more in the long run due to salaries, benefits, vacation time, education and mostly nonproductive time spent learning about web building interfaces, modules, databases, and functions.
More Bang for Your Buck
Agencies are composed of talented individuals who are experts in their field. For example, at CommonPlaces we have strategic marketers, user experience web designers, expert CMS developers, and online security specialists. Our service offerings include strategic planning, custom coding & integrations, self-service portals, SEO, ongoing support, and more. By partnering with an agency, such as CommonPlaces, you are gaining access to everyone on the team and only need to pay for the time or deliverable provided. So, while agencies do have a higher hourly rate, you are not responsible for any unproductive time or overhead costs associated with a larger team.
As for annual budget planning, many agencies offer ongoing retainers, so you can set your budget for the entire year and not worry about receiving surprise invoices. These packages often come with discounted hourly rates or other budgetary incentives if you agree to a long-term relationship. If you are partnering with the right agency, a long-term agreement would be a no brainer.
It’s Convenient To Have People In The Office.
When your developer is in the same office as you, it makes communication easier. You have the ability to go down the hall and request a change face to face. You can also control priorities and timing. As with any employee, they are investing their time and energy in your business and committed to helping the company succeed every day.
It’s Also Convenient To Have Professionals Just A Phone Call, Text, or Chat Away.
When you hire an agency committed to developing your website, your calls and requests are a high priority. Oftentimes, you will be assigned a Project Manager who will be available to you during the entirety of your web development build, as well as provide support once the site is tested and live.
Making The Decision
CommonPlaces has seen both approaches. We have seen in-house teams do a great job, and teams that don’t. We have even mentored a number of very successful in-house teams who specifically turn to us for specialized development needs. While these types of in-house teams can be rare, if you have one hang onto them! Otherwise, we highly recommend working with a professional web development agency who is able to show a solid portfolio of websites that represent the types of problems you need to solve.
Call or email us today if you need a web development agency to build a successful, engaging website or customer engagement portal.