As a local web design company owner, I understand the advantages of working with a team that's part of your community. Local web designers have a nuanced understanding of your market and cultural context, ensuring that your website resonates with your target audience. There's also the convenience of similar time zones and easier communication, which can lead to more efficient project timelines and a smoother collaborative process. We pride ourselves on being readily available for our clients, providing personalized attention and quick turnarounds that larger, more distant companies may struggle to match.

However, I also recognize the potential benefits of outsourcing web design overseas. It can be a cost-effective solution, often providing access to a wider pool of talent and innovative design perspectives that may not be readily available locally. But this option is not without its challenges, such as potential language barriers, time zone differences, and a possible disconnect from the local market's specific needs and preferences. Each business must weigh these pros and cons, considering their unique requirements and the nature of their audience, to decide which approach aligns best with their vision and goals.

Local Design

The Pros:

Quick Changes and Updates

Want to update your website for a particular season or offer? Have a change you’d like to try for a certain page or function? Having a local design team, especially one that’s in your time zone, means that those changes can happen quickly. You can request regular changes and updates that are implemented on a normal basis without having to deal with different time zones.

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A local design team with consistent deadlines can help you to implement strategies as quickly as you can think of them.

Cutting Edge Tech and Marketing Expertise 

Do you spend a part of every day looking for new tools and trends that could help optimize your website? I know I do, but most business owners aren’t able to dedicate chunks of their time to website improvements. The best web designers and agencies in your market know about the latest in cutting-edge web design or effective trends in that market because that’s what they do for a living. That’s their craft.

You know the best strategies and trends for your industry, so trust experienced web designers and agencies who work within your same parameters to do the same.

Immediate Feedback

When my design agency is an email away, or available on our own Slack channel, we can deliver or receive immediate feedback on new design or content choices. When hiring an outsourced agency, they might be afraid to tell me how stupid my idea is for fear of losing me as a client, or I could spend days waiting for a reply to a simple comment.

If my local web designer can give me immediate feedback without taking a loud and anxiety-filled gulp beforehand, I know I’m getting quick and trusted input on my ideas.

Communication is Key 

Communication should be a key value for any company, but it’s especially important when trying to communicate the nuances of particular details or choices about a website. The unfortunate truth is that there’s always something lost in translation when you have to communicate through different languages, cultures, or markets. That’s not a matter of quality, it’s a matter of how much time or effort it takes to adequately communicate what you want for your website.

I worry less about communication issues if my email, voicemail, or comment adequately expresses my feedback when I know that my designer has the same area code on their phone number.

The Cons:

Higher Costs

It’s not cheap to have a website made for you, but it’s even more expensive to hire a local team to make sites for your market. Typically, even low-cost agencies in your area could be charging thousands of dollars for their services to create even a basic page.

Skilled Design Teams are Hard to Find

Finding a successful and local web design team is a costly endeavor. Do you think your market is competitive? Imagine trying to find a web design team, that’s local to your area or country, to create a website that gives you the edge against competitors you have in that same market.

You won’t be the only one looking to get an edge. You could be competing against hundreds of other companies looking for a personalized website from expert creators. If you’re not able to pay a premium price, you likely won’t find a premium design team.

Outsourced Design

The Pros:

Experience 

Experience can vary when it comes to outsourcing your work, but that can also be to your benefit. While you might want to save on costs by hiring inexperienced designers, you could also pay a lower fee for an agency with extensive international experience just because they don’t have a lot of experience in North America or wherever you operate.

An experienced agency in Asia or Europe could be charging a fraction of a company in England or North America, all you need to do is find the right portfolio and agency to create the website you want.

Lower Costs, Lower Stress

It’s cheaper to hire an outsourced agency than it is to hire one in your market, that’s an undeniable truth. Hiring a local design team is going to take untold thousands from your business. When you outsource that work to an international agency, you’re ultimately risking less cost for the same potential reward. One that can include a few benefits for a cheap price that won’t take a sizeable chunk out of your company’s wallet.

By paying a reasonable fee to an international company, you create less of a strain on your company’s finances.

The Cons:

Quality Concerns

The biggest issue when outsourcing your work to an international agency is the trust you have to place in them to create a good product that will draw in traffic and convert that traffic into orders. Hiring a small agency, in another part of the world, and without proven results, could result in issues you can’t or don’t want to deal with.

Cultural Differences

If you’re in Philadelphia, having your website created by a designer who’s from Philadelphia could have untold benefits. There could be subtle nuances, or vernacular (jawn!), that could speak to the exact market you’re advertising to. It might have benefits but having a website created by a team outside of your country or culture could create a wide set of difficulties.

There could be intricate design choices you’ll be unfamiliar with; there could be language barriers in numerous spots on your site.

Potentially Untrustworthy Partners

Even the most trusted names in any industry can get away with shady business practices. When you sign a contract with an international agency, you might have little to no idea about how that contract is going to be enforced. You could end up paying extra domain, security, design, or web content fees that you didn’t know about because your designers chose not to inform you about it, or simply didn’t know.

When you hire a local team that designs, consistently, within your own market, they’ll know about the exact bumps and hurdles you’ll have to jump over.

Finding the Right Fit

We've worked with companies all over the world and know that finding the right web design company, whether local or overseas, requires different things. For local companies, a simple Google search or a referral from your network can be the most effective way to find someone good. You can easily have someone vouch for them or their reviews online will let you to quickly gauge a company's reputation and local presence. For overseas companies, platforms like Upwork are invaluable. However, caution is key: it's essential to interview multiple companies and consider trying a few before making a decision. Clarity and specificity in your requests are crucial to ensure that the final product aligns with your vision, given the distance and potential cultural differences.