Traditional website development companies vs managed website development services: which is better?

By October 16, 2015Blog

So you are thinking about a new website for your business.

Best webdesign company

Hey, I’m Codey!

There’s no doubt that it can be tough to choose the right company to work with to develop and design your website for you, and that’s why I’m here. It’s my job here at mediachimps to help you understand more about website development.

Only a few years ago it used to be that you had one main option and that was to hire a website company, pay a one off fee and be on your way. Sometimes having to hire a graphic design then a developer too. But now there are literally hundreds of options available to you.

The difference between traditional website development companies and managed website development service companies is an important question and one that keeps cropping up. And quite rightly so, if you don’t know anything about website companies, then you’ll want to know a bit about each of these services before you make any decisions.

Here’s the short version

  • A traditional website development company will perform a one off job or project and design, develop and launch a website for you.
  • A managed website development company will do exactly the same, but also look after your website for you on an on-going basis, so you don’t ever have to worry about it.

One is like buying a website without any insurance or aftercare. The other includes aftercare, so if anything does go wrong with your website or anything needs to be changed/added/altered, you are covered! Phew, at least we have got the major difference out the way, but there’s more….

Before you make any big decisions, let’s dig a bit deeper and look at how websites have changed and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of service. Sounds like a win win for everyone – go Codey!

The current and future state of website development

It used to be that websites were something that you just needed to have. Most businesses would hire a company, get the website launched, and then never really think about it again. In most cases the website would remain the same for years.

Times have changed, and it’s safe to say that the old ways are not coming back. There are a few big reasons why websites are changing for everyone including the end user/consumer, businesses and the website development companies.

A website is now viewed as a developing platform. Websites have become a significant part of marketing and communications and they need to be able to change and adapt as your business grows and as technology develops.

In short, websites have become one the most important pillars in marketing, and has become a massively important platform for communication in the 21st century.

So it’s only natural that as technology, marketing and business adapts, that so too will website development services.

These are the facts, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

What is impacting the change in website development?

Expectations have changed dramatically

Firstly, the expectations from business owners has changed.

There is now a whole host of options available to business owners.

You can build a website a low cost and manage everything yourself, right through to having a completely hands off approach and have company manage the whole thing for you. You can build a website using cloud based software and you can essentially build a website for free if you wanted to.

The options have changed dramatically in a very short period of time.

Most business owners are looking for a solution somewhere in the middle – they need professional website develop support, but would like to have the ability to update elements of their website themselves.

People are now well aware of applications like content management systems and other applications that make it easy to update content and change elements of websites.

Businesses want to be able to change their websites as their business develops, it’s what people expect. But they don’t expect to pay £100s every time a new page is required.

Secondly, all of these developments are really being led by the changes in consumer behaviour. Consumers, whether looking for B2C or B2B type products and services, expect a great online experience. They have a low attention span and they want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

The visitors to your website expect things to be in familiar places and they are now more likely to judge you online before they judge you offline.

Therefore, as a business owner, you need to understand that your website is no longer being judged against your competitors, but against the best online experience your customers has ever had.

In summary, expectations are growing daily, technology is changing rapidly, and therefore we need to consider how this impacts website development services.

Traditional website development services vs managed website development services – which is better?

Let’s compare two of the main services you have as options.

We are going to look at:

  • The general approach to website development
  • The pricing model

The general approach to website development

A traditional website development company is typically product and project focussed. In that your website has to be completed by a certain time for launch and delivery. The product is your website, and once complete, the work is done. “So long!” I hear you say. Well, it is a bit like that, once your website is completed, the transaction is done, and it’s Au Revoir, Adios and Arrivederci all rolled into one.

It’s worth keeping in mind that these more traditional companies are not typically set up for ongoing support managed services, but project based work.

If you need something changed, updated, moved, or any additional support, this is arranged on an ad-hoc basis. This kind of support is also very reactive, in that you are the one that has to request the changes to be made.

Not hugely helpful when you consider what what have already discussed.

All that being said, there is still a place for the traditional website company model, although we don’t know how long for.

Now let’s take a look at the approach for a managed website development service and see how that compares.

A managed website development service company has completely different philosophy. They want to build and develop a long term relationship so that as your business develops, they can support your most important asset – your website.

Your elected managed service provider will be there to hold your hand the whole way through, so if any changes, amendments or anything at all goes wrong, they will sort it out for you. Leaving you to get on with running your business and doing what you do best.

With a managed service you will have peace of mind that your website is regularly checked and if anything does happen out the ordinary your managed services team will be on it before you even know about it.

The pricing models

The short answer here is that both models are completely different when it comes to pricing and costs. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.

Traditional website development pricing model

  • One-off cost – Typically £1000s. This can be a big problem for cash flow, which if not managed correctly can be the death of your business
  • Unknown ongoing costs – Due to the reactive nature of traditional website companies you cannot predict the ongoing costs for support for your website.
  • Annual renewal fees – There is typically an annual fee for of hosting and domain registration

With this model it is difficult to truly understand the initial and ongoing costs of your website from the outset.

Managed website development service pricing model

  • The same monthly fee every single month – it’s clear and you know exactly where you are at all times and from the very start of the relationship
  • Your website is working for you as you pay for it month to month
  • Minimise risk the with cash flow – spreading the cost of your website over a period of months and years
  • Lower barrier to entry – the pricing model allows most businesses to get their website launched for a fraction of the cost
  • Clear additional costs – If you require additional services you simply add this on to your monthly package

With this model all the costs are clear and transparent from the outset.

So, there you have it, that’s the difference, pros and cons in a snapshot. What I’m trying to achieve here is to give you an unbiased understanding of how these two different models work. I hope this helps you make a more informed decision about which website development company to choose for your website.

If in doubt, follow my lead and take some time to chill out before you make a decision. Of course, I’m always here to answer any further questions too!

Your Turn

  1. What type of website development service do you think suits your business best?
  2. What experiences have you had with website development companies in the past?
  3. What are you main website challenges?

Let me know what’s on your mind in the comments section below.

Until next week peeps, hang tight!