You probably need a new website if the one you're currently using is outdated, underperforming, or doesn’t have the functionality you need to hit your marketing goals. In fact, experts recommend that you update your site every few years to stay on top of the latest trends and keep up with user expectations.
And unless you have an in-house development team with nearly unlimited resources, you’re going to need to outsource the work. But who do you hire to handle such an important project? You have two main options:
- Web developers
- Marketing companies
We've listed out some of the key differentiators that you should consider as you’re weighing the pros and cons of your website development options:
Web developers are experts in coding 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. Having a skilled developer work on your website reduces the chances of coding errors, and thus, lowers the chances of your website breaking. However, web developers aren’t always marketers.
They are extremely good at coding and actually building out the website, but don't always have strong skills on the design and messaging side.
Most of the time, a web development company will expect you to produce all of the content that’s going on the website prior to the build. If you aren't prepared to do this, you could run into problems.
Web developers can tell you if a web design component is going to break the website, but they may not be able to provide you with a consultation about what’s going to work for your audience and help you reach your marketing goals.
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.
- Do choose a web developer if You work in a large 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.
- Don’t choose a web developer if You work on a smaller marketing team that needs more help and guidance with the strategy behind the site, as well as the technical coding and development side.
Most marketing agencies still offer traditional messaging and promotion, but now are also experts in the digital realm, and offer full-service marketing, from website build-outs to online distribution and content strategies.
One of the main reasons to choose a marketing agency for your website built is that it will take the time to learn your business before working on your project.
Marketing companies partner with you and help you design a customer-centric website that drives your 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 (which can hurt your results), agencies are focused on getting the messaging correct because they know that this approach puts you ahead of competitors. You'll end up with a website based on inbound marketing that educates prospective customers about your products or services, so they can decide if it's the right solution to their problems.
- Do choose a marketing agency if You want to build a website that supports your marketing strategy and drives real business results. This is the right choice if you want to move towards being data-focused and providing customers with a great online experience.
- Don’t choose a marketing company if You don’t care about the strategy side of your website and prefer a brochure website that’s strictly built to spec.
Expectations are higher than ever before for online experiences, and it's up to you to create a website that meets and exceeds them. If you succeed in this, you'll gain more customers. If you don't, you risk losing them to 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 this blog 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!