The “lone wolf” has become something of a trope in American culture, but the cowboy alone on the range is a myth. Wolves move in packs, and cowboys mostly did, too. The same logic should apply if you’re debating between hiring a website development company or a freelancer to build your web site.
The decision comes down to this: there’s strength in numbers.
1. Faster Turnaround Times
If price is your only consideration, then hiring a freelance web developer can makes sense. You might save some money upfront, but be prepared to wait…and wait…and wait for the freelancer to turn around your project. Why? Because the life of a freelancer often means saying yes to many projects at once.
Saying yes to everything will get an individual in the weeds very quickly. Even a talented freelancer has to juggle many balls at once, shifting between the demands of finishing a project while bidding on others, in addition to handling customer service, accounting, and trouble-shooting. Things can spin out of control when you’re on your own.
A website development company will give you realistic deliverables that won’t leave you hanging because an agile and well-trained team is in place to ensure that commitments are met in a timely manner. Unexpected delays in the rollout of a website, especially in e-commerce or B2C, is a hit to the bottom-line. The money you think you’re saving with a freelance web developer will go up in smoke.
2. Project Management
One major reason why a web development company can meet deadlines is because a project manager will shepherd the work from start to finish. An overextended freelancer can’t devote resources to project management. A lone wolf can only do so much in a day’s work.
If you go with a website development company, they will probably use a project management tool like Teamwork Projects or Jira, and the advantage there is that you can follow along, task by task, and see what comes next. You can even offer your own input and be involved in key decisions.
Tools like Trello allows for comments to be added to its lists while employing AI to automate crucial organizational components of a project. You can literally watch how a team of designers and developers work together on your own vision. You’ll know exactly where the project stands, with no vague assurances of a completion date. There’s no guesswork, and you can get updated in real-time.
The proof is in the pudding. A website has to work as intended, meaning it has to load fast and its design features must operate across all devices and browsers. The only way that you can get reliable quality assurance is through a rigorous regime of testing.
Freelancers face enormous pressure to finish a project, often because they’ve already fallen behind and they’re constantly trying to play catch-up. QA and testing require a time commitment that freelancer web developers don’t have since they’re constantly scrambling to finish so that they can move on to the next project that’s behind schedule.
A website development company like Reliable will have a team dedicated to quality assurance and testing. This strength-in-numbers approach eliminates the inevitable troubleshooting between you and your freelancer that can devour precious days and weeks (and even months). Nothing will get delivered that hasn’t been tested and re-tested, debugged, and perfected. You’ll be in the loop the entire time as well, kept up to speed by a project manager.
4. Front and Back
When it comes to coding, often freelance web developers occupy a specialized niche. They know one way of doing something and pretty much do it this way over and over again. But today’s page-building landscape requires a premium on flexibility, the ability to allow you access to make changes on the front-end while maintaining design integrity on the back-end.
These are two very different coding environments. Most clients will want to be able to update a web page without earning a Computer Science degree. A website development company can make this happen through expert front-end coding in HTML/CSS and back-end custom WordPress theme development using Advanced Custom Fields, which gives clients the ability to easily make changes and updates to their website.
Chances are that a freelancer can’t deliver the coding acumen demanded for optimization at both ends.
5.Putting Heads Together
In the domain of website development, experts matter. Mentoring, training, and professional development all help designers and coders become better at what they do. Freelancers often don’t have the luxury or time to attend seminars on the latest advances in the industry, nor do they have co-workers in-house to bounce ideas off of, problem-solve with, or just soak ideas from. A solo freelancer basically faces every step of a project alone, with no one there for support. Scanning the internet for a blog post for a quick JS fix isn’t the same thing as meeting with your colleagues to discuss the technical issues related to a project.
A website development company will be staffed with experienced and highly trained experts in both design and coding. Even Albert Einstein had to talk to colleagues about his ideas. Most great endeavors are produced through creative collaboration, not individual geniuses working alone. The exception doesn’t prove the rule. There are precious few would-be Leonardo da Vincis advertising on Guru or Github.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t freelancers with impressive portfolios. No doubt they exist. But to maximize the user experience you envisioned for your website, you need a team of professionals to build the user interface.