Do you have the know-how to ask the potential freelance web designer the right questions in an interview?
For example, do you know the platform on which you want to build your site? Do you need a full-stack, front-end or back-end developer? If you are not familiar with these basic questions on the website dev aspect, you should definitely not hire a freelancer.
Instead, go with an agency that is specialized in building websites and has a team of capable developers. The team that’s asking you the questions! And those you know you can trust and have a proven track record.
Management of a Freelance Web Developer is a headache
We reject the idea that website development should be a wait-and-see process, one with intangible and missed deadlines and ever-growing budgets. However, as you will find if you go to Upwork or another freelance platform, managing a website designer is a lot like herding cats. This isn’t fun. It’s a big time suck. And it’s rarely organized.
Unfortunately, website designers have a negative rep for a reason.
First of all, they’re not always responsive (get used to a 48-hour response time at-best).
Second, Freelance website designers won’t be sorry if they miss a deadline or finish something late—always, there’s a most creative excuse. It’s a huge headache to manage this type of personality on top of your critical job of running a business.
That’s when you can go back to the agency. They’re going to take care of all this behind the scenes to save you the trouble. Or better yet, they’re going to have web developers who are the best of the best and restore good faith and name to the devs.
Freelancers don’t have back-ups, so you don’t have back-ups.
If you work with one person instead of a digital marketing agency, you run a huge risk.
What if your website goes down and you can’t reach the designer of your website? If your web developer breaks something and disappears, what are you going to do? What if they stopped suddenly during a busy sales cycle? That’s when you’re up shit’s creek.
Go with an agency that has a full staff, so you’re never left without someone to help you out.
Money: You get what you’re paying for
You get what you’re paying for, guys. It might be tempting to go with a web dev that charges half of the going rate. But you have to ask yourself, “Why are they charging less?”
You’re not supposed to go with the most expensive option, but shop around and find an affordable website designer who charges an average rate.
Freelancers are likely to have full-time jobs or other priorities
Most freelancers use web dev gigs as side hustles. Translation: you’re not the number one priority.
Or, they could squeeze your work in between the tasks at nine to five. While some website designers can handle multiple jobs, their lack of time and time management skills often create bottlenecks for your website design projects.
The result? Projects that are dragging. Websites that have not been launched for weeks past your deadlines. And a lot of stress for you.
Most websites should be closed within three months from start to finish. If you talk to a web dev who says the build will take about six to 12 months (unless you’re doing a massive, massive website where you’d need a larger team to match), run away!
Freelance Web Designers Can Go Rogue
In particular, we have a client who comes to mind when we think about this huge problem. They have invested $20,000 in a freelance website designer. This website developer vanished with their money and left them with an incomplete and non-functional site.
There are more nefarious instances where website developers hold websites hostage and continue to extort money. In both situations, the downside is clear. Going with a single human being that you never meet in person can end very, very badly.
Bottom line: hire a website design agency and, at the very least, always own your admin rights and credential! Never let a website designer build their own hosting or accounts. This is the perfect storm for a situation of turmoil.
You need to draw up your own contract
Do you have a freelance contract to protect your business? You need one of them.
While website development agencies will provide a comprehensive statement of work—including accurate deliverables and timelines for what they will deliver within your budget—freelancers will not often be that thorough. It is up to you to set the terms and to protect the budget for the development of your website and website from harm.
Web Developers Don’t Have Well Rounded Marketing Experience
Website designers are skilled in this—building business websites. They may not be well versed in the content of the SEO website, the actual aesthetic design of your website, or UX. Some devs are pure encoders, while others are rooted in graphic design and code.
If you hire a freelance website designer, you may not get the best advice on how to build or rebuild your business website.
When you work with an agency, the entire marketing team will support your website in the most strategic way possible. After investing in website design, you don’t want to have to redo your site a year or two. Start on the right foot, therefore, with the marketing professionals who see the full digital marketing picture. That’s going to set up your website for success.
They may be out of your time zone
Web designers work around the world. We’re 100% in support of that.
However, do you need to know if the in-office hours of your designer are in line with yours? This may not seem like a huge issue right now, but what if the processing of your credit card breaks at noon, but 3:00 a.m. It’s theirs? You’re going to have to wait and lose money and trust the customer until they can fix it.
Working with a web dev agency involves reliable working hours. With a team of clever designers at-the-ready, you’re never going to get stuck in a situation like this.
You are in a Hurry
Don’t ever rush into a big project like redesigning a website or building a website!
You’re going to overlook really important strategic elements and potentially make a financially crippling hiring decision. Even if your website needed a revision yesterday, or you’re eager to get going, don’t hire a freelance website designer just because you’re in a hurry.
Take the time. Put your candidates in. Determine your actual needs and priorities for the website. Planning is the foundation for building a successful website. At Witty Kitty, we’re always starting here while maintaining a quick turnaround time.