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For many businesses, when they decide to build a new website, their first step is to look for a web developer. On its face, this seems like the most reasonable course of action. They typically hire professionals for other internal projects, such as HR, accounting, and marketing, why not hire a full-time web developer, too? Or, if not full time, why not a contractor on a per-project basis?
WordPress developers are a skilled workforce who can command high hourly rates and impressive salaries. There’s a good reason for this. The knowledge and experience required to code high-level functionality or to implement a custom design are nothing to scoff at. But if you want the best website your money can buy, you’re looking in the wrong place.
This is because, when you see a truly top-quality website, you’re almost never seeing something built by a single person. Instead, it is the product of a team of people who have brought a diverse skillset to bear on that project. The best developer in the world can’t deliver what that team can do—often for a comparable cost. So before you spend any more time on a unicorn hunt for an impossible web developer, take a closer look at what an agency can offer instead.
For any WordPress developer, some level of cross-disciplinary awareness should be a key requirement. At the very least, they should understand the core principles of UX, and know how to implement them across a user-friendly interface.
But knowing the basics isn’t the same as being an expert, and there are only so many areas in which a single person can gain expertise. Take design, for instance: do you expect your developer to design your site as well as develop it? Or is your website being designed in-house by a staff member whose focus is in print and who doesn’t understand the specific requirements of Michigan web design?
Read our post: Unpopular Opinion: Your Print Design Skills Do Not Transfer to Web
And all this is before we get into brand strategy, SEO, or the marketing tools you’ll want to have in place on your website to help it achieve its fullest potential.
The hiring process for any well-qualified position can be long and grueling, as anyone in HR knows. So after going through that process, finding the right person, and bringing them on board, what do you do if that person leaves your company?
Hiring a web developer is like putting all your eggs in one basket. They may have plans to stay with your company for years, but those plans could be upended by life events. And if they move on, they take with them all the training they acquired at your company, as well their inside understanding of how your website works.
Of course, you could part ways with your web agency as well. But, if you’ve done your ground work and vetted your company well, it’s more likely this will be a longer and more stable relationship.
That’s because there are multiple people at the agency helping it to stay afloat. And if one of those people decides to move on, it will be the agency’s responsibility to find their replacement—not yours. Even if that does happen, there will still be several people on staff who are familiar with the history of your website, so you’ll be able to trust that you remain in good hands.
Your web developer only has a finite number of hours in the day. But web projects are highly variable in their urgency and the number of hours required to fulfill them. If you hire a developer full time, they may have excess down time for some portion of the year, but then be overwhelmed with tasks for the rest. And if you’re working with a contractor, your project may have to wait its turn while they finish off projects for other clients.
Of course, your agency will have other clients, too, but unlike a contractor, they will have the staff they need to accommodate these fluctuations in demand. Instead of facing delays while your developer scrambles to push through your project, you have a staff that can quickly scale to meet your extra needs.
Your website isn’t just an online business card—it’s a dynamic engagement tool you can use to reach customers, clients, volunteers, donors, and audiences from all around the world. Even small, local businesses need to think strategically about their websites to get the most out of their investment.
Some developers have great strategic sense, but it’s not one they’ve necessarily had to develop to advance in their career. And even those who have learned some business strategy in one sector may not be able to translate it over to your business. The web strategies that work well for an ecommerce site don’t necessarily transfer to a membership-based non-profit.
Read our post: Does Your Business Need a Multichannel Marketing Strategy?
A WordPress agency, on the other hand, will have had success developing a solid strategy for a range of businesses, including ones very similar to your own. And that experience will accumulate at a rapid rate, as they continue to do more projects over the years.
Marketing may not be top of mind when you look for a WordPress developer, but it should be. Even if you have an in-house marketing department, unless that staff has expertise with online marketing—including content creation, SEO, marketing automation, and digital advertising—you could be turning over to them a website they don’t know how to use.
As a WordPress agency, we understand that web design, development, and marketing are intertwined. The strategies that power one are integral to the success of the other. By designing a site that is purpose-built to power your digital marketing, your investment will pay for itself faster than you think.
Remember when we said earlier that a good WordPress developer can pull a comfortable income for their services? We’re not kidding. Web developer salaries are typically between 80–100K for a qualified professional, and their hourly rates are usually $100+.
Meanwhile, our websites range from 20K–80K+, and our hourly rate is $150. Even your most complex site combined with our complete marketing package is unlikely to exceed the annual salary of a full-time developer, and that’s before you calculate benefits.
We’re not against WordPress developers—in fact, we’ve hired some of the best. But our developers, like our marketers and designers, know their limits. And we all know that we work best in a team, where our colleagues have our backs and each of us can make the other’s work shine.
If you want the top-level development chops required for a custom dev project, the design sensibility to create a website that looks as good as it functions, the quality control to ensure everything works as intended, and the marketing savvy to bring in enough ROI to impress anyone, you’re not looking for a developer at all.
You’re looking for an agency.
You’re looking for us.