1. Specialist vs. General Practice. Would you go to a general physician who has a lot of knowledge in many areas of medicine when when you know you’re having a heart attack and need a heart surgeon? A company that focuses on web design does one thing well and chooses to focus its efforts on building you a great website. A full service ad agency has numerous employees that do a variety of tasks, but they may not specialize in web design, meaning in many cases you’ll get a mediocre website.
  2. No Middle Man. In many cases, agencies outsource their development to others, meaning you’re paying a middle man who basically just marks up the work someone else is doing. Outsourced developers will never care for your website as much as the one-on-one developer you can call directly and knows you by name. That person will more often make sure the job is done right and will be easier to get help from in the long run when help and updates are needed.
  3. Price. You expect to pay more for a specialist than you pay your family doctor, but that’s not the case with a web designer vs. a full service ad agency. Agencies have high overhead. When all you need is a website, you’re paying for a large staff including the business owner, an office manager, a sales team, project managers, front end web designers, back end web designers, graphic designers, bookkeepers, and accountants. Ad agencies charge higher prices to cover their high overhead, and because they have the prestige of many high-paying clients. Choose an experienced, established web designer who works with an independent graphic designer to get a website that won’t break your budget.
  4. Approachability. The primary focus of many full service ad agencies is on getting high paying clients. Small business owners who simply need a website are often upsold on services they don’t need or want. Many agencies won’t take small business website projects unless they can convince you to pay top dollar for the project. They may give you a deal on a website hoping you’ll use them down the road when you have other advertising needs they can meet. When you decide to go with other sources for services they provide, they consider you to be a disloyal client. When you need updates on your website, don’t expect a quick turn-around.
  5. Friendly Focused Attention. When you work with an agency, you’ll normally speak first with a sales person or the business owner, who will pass your project on to a project manager, who then instructs the designer and developer how to work on your project. When you want changes in direction or content, you must contact the project manager who then has to relay your changes to the owner or manager for approval, then give direction to the developer. The developer may have questions or issues which he’ll give the project manager, who will relay the information to you for further clarification or approval. This is part of the reason why agencies often take months for a project completion vs. weeks for a dedicated web designer.
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