By Simeon Shinkfield, 18 May 2015
Faced with the challenge of building or developing a new website, medium-sized businesses often reach a fork in the road: Should they work with internal resources or outsource the job?
Admittedly, I am writing this article with bias, as I work in a digital agency as a producer of projects for the web, but please read on if you are interested in a number of reasons as to why I believe that outsourcing this work to a competent digital agency has significant benefits.
1. You are engaging experts.
Digital agencies strategise for the web and build sites all the time. They are able to efficiently roll out both simple and complex ideas. I remember the first time I built a computer. I thought it would be quite a simple process: work out my list of parts, buy them, plug them together and I’m done. But as I got into the process, I realised there were a lot of ‘small’ bits of information I needed along the way. Yes, I succeeded in the end, but it took a lot longer than I anticipated. I needed to find out details on how to install the CPU heatsink properly, I had to work out how to configure the bios to recognise the hard-drives, etc, etc. I could have outsourced the job for $150, but instead I spent days working my way through the small challenges from purchasing components to assembly to installing the operating system. Often businesses approach web development in the same way. They assign a staff member (or two) to build a website. It may be more effective to engage a digital agency for their efficiency, expert knowledge and experience in an ever-developing field.
2. Your site will probably look better.
Most medium-sized businesses don’t have a dedicated graphics department, let alone a designer who is experienced in web design. With the added challenge of displays on smartphones, tablets and other devices, a designer should constantly be thinking laterally about the way a website will translate in a ‘responsive’ manner. How will the design scale to a screen size? Will the design shift to a different layout for certain devices? How will these translations of the design affect the user experience? A digital agency contains this expertise.
3. Your site will probably function better.
More than ever, user experience (UX) is a make or break factor in a website’s success. Good digital agencies are on the cutting edge of online communication and experience. They are designing for quick, clear audience connection. They are designing for ease of use. They are designing for click-through results. Does your business team have an expert in this area?
4. You will probably end up with more traffic… more valuable traffic… more business.
Competent digital agencies will help you structure your website in the most effective way to engage your audience and be refined and friendly for search engines like Google. In the competitive digital space, your website needs to be optimised for good results with search engines. You want more arrivals of the right traffic. Your website also needs to be ready to ‘receive’ your traffic. On arrival, your audience needs to get what they want quickly. Frustrated users leave websites. A digital agency should be designing your site for top results in these areas.
5. You will have an ongoing partnership for development and support.
A good digital agency wants your business to succeed. Your success is theirs. If you see good return for your digital investment, you are likely to keep investing into the future. A good digital agency wants to grow with you!
6. You will save money.
A lot of medium sized businesses fail to value the time investment of their staff in building a website. If a staff member spends weeks (sometimes months) of time building a website, this is a significant financial investment. The project could also distract them from other core business activities. Once up and running, if the website isn’t set up well (for example, with an easy to use content management system) it may then require further significant time to maintain and keep the content up-to-date.
More than ever, information technology is changing at an incredible rate. It can be hard to keep up and stay relevant. To have a great digital presence through your website requires specialist knowledge and energy. (This is not surprising in a world where professions are becoming continually more specialised). From my biased perspective, I think engaging a Digital Agency (such as the one I work for - smile) offers small to medium businesses many advantages over trying to build a solution ‘in house’. Would you get your staff to do the much needed workplace toilet renovation? I believe a similar approach should be taken in building a website. How much more important is the marketing tool that for many will be the first impression they get of your business. Use a competent Digital Agency. They are professionals.
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