The unpredictably steadfast growth of the online industry is like a nightmare to many businesses that are struggling hard to keep up with the varying challenges posed to them by their competitors. “Survival of the fittest” is the golden rule that applies here. If you can produce something exceptional and something beyond the expectations of your consumer base then you win the race. But this victory is not all, the competition is unbelievably fierce and you have to always think of innovative and creative ways to appease your targeted group of audience who get bored soon and are always expecting their favorite solution providers to offer them something new.
Branding is the new cool in the digital marketing industry and this is the only way that your business can influence the people active over the virtual world. It is all about implementing creativity at its best on virtual elements to gain success in the real world.
Websites are the true medium that a business can implement to carry their brand far and wide breaking all barriers of geographical separation that the Internet has successfully bridged today, making life a lot easier for people.
Developing a website that surpasses world class state of the art technology is a necessity to determine how influential your brand is at attracting potential prospects and converting leads into customers. This brings us again to the same place “Website”, which marks your identity in the online world where people come and go in the pursuit of finding services, products and also search for solutions to fix their problems. A website is a repository of solutions that takes care of your customers and their requirements.
Before you plan to hit the search button to get someone design your website, you need to analyze your business requirements and then choose an expert web designer. Research and analyze what is happening around you, but before that you need to understand the basic differences between the firms that provide business specific solutions and the kind of services that they specialize in.
If you do not have the basic idea of how web developers or web development agencies work, then you are risking the chances of pushing all the potential possibilities of your business goals to achieve success towards the danger zones by hiring someone who is ignorant about your industry and business needs.
Usually, it is observed that businesses have the least idea of what services they need and are quite unsure of how the service providers will suffice their business requirements implementing their project specifications ultimately leading to unnecessary wastage of money and time.
There are certain things that you need to take into consideration like the skill sets, website objectives, relevant experience of the web developer’s, budget, compatibility & the effectiveness of the communication thread between the main link of contact in their firm and the lead/ head responsible for the project coordination in your organization.
Here we will make comparisons between the types of web developers based on the various strategies of the web development cycle across which your project will move:
Before starting the comparison, I will cite out a simple instance of comparing your website development process with building a house. Imagine you are building a house. The construction process is quite complicated and there are a large number of people involved in the process. Suppose you decide to get the plumbers do the architectural and construction activities, what a disaster will that be? Do you think your house will be ready even if you give them 10 centuries of time to build it? Never, my dear friend the same rule applies to web development process.
A freelance developer or designer might be able to provide you with a single solution of web design but what about the remaining processes who will do the design conversions for obtaining a fully functional website, how will you assure the quality of the website that has been developed with no quality assurance team? Then, how will you plan for search engine traffic? What about the content and copywriting and proofreading?
How will you do the social media promotion? Do you think it will be effective if someone who is a jack of all trades promises to do that? It will never be perfect if you give them ages to develop what you need and it will never meet your business requirements too. Also, a lot of other resources including photographers, illustrators, data entry personnel, creative marketing executives, animators, the team for ensuring mobile responsiveness and accounts manager.
No matter whether you are planning for a small or large business setup the investment that you make the first time will be worth it and bring you satisfaction when your business starts gearing up in the future. The collective efforts of each of the experts individually when put together helps businesses derive great results.
When you seek help from a single professional who might claim their experience in all the relevant categories that your business requires help on, it might not be worth the investment because though the person might have experience he/she might not be an expert. Or they might forward the rest of the business requirements to another set of individuals that they choose based on cost-effectiveness and there is no guarantee for the quality of work.
Now let us look into the different options and the kind of services you can expect from both the freelancers and web development agencies:
#1. Defining the purpose, size and functionality of your business
These 3 are the key aspects of a web design that needs to be considered before choosing a web development agency or freelancers. As we have already discussed when it comes to larger businesses the requirements grow and there are a large number of factors that needs to be taken into consideration and fulfilled while designing a website. For instance if you are a huge E-commerce website doing business at an international level, your needs are big and there are a lot of requirements that needs to be fulfilled.
Components like managing the product inventory, the design aspect that should be impressive enough to draw customers, secure payment gateways, server maintenance, content, and all the important aspects of designing and programming needs to be implemented which is possible only with support from an efficient team that can take care of all these services.
When it comes to freelancers, they will find it really difficult to manage or develop such a project within the specified time-frame due to lack of resources and expertise in each of the varying domains. But, sites for individual consultants or similar businesses, do not need a lot of unique features or consideration of the current market trends, so a freelancer might be able to meet their requirements in a particular genre while still the remaining aspects cannot be managed with ease.
So, in this case, we can conclude that a web development agency can meet all the three major aspects of your business while freelancers might struggle with the burden of fulfilling these requirements.
#2. Communication Effectiveness
At each stage of the development process, you need someone who will communicate with you the status and also the further requirements while requesting your valuable suggestions. When it comes to a web design/ development agency, they have a huge team of people operating across the various sectors of a single website and there are no chances of delay or miscommunication.
The project coordinator or the client communications manager will update you with the project process and the current status at regular intervals. Also you can put in your feedback and ask for their suggestions, these coordinators have sound knowledge of the project flow and are experts at the software engineering life cycle, also they can forward your queries to the respective team members or connect you to these people as and when required for delivering high-quality results and this ensures that there is no misinterpretation of the information that is being communicated.
Also, these companies have real-time software updaters that will provide you with the timely updates on the current status and the current phase of your project in the development cycle.
When it comes to a freelancer, the communication part is really weak. Each of the segments of the project is with different individuals and there might not be a communication between these people. There exists a communication gap that cannot be bridged and you will not be updated with information at regular intervals and though you might take efforts to contact the freelancers the response is often feeble. And you are left in the dark with either little or no information on what is happening with your project and the current status and also it is very difficult to incorporate your suggestions and changes in a project once the end product is delivered.
Again, we can conclude that only a web development company can take care of your requirements and provide you with all that you need within the specified time frame.
#3. Time & efficiency
A web development agency has all the necessary resources with them and can act as per your requirements. If your business needs a specific set of requirements, and if their current resources are not-so-proficient at these skills, they will hire someone who is an expert so that it will keep up the standards and quality of their organization because this is something that can really affect their reputation.
If they find that the project might experience a time lapse, they will employ more experts on the same project to ensure the quality and efficiency and the delivery of the end-product happen within the estimated time. In the case of an emergency, they can help you out providing support and training to your staff to gain expertise for handling the website functionalities with ease.
When it comes to a freelancer, initially they might seem to be comfortable with the specified time frame for delivering the end product. But these people have limited resources and they might be working on multiple projects at the same time which can affect the efficiency of your projects and undoubtedly, some of your business requirements will be left out which is again a problem.
The next problem arises when there arises an emergency and you need your project to be completed earlier than the expected time. There are all chances that they abandon the project or complete it without any efficiency.
Here, again we reach the point where we realize web development agencies can ensure a high level of efficiency than the freelancers can.
#4. Extended customer support & long-term commitment
A well-furnished customer support is always an inseparable part of any web development agency. Their focus is to ensure customer satisfaction and reliability and so they have their customer support team that offers an extended support and is ready to provide you with solutions for all your concerns and queries and usually these is an added service that most agencies provide either free of cost or charge a few dollars. The maintenance team will provide you with a clear idea of the technical functionalities and how the internal activities proceed across.
When it comes to a freelancer, the support that they provide might be very weak as they cannot handle their projects at hand and act as customer support simultaneously. You will be left in the dark after a few days with minimal knowledge on how to carry out your business activities.
This means it will be a brilliant idea to approach a web development agency rather than hiring a freelancer.
#5. Post-launch & deployment support
Most of the web development agencies are into providing incentives for availing their services post-launch & deployment phase. There arise certain issues that need to be taken care of post the project delivery process. Some of these issues might be critical and it is difficult for a non-technical person to diagnose and fix these.
Also, the online industry is updating on a daily basis and this changes needs to be implemented as part of your project so that your brand does not lose visibility in the rat race. These agencies usually incorporate all these solutions in the service package that they offer you with discounts.
When it comes to freelancers, actually you don’t see them after the project has been delivered. The end product might be quite interesting but how do you work out the functionality that is too complicated and requires technical expertise when you have none. Who will you approach? Again it is a waste of time and resources to hire a new person who is a stranger to the entire process.
This again shows it is best to depend on a web development agency.
This is the key aspect of any business across any industry domain. A web development agency has a lot of experience and their expertise has been derived from serving various clients with different solutions. This helps them to apply innovative, creative and the most modern trends to customize business specific requirements.
The goal is satisfying the end-users, that is your clients. They are aware of the trick that will suffice their requirements from all aspects of design, coding, functionality, SEO, social media promotion, content, device compatibility and more.
When it comes to freelancers, they do not have a wide expertise or experience of working on a large number of projects. Also, almost all their projects are similar and they have minimal knowledge of operating across various industry domains or to utilize different tools to provide a great user experience. They do not know how to customize the product for a great end-user experience.
This again helps us to conclude our discussion to choosing web development agencies over freelancers for a variety of reasons though the price of hiring a freelancer might cost you a little lesser than a web development agency.
How did you build your website? Have you ever tried freelancers to build your website? How effective were the services? Share your thoughts and comments with us….Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community