Web agency or consultant: how to choose? -

The digital strategy is an essential tool for any company in order to increase its sales and its notoriety. To benefit from the positive impact of a solid e-reputation, it is necessary to call on a specialist in the sector: what to choose between a consultant and a web agency? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two possibilities?

What is a web agency?

Web agencies appeared during the 90s. Initially created to assist in the creation of websites, they extended their field of expertise beyond the creation of sites, to offer a variety of services. More focused on the web aspect than traditional communications agencies, they have integrated different areas of expertise into their service offering, in line with the evolutions of the web consulting market.

Today, a web agency is a company whose field of activity includes a panel of web-related activities, made up of experts in various specific fields. Like a consultant, a web agency offers a global support strategy for companies wishing to develop this part of their sales and marketing strategy, or it can be hired to respond to a specific problem related to a field of activity to be strengthened by particular.

A web agency includes in its workforce employees with varied profiles, which makes it possible to diversify its activities, unlike the independent consultant who limits the areas of expertise mastered and offered to the client.

What is a web consultant?

The web consultant, also called an internet consultant, is a self-employed individual who specializes in the field of the web. Although he has a wide range of knowledge, and can offer his expertise on various subjects, he is generally specialized in a particular field, which allows him to respond to specific issues. In general, he does not take care of producing a software or site on behalf of a third party company, but he can intervene with the production manager if necessary on certain technical or theoretical aspects, at the request of his client.

His work mainly consists of an advisory and support role with a client to implement a digital strategy or an IT tool. It also offers strategic direction linked to a specific issue. His area of ​​expertise may relate to companies in a particular industry, or to a type of business he is used to working with.

As part of a software production or implementation of a web strategy, he is in direct and regular contact with the company that represents his client. Web consultants are subdivided into sub-categories represented by their main area of ​​intervention. For the technical management of software, we speak of an architect. He masters the specific languages ​​and technologies necessary for the proper functioning of the product in the back office, and ensures to offer a quality customer experience in the front office. There are also consultants who specialize in the operational management of the web strategy: this involves natural referencing or not (SEO / SEM consultant), the analysis of data related to the use of the website or the merchant site, digital strategy as a whole, marketing for the sale of products and services online, and data security.

What are the criteria for choosing a specialized agency or a consultant?

Using a web agency allows you to benefit from different employee profiles with varied skills. The multitude of consultants working within the agency, each specialized in a particular field, provide a great versatility which leads to being able to propose a global strategy to strengthen the company’s presence on the web and ensure its e-reputation. The work of a web agency revolves around specifications, established in close collaboration with the client, to meet their needs. The role of the agency is then to ensure the creation, launch and monitoring of the website or software they manage. If the expertise of web agencies is mainly sought for the creation of a showcase or merchant site, some agencies specialize in the creation of mobile applications and business software. In general, digital agencies will be more appropriate for long-term, time-consuming or labor-intensive projects. A freelance consultant will generally be advised for smaller projects.

By using a freelance web consultant, the technical aptitude offered is often more specialized. It is therefore the ideal choice for solving a problem that depends on a niche language or skill. It is nevertheless important to select a freelancer with a panel of diverse abilities, allowing him to have a more general point of view on web strategy. He can also call on his network to solve problems requiring specific knowledge. It will offer more flexible support, with a single point of contact throughout the project.

A digital agency will generally invoice its service at a higher rate than the fees of an independent web consultant, due to structural operating costs. A consultant benefits from greater flexibility linked to his legal status, allowing him to avoid various charges attributable to the agencies. It is nevertheless important to note that depending on the reputation and clientele of the independent consultant, the latter may also invoice a service at a much higher rate than beginner consultants or with a smaller address book.