As an author or small business owner, you have a lot of options when it comes to commissioning your website. There are seemingly infinite possibilities, even taking into account your budget and what you want your site to do. It can be overwhelming to contemplate, especially if you’re starting from scratch, so we’ve composed a handy guide for you. Yes, there are lots of designers out there, but must of them can usually be lumped into three categories.
Some Person Your Friend Knows (Who’s Really Good!)
We’re not being facetious—we’ve known plenty of people who have gotten great sites out of “some person your friend/family member knows who’s really good.” Web design is something people can do on the side, as an extra way to bring in cash while gaining experience in the field. Just because someone doesn’t work for a studio of any kind doesn’t mean they don’t have the chops to make you the site you want. And, to be fair, most designers were “some person someone’s friend knows” at one point.
The big advantage to using this type of designer is usually cost. Sites designed by these kinds of designers are usually less expensive than what you’ll pay at a freelancer, small studio, or agency. For some authors and small business owners—ones without a lot of cash to throw around—this can seem like a good deal. The thing is, often times these types of designers don’t have the latest software, nor do they keep abreast of the latest advances in site design. They don’t rely on being the best because this is a side job for them. Also, they might not have anything in their contract about ongoing support. If their job changes, or they don’t feel like dealing with every little problem, once your site is online they might just… disappear.
Digital Marketing Agencies
There are many advantages of working with an agency. You won’t be working with just one designer, you’ll have a whole team working just for you. That means you’ll have the most possible minds working on your particular problem, plus specialists when it comes to every angle—coding, design, etc. You’ll likely work with an account manager who will deal with you directly, explaining every step of the process—which can be really nice if you’re not the most technologically fluent person.
The big disadvantage of going with an agency is cost. Usually, these websites are very expensive (and if they’re not, you’re likely getting an off-the-rack site with a few bells and whistles tacked on, which is less than ideal). After all, if you’re working with a team, that team has to get paid. So does your account manager. And if they’re in an office, part of the overhead will be rent, office equipment, and so forth. Agencies deliver beautiful sites, but if you’re working on a budget, they might not be able to deliver everything you want at a price you can afford.
Freelance Designers and Small Studios
There are a lot of advantages to having your site designed by a legitimate freelance designer or small studio like Clockpunk Studios. Both of these types of designers don’t have as much overhead as agencies, and small studios in particular tend to be more reliable (especially in the long term) than some random person who designed your cousin a really kick-ass website for his dubstep band.
Freelance designers and small studios like Clockpunk Studios stay current with the latest tricks of the trade when it comes to designing elegant, useful websites with robust SEO technology and easy-to-use back-ends. We have to! It’s in our (and your) best interest. We also price our sites competitively, as we’re competing with everyone, including that one guy your cousin knows, and the big agencies out there.
Another advantage to a small studio like Clockpunk is support. You’ll always deal directly with us when something goes wrong—not an account manager, not some robot on the phone. Not Facebook messenger when that guy your cousin knows stops answering his phone. And if you don’t want to call us each time you need an update or a fix, you can sign up for our Clockpunk Studios Care Package. We’ve designed it to be every bit as good as (if not better than) what you’d get at an agency.
Even better, when you sign up with a small studio like Clockpunk Studios, you’ll get an intimate working relationship—but not a limiting one. As a small studio we can outsource design elements whenever our clients want something we know we can’t provide. We know our strengths but we also have long-standing working relationships with other freelance designers. We’ll get you what you want without the hassle (and cost) of a big agency, is what we’re saying.
Finally, we’re specialists. Our clients are primarily authors and small business owners, so chances are, we know what you’re looking for, and we’re already working on solutions.