Websites are essential to your business operations as they provide company history, details about products and services, location and hours of operation, and much more. Though it’s essential to have, it can be overwhelming to choose where to start. Several options to build and maintain your website include the do-it-yourself (DIY) route with website builders, website freelancers, or an experienced website development agency (like Perfect Afternoon).
Why hiring an agency to build your website makes the most sense
Website builders are a desirable option because of the minimal costs associated with them, at a monthly rate, along with the DIY mentality. For example, Wix’s unlimited business plan costs around $23 monthly plus hosting and domain name fees. Compare that with hiring an agency.
You could shell out anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 for a not-so-complex website with a team behind them for support. Agency pricing differs depending on their reputation, experience, and past and current clients.
Given that comparison, it seems like a straightforward option: DIY website builders win. They are cost-effective upfront, and you can get a website up quickly. That’s how they pitch themselves, too. A drag-and-drop interface with hundreds of pre-built themes that you can customize sounds excellent, right? But that’s only a tiny part of the big picture.
Let’s see the bigger picture and see if DIY website builders still make sense for your business.
DIY website builders vs. web development agencies
1. The design itself
The internet is a crowded place. Your website is often the first thing your potential customers will see. DIY builders, such as Wix, have pre-built themes. You can drag and drop blocks of design and start creating your website. With pre-built themes, you can begin to look like everybody else. There are customization options available, but those are very limited. There is only so much you can change in pre-built themes if you get under the hood and tweak the code, which is also bloated and bad for SEO. That beats the whole point of DIY: it is quick and requires no coding knowledge.
When you hire an agency to build your website, the sky’s the limit. You get access to experienced developers and designers. You can customize every little detail of your website or online store and optimize it for speed and search engines. Your website immediately becomes a differentiator from your competition.
2. End-user experience
The importance of customer experience has come into sharp focus after COVID-19, as online and digital experiences play a huge role. With global restrictions, consumers have flocked online for everything. This has resulted in a change in their buying habits, and that’s here to stay. If your business cannot deliver a seamless customer experience online, customers will find another company that can.
With DIY website builders, there’s not much control over the end-user experience. That includes page load speeds, optimization across devices, and design responsiveness. When you hire an agency to build your website, you have complete control over the end-user experience.
You can even request custom plugins that elevate visitors’ experience—for example, customized AI-enabled chatbots that can handle customer queries. Or you can add a custom plugin that reduces the size of images on your website and improves page load speeds.
3. Customer support
Your website will run into troubleshooting issues, especially if you have a dynamic website with lots of content. Adding even a tiny element to an existing website can send everything knocking. Customer support is critical to fixing issues and providing customers with a seamless experience.
DIY website builders offer minimal customer support, if any. You will often have to go through troubleshooting guides to fix an issue. It can be frustrating. Some DIY builders, such as Wix, offer full-time customer support, which is expensive. You purchase dedicated customer support with Wix’s enterprise plan, an additional $500 per month from your website plan, hosting, domain name fees mentioned above, and other unplanned fees.
When you hire an agency to build your website, dedicated customer support comes with the package. Agencies can offer personalized, priority customer support to their clientele.
When you hire an agency to build your website, you get much more value than DIY website builders. What about freelance web developers as an alternative? Let’s take a look.
Freelance web developers vs. web development agencies
Freelancers need more resources and time. They will have specialized domain knowledge in specific languages, and that’s it. That poses two challenges. If you are building a particularly complex website, you will need to engage more than one freelancer. That can become a logistical nightmare and backfire on your web development process. For example, you may find a freelancer who can only handle basic on-page SEO but not the technical aspect.
Cybersecurity is another critical factor that should be discussed more often. An SSL certificate is your first line of defense against cyber attacks. With hackers getting more sophisticated, you need more than that. For example, a broken plugin on your website can expose your customers’ data. Any data breach results in a loss of consumer trust, which can harm your business’s reputation (and bottom line).
Web development agencies have more resources at their disposal. An experienced agency will also be more in sync with SEO and digital marketing trends. You can often engage the same agency for web development and digital marketing. At PA, we handle both aspects for our clients, and end-to-end services are available. You don’t have to engage with several vendors for your digital presence needs; therefore, managing your online presence becomes much more accessible.
Additionally, when you hire an agency to build your website, you get dedicated resources that make sure your website is secure against online attacks. That also answers an often-asked question — why is website maintenance necessary?
Why is website maintenance important?
Other than the all-important security factor, there are three more compelling reasons to pay an agency for website maintenance:
1. Consistent user experience
Broken links, website crashes, slow load speeds — a lot can go wrong with your website every day, and any website error costs you business. If consumers cannot log on to your website, they will not stick around. When you pay an agency for website maintenance, you ensure a consistent user experience for your visitors. Consistency in user experience translates to dollars in revenue.
2. Best-in-class hosting
Your hosting provider is one of the critical factors that determine end-user experience. You want reliable website hosting that can handle your inbound traffic. As your website grows, your agency may switch your hosting plans to their dedicated providers. All that is taken care of without losing crucial data when an agency handles website maintenance for you.
3. Content and design updates
How do you bring visitors to your website? You run marketing campaigns. Every campaign will need relevant supporting content on your website. Think dedicated landing pages, special holiday promotions, and freebies for lead generation. You will need someone to upload new content to your website and tweak your design to cater to your marketing goals. With an agency handling your website maintenance and digital marketing, all comes bundled as part of the package. You won’t need to hire any extra resources.
How much does website maintenance cost?
Our website maintenance retainer costs are based on billable hours of work completion and vary by partner. Our rates are affordable, and we recommend booking a Discovery call with our Sales team for a full scope of value we can provide. Within our retainers, we can include the services that you need to meet your goals.
Typically, a website maintenance retainer covers the following areas:
- Installing SSL certificates
- Performing tech support
- Strategizing and implementing marketing and SEO tactics
- Maintaining site updates
Additionally, based on your business needs and goals, more items, like graphic design and digital marketing, can be discussed to package all services together.
Maintain your website with Perfect Afternoon
Start your online journey on the right note. Choose Perfect Afternoon as your web development and digital marketing agency. We’ve been building websites since 1999, and we know what it takes to build a website that delights your visitors and gets your desired conversions and goals.