Is your current website outdated, underperforming, or not have the functionality that you need to hit your marketing goals? Then it’s time to create a new one.
In fact, experts recommend that you update your website design every few years to stay on top of changes in your business and the latest trends. And, it is also important to make sure that the user experience is a positive one.
Unless you have an in-house development team, you’re going to need to outsource the work.
So, who do you hire to handle such an important project?
You have two main options...Web Developers or Marketing Agencies
But, before you can determine which option is best for your web design, it is important to determine the reason for your website.
What Is your Website’s Purpose?
Different types of websites have different purposes. So, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want your website to accomplish.
Some of the most typical purposes include:
Informational - These websites tell potential customers or visitors what your business does, where it’s located, its hours, how to contact you and other basic information. They may also convey specific, helpful information to readers, such as “How to’s”, “Tips and Tricks”, “Fixes and Repairs”, guidance, support information, and instructions. These sites are fast and easy to construct and usually only involve a page or two.
Educational - These websites are often used for research and references. Examples of these types of sites include Wikipedia and WebMD. These sites tend to be very expansive and serve to act as an encyclopedia that contains information on all branches of knowledge.
Entertaining - These websites contain entertaining information for their visitors. Examples include online magazines, gossip oriented websites, celebrity news, sports coverage, movies, and humorous websites. These websites are designed to be easy to navigate, often updated in order to keep users coming back and use dynamic content, such as videos, podcasts, and slideshows.
ECommerce - These websites are designed to sell products to users. There are many important elements that go into building a successful ecommerce...fast loading speed, attractive and dynamic product pages, easy purchasing process, easy checkout process, proper payment options, and remarketing to past users.
Lead Generating - These websites are designed to simply capture personal information about potential customers. The sites incorporate a process of attracting and converting visitors and prospects who have already expressed an interest in your business into customers. They use downloadable content, landing pages and forms as part of their process.
Once you know what kind of website you need, here are some of the key differentiators between web developers and marketing agencies to help you figure out which ones work best for you.
Web developers are usually experts in web programming, and they can build a website for your business based on the specs you provide them.
They will provide you with a site that’s highly organized on the back end and fully functioning on the front end. Using a skilled developer reduces the chances of coding errors and lowers the chances of your website breaking.
However, web developers most often aren’t marketers.
Most web developers are very good at coding and building out a website, but very few have strong design skills or can create effective messaging.
That is why they will expect you to produce the content and messaging that’s going on your website. If you aren't prepared to do this, you could run into problems. Not to mention that it will make you feel like you are doing all the work.
In addition, they aren’t focused on what happens after they finish your site or whether you meet your marketing goals...that will be up to you.
What you end up with is a website that functions well, but typically, is company-centric. This is what developers see other companies do, so they assume it's industry standard.
Here are cases where you want to choose a web developer:
You work in a marketing department that already has a strategy completely built out, with content ready to go, and you just need the technical help to put it together well.
You want an informational site that is straight forward, such as Wikipedia
You need an ecommerce site or entertainment site
You don’t need strategic messaging on your site. such as ecommerce sites and entertainment sites
Most digital marketing agencies offer website design and messaging, focusing on how your website will perform after it is complete.
One of the main reasons to choose a marketing agency for your website build is that they will take the time to learn your business before working on your project.
Marketing agencies will typically partner with you to help you design a customer-centric website that drives your right message to potential clients.
They tend to look at things from a holistic perspective, spending a lot of time in the strategy and design phases to make sure all of the elements support each other and work together to support your business goals.
Rather than building a website that's all about your company, agencies are focused on messaging correct that resonates with your ideal customer. They know that this approach most often puts you ahead of competitors.
What you end up with is a website that educates prospective customers about your products or services, so they can decide if it's the right solution to their problems.
Here are cases where you want to choose a marketing agency:
You need help with your marketing strategy and want to build a website that drives real business results
The sale of your product requires some education of the client
You want to move towards being data-focused and providing customers with a great online experience
Expectations are higher than ever before for online experiences, and it's up to you to create a website that meets and exceeds of your customers. If you do this, you will succeed in gaining more customers. If you don't, you risk losing them to your competitors.
For more tips about website development, check out our related post on how to make small website changes that have a big impact.
And if you have more questions about the benefits of hiring a marketing agency, then read our article on why marketing agencies are a great fit for small businesses.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!