Here’s why you should create your website with a web development agency and not a solo entrepreneur
Why you should create your website with a web development agency and not a solo entrepreneur
So I’ve got an idea I want to get off the ground, and I need a website, but I’m not sure who to work with. A web development agency? A solo entrepreneur? How do they compare?
At the start of a website project, you have choices about not only which company to work with, but also what kind of company to work with. One important distinction that you’ll want to consider is whether you want to work with a solo entrepreneur or if you’d like to work with a bigger agency that can put a team to work on your website.
The Solo Entrepreneur
The market is flush with solo entrepreneurs who offer full service development and design. Many solo entrepreneurs are brilliant developers or accomplished designers and they realize that they can lead a simpler life if they don’t work for a larger agency. They may offer great prices and their work may be high caliber. But, as we’ll show later, usually a great developer and a great designer are not the same person.
The Web Development Agency
A web development agency is a larger company with a team of people working at different roles. Usually, a web development agency has a number of designers and developers on staff who are used to collaborating on projects. Working with an agency may be more expensive, but agencies offer important benefits as well. For instance, at an agency you separate out the design process from the development process, and you have two different teams working on these discrete tasks.
Do I want a developer to design my website?
Approaching a solo entrepreneur can result in a great website, but usually it results in a website that is either well-designed OR well-developed. That’s because most people don’t understand the distinction between these two tasks and go with the solo entrepreneur who offers the lowest price while seeming confident and competent.
But web development and web design are vastly different fields. And they require different skills. For this reason, most people who are good at development are not good at design, and vice versa. In fact, having at least two different people working on your web site often results in a much better site.
The Benefits of Specialization
A web development agency worth its salt has separate, dedicated departments for each of these skills, whereas a solo entrepreneur does both.
Because there are a lot of misconceptions about the differences between design and development, let’s take a look at just how different these departments are:
Web Design covers everything having to do with the visual aesthetics and accessibility of a website, broadly broken down into what’s known as UI (user interface) – functional design, analytics, data, user flow, and UX (user experience) – color, layout, responsive elements, and visual appeal. It’s more about how the user experiences the website and less about the coding mechanics behind the scenes. Some essential elements of web design are:
- Visual design – color scheme, typography and visual elements
- Layout – including navigation design and text design
- Branding – all logos and other branding material
- Mobile design – appearance and usability on mobile devices
Web Development, on the other hand, is less about what the user experiences on their screen or mobile device, and more about what’s going on behind the scenes to make your website operative, stable and running smoothly. It can be broadly broken down into
- front-end (or client-side) – code which determines how the website will actually display what the designer has in mind,
- back-end (or server-side) – code which communicates the database information to the browser.
Of these two sides, it’s the front-end that has the most overlap with the job of the web designer. Web development is associated with such languages and techniques as:
- CSS preprocessors (i.e., LESS or Sass)
- Frameworks (i.e., AngularJS, ReactJS, Ember)
- Git and GitHub
These are very different skills. In general, you can think about web design as a more creative, intuitive skill, and web development as something more technical and left-brained.
Ok, I get that now, but honestly I don’t really care. I just want my professional-grade website up and running as quickly as possible. It seems like a solo entrepreneur would be more efficient considering that he/she does both, no?
Having the different skills of both design and development in one person certainly sounds appealing, but it is usually too good to be true. There are very compelling reasons why you would want to have a team working on the site, rather than a single person. Henry Ford, when he developed the assembly line, realized that workers could be better at discrete tasks in which they develop expertise, rather than building the whole car. The same logic applies to a website, which benefits from having different people (or teams) work on different aspects of the finished product.
Here’s why you should work with a development agency instead of a solo entrepreneur:
A design and development agency, by sheer virtue of its size, will have more skill sets to draw on than any one solo entrepreneur ever could. With access to the vast range of resources that only a larger agency can provide, your website will be of a higher caliber.
Larger agencies employ a range of professionals who excel in their respective departments, each one a passionate specialist. Assigning people with different areas of expertise to a project maximizes not only efficiency, but vision and cutting-edge results. Your solo entrepreneur by contrast might be passionate about graphic design, lukewarm on wireframes, and capable but far from the best on HTML – a jack of all trades and master of none. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want the person that builds the roads to fix your car. Specialization is generally a good thing!
3. Project Management
The advantages of the size, resources and specialization reach their full potential with competent and pro-active project management, which combines all of these specializations into a singular, focused team effort. If web development is the left hand and web design is the right, then a project management team is the head, facilitating open communication between different specialists and clients to make sure your website looks great, functions properly, and brings the vision of your dream business to life!