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When should you consider outsourcing your web design and development? 1024 683 First Move Support

When should you consider outsourcing your web design and development?

In this month’s blog we will explore the ways that agencies can increase revenue and profit by taking on more projects without overloading their existing production team. We will discuss the ways in which agencies have traditionally augmented their production throughput from growing their inhouse team to adding freelancers and outsourcing your web design as potential solutions for scaling their businesses.

Production Limitations Can Prevent Your Agency Scaling

Whether it is a simple brochure site, a sprawling ecommerce store or a completely customised online experience, there is no doubt that most modern businesses see their website as the foundation that underpins all their marketing efforts.

For most digital professionals this is not a revelation. Depending on the length of time you have been in the industry you may have been involved in the design, construction, and deployment of dozens maybe even hundreds of sites.

That said, for all the sites you have worked on; you have probably walked away from twice as many as you have built.  Maybe you were not able to schedule the job due to capacity issues or you could not take it on because it was outside the capabilities of your web team. Perhaps you considered the project as being too big or even too small to be a fit for your current workflow.

Whatever the reason, you left money on the table that could have been a valuable addition to your agency’s revenue.

Whilst there are few things in this industry that hurt more than walking away from a lucrative opportunity you should not feel too bad about it because you are not alone. Hundreds of agencies walk away from projects every day. But what if you could just say YES?

The Challenges of Herding Cats?

For many agencies, shortages of reliable talent, exorbitant recruitment costs, complex HR implications and significant increases in fixed overheads mean that onboarding permanent staff in the hope of securing more projects is not a viable option.

Because of this the practise of assembling a list of freelancers that can be bolted as needed onto a core implementation team has been standard operational procedure for agencies for decades.  This is great in theory but under closer examination it can also be a recipe for disaster.

When the industry is quiet freelancers roam the streets in droves eager to secure a job but when things start to heat up (ie when you need them most) they will become like stray cats on a football field, utterly unpredictable and impossible to pin down.

If your resource base is the thing that underwrites your ability to deliver on projects, then a chaotic system of disparate resources is not something you want to use as a foundation for your agency.

Upwork Roulette

In recent years sites like Upwork and Fiver have made it possible to access an almost infinite number of available resources at the click of a button.

If you are lucky you may find a unicorn that is the capable, intuitive designer or developer of your dreams and this may be a good short-term solution for small, very specific production requirements.

However, unless you fancy becoming the ring master to the three ringed circuses of despair known as offshore people management, assembling a team of disconnected UpWorkers and expecting cohesion and cooperation both with you and between them is pure folly.

A Tale of Two Agencies

Partnering with other agencies is another common way to overcome a production shortfall. Like any relationship the honeymoon is wonderful and exciting for both parties, but it isn’t long before those little foibles you first thought were endearing become insurmountable differences.

If you think the site of two hobos brawling over the contents of a shopping cart is a disturbing occurrence you have not seen anything until you have witnessed a disagreement between a UX lead from one agency and the Creative Director of another.

No matter what the outcome, the client almost always loses in this scenario and is oftentimes forced into a position where they become the referee, ultimately, they will have to take the side of one agency over the other. Fair or not, the outcome will not always be in your favour and could see a valuable client leaving your agency with your former partner.

White Labelling

White labelling design and development services is something that has been available to digital agencies for some time. As any agency owner that has dipped a toe into these muddy waters will tell you, experiences vary greatly from one provider to the next.

Tales abound of offshore dev teams who, having fixed a list of 20 bugs, somehow manage to create another 30 to take their place. This process is usually repeated until a point where the agency and the client fear they will never see the site completed.

It is at this juncture that the agency will often receive what is essentially a ransom demand from the offshore dev team who claim that constant “updates” on the part of the client mean that they will not release the site without the agency’s agreement to pay an additional sum.

This type of negative experience can make agency owners wary of utilising white label web design and development services but thankfully not all white label services are created equal.

The Agency Stack Difference

At Agency Stack our web design and development processes are rock solid.  We work with our agency partners to scope and document every detail of every project. We ensure that the job we scope is something that will not only deliver on your client’s requirements but exceed their expectations.

Our cross-platform expertise means that we can be platform agnostic. We can build sites in WordPress, Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento even custom PHP. We can build integrated apps for IOS and Android devices. We build on the platform that is best for the job and therefore the platform that is best for your client.

Once we have agreed on the scope we quote you a fixed price based that gives you room to add your margin and we set a development timeline that will get your client’s site live fast.

By partnering with Agency Stack, you save yourself time, energy, and expense searching for and vetting potential team members or offshore workers. We already have everything and everyone you need right here under one roof.

All you have to do is reach out to our friendly team today and we will take care of the rest.

white label website maintenance
The Stuff of Nightmares: Website Maintenance in 2021 700 415 admin

The Stuff of Nightmares: Website Maintenance in 2021

Many small to medium businesses live under the false hope that once their website is developed and ready to launch, that it will require no further effort or expense. Unfortunately for them, websites are not static things. Domains expire. Content needs revitalising. SEO is a long-term project. Viruses and service attacks are common. And the internet itself just keeps changing.

Yet onboarding your own in-house IT department may be neither practical nor desirable. In such a scenario, the overheads will just keep coming (investment in technology, office space, salaries, resources, et al) and will certainly induce a very big headache.

Thankfully, there is an easy alternative that is profit margin friendly and immediately accessible: white label website maintenance. At Agency Stack UK, we partner with your business to fill the gaps of your digital skill set and take the burden off your team to manage the complexities of website maintenance.

To drive the point home, in this blog we will list some more common website maintenance issues and the damage they can wreak on your business or company if not managed swiftly.

404 Errors

The words “Not Found” and “404 Error” are so common that they’re now listed in most online dictionaries, but for businesses they’re the stuff of nightmares. 404 Errors, also known as broken internal links, cost money – sometimes big money. Worse still, the cause of 404 Errors ranges from irritating to complex, and often require significant heavy lifting by a website builder to remedy. Mod-rewrites, .htaccess and incorrect custom URL routes are just some of the causes of broken internal links, but every minute that goes by, is a minute that costs you money. Broken internal links must be fixed quickly and expertly (as to not create additional problems).

Browser Incompatibility

New browser versions, and sometimes even entirely new browsers, come online frequently, but websites don’t automatically adjust to new browser requirements. As frustrating as this may sound, your website needs to be constantly upgraded to remain up to date, not least because an incompatible browser is a security risk to would-be shoppers.

Server Crashes

Even in the best of circumstances your website server (where it’s stored) can crash, effectively taking your website offline and all potential sales along with it. Worse still, servers can crash at the most inconvenient times, disrupting your website continuity in the middle of the night, while you’re on holidays, or in the middle of an important retail event. However, hiring a security team to handle server crashes at any time of day is needlessly costly, when a whitelabel service will provide the same function just as effectively.

Service Attacks

More commonly referred to as “being hacked”, service attacks are complicated situations that arise from an external threat breaking into your site. Far from just being pranks by bored kids, hacking attempts can be sophisticated break-ins by a technologically sophisticated opponent. Simplistically, service attacks can escalate from bad to worse extremely quickly, and not only can hackers disrupt your website, but they can also go after your customer’s private information while they’re at it. Service attacks can single handily erode your customers trust in your website, fleece your business of unthinkable amounts of money, and disrupt the entire future of your business. However, the best way to defend your website against service attacks is surprisingly ordinary: by whitelabelling an expert web maintenance team, you can ensure you have someone keeping an eye on your website at all times.

Say Goodbye to Website Maintenance Hell

Agency Stack is your “business partners on demand”. We exist to manage your website maintenance and all services across digital marketing, so you don’t have to. Contact us today for assistance.