There are currently well over one billion websites—that’s a lot of pages for consumers and search engines to sift through. In order to stand out from other small business websites and keep up with the demands of the modern customer, you need a professional website that checks all the boxes and ensures seamless communication and education opportunities for new customers.
It comes as no surprise that having a great website can be a make or break for small businesses. What many people don’t realize, though, is that deciding how to produce your website can be just as important. Because different businesses have different needs, an agency might be better for some, while hiring in-house might be better for others.
Read on to learn 10 key factors to consider when choosing whether to work with an agency or an in-house team when building your small business website.
The Benefits of Having an In-House Team
- You have more transparency and control. When you have an in-house team, you know exactly who’s working on which aspect of your website. You have complete control over messaging, content, and design, and can make alterations at a moment’s notice. You also have control over how you want to delegate your talent. Being able to keep tabs on the project pace and how people on the team are working together is a significant advantage. This type of transparency allows your entire business to be part of the website-building process.
- Your website might be more consistent. When you have an in-house team, you know exactly who’s working on which aspect of your website. You have complete control over messaging, content, and design, and can make alterations at a moment’s notice. You also have control over how you want to delegate your talent. Being able to keep tabs on the project pace and how people on the team are working together is a significant advantage. This type of transparency allows your entire business to be part of the website-building process.
- You can build on experience. As we mentioned, experience pays. Because your team has experience with your business messaging and branding, they’re able to build out a website that embodies the past and future goals of your business. They have insight that is hard to come by through research alone. Additionally, they can base future projects on aspects of your website. If they need to add additional pages or build other micro-sites, it will take less work because they’ve done it before. Whether you run a service center or an online store, your in-house team can easily create a user-friendly website and that context will help them keep your messaging and branding consistent in future projects.
- You can make changes faster. While an agency has a specific turnaround time, using an in-house team means that you can troubleshoot more quickly and turn on a dime without having to jump through the hoops of a formal process. And because your builders are in-house, they can keep an eye on the website over a long period of time and have more investment in its success, typically leading to better overall performance. You can also continually experiment and create pages for search engine optimization. Having your own team work on your own professional website means owning a fast-moving, continuously improving product.
- It can increase ROI. While upfront costs can be significant (depending on the size of your team), having an in-house team can have positive financial impacts long term. Ownership over your spending and in-house talent can lead to significant increases in your ROI in the long run—especially if you’re planning on any number of spin-off projects along the way.
Challenges of Using an In-House Team
Using an in-house team isn’t for everyone. Some possible challenges include the fact that your in-house team doesn’t work with other businesses and will consequently have less exposure to the variety of styles and trends than an agency might. This means less outside insights and less varied knowledge and experience to pull from. You also have to take time to hire and train team members, which takes a significant investment that doesn’t even include upfront costs. Additionally, having an in-house team means taking time away from big-picture projects to focus on website building.
The Benefits of Hiring an Agency
- It’s cheaper. When you hire an agency to build your website, you work with a team of experts. If you include insurance, training, overhead, and bonuses (and that’s just the beginning), an in-house team of nine specialists can run you over $40,000 a month. Agencies give you access to these same types of experts for much less per month, which can be a huge advantage for short-term projects and low budgets.
- You don’t have to train. One of the best parts of hiring an agency is that you can hit the ground running immediately. They’ve already trained their specialists to be some of the best website builders out there. You don’t have to familiarize them with your platform, obtain the necessary specialty certifications, or take time to learn how to work together. After an initial onboarding meeting with you, the agency does its own research specific to your business and industry.
- You can keep up with industry trends. Another advantage of working with an agency is that it gives you access to more varied marketing expertise. Because agencies perform so much preliminary research on your business, including your goals and objectives, they’re able to provide perspectives that insiders can’t necessarily give. And because they work with so many other companies, they have access to a wider variety of marketing methods, styles, technology, messaging, and experience with multiple markets. They can give you world-class advice in areas such as your custom domain and content management system.
- Your staff can focus on growing your company. When you hire an agency, you free up a significant amount of time for you and your employees. You’re able to focus on the big picture stuff—growing your business through innovation and optimization—instead of being bogged down by website-related tasks.
- You can scale quickly and easily. Finally, hiring an agency eliminates internal growing pains. As you grow and change, you won’t have to worry about how your team will scale with you. The ability to maintain consistency in your marketing despite fluctuations in your business gives you remarkable agility and allows you to meet the demands of the modern consumer and reach your target audience at any stage.
Challenges of Using an Agency
Just like using an in-house team, hiring an agency has its challenges. For example, you have less transparency and less control. Because you’re working through a third party, you can’t necessarily make changes as quickly as you can with an in-house team. Additionally, you may run into speed bumps with consistency, which comes from working with a team that doesn’t know your business inside and out like your internal team members do.
Agency vs. In-House—Which is Best for Your Needs?
All in all, it can be tough to decide who you want to build your website. In addition to the factors listed above, there are several other things you might want to consider. If you already have an in-house team, do they have the talent and resources necessary to produce the quality that you’re hoping for in a website? Even if you already have in-house talent, is website building where you want them devoting their time? Because there are always opportunity costs, it’s important to know where your resources will be most effective and impactful on your ROI.
If you’re leaning toward using an agency, consider the pricing and options that are available to you. Do they fit within your allotted budget? Do you know of agencies that produce the type of website you’re hoping to build? Do you have the bandwidth to provide the type of direction and support a successful website-building project needs?
When making this decision, take careful inventory of the talent, time, and resources that are available to you. Decide where existing in-house resources can be most effective, and get an idea of which projects would be more time and cost-effective to outsource. And as always, make shifts and course corrections as you go. With a bit of planning and experimentation, your website will soon be ready to go.
Learn how Podium can help you increase website efficiency and conversion by watching this demo.