A Know-How Guide to Outsourcing Web Design

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How to Outsource Web Design

Everything You Need to Know about Web Design Outsourcing

Learn what web design is, why companies are outsourcing and where to find potential outsourcing partners in this quick guide.

Design services
March 3, 2021
7 minutes


Whether you’re already looking into outsourcing companies or simply considering the pros and cons of outsourcing web design, this guide is here to answer all your burning questions!

You can really outsource anything these days: from customer service and sales teams to marketing and design. However, IT services (including web design) remain the most commonly outsourced business service.

There are several reasons for this. While any small business owner can at least attempt to tackle graphic design or marketing (even without a basic knowledge), when it comes to web development there’s only so much you can do. Next, it’s quite clear that websites have become a necessary requirement for any business: 70-80% of potential customers could be lost to a business without a website.

Of course, you might already know that this is something you can attempt to yourself. There are several website builders, including WordPress, Shopify and Wix, which allow you to create a useful website with sometimes quite extensive customization options.

But if you’re looking to create something from scratch, or perhaps design a mobile app, then you’ll have to hire a web design and development team.

In this guide you will learn:

  • What is web design
  • Why outsource web design
  • Where can you outsource web design

What is web design

Web design incorporates two things: web design and web development.

Web design relates to the way a website or app looks. But getting it to actually work is the responsibility of web development teams.

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If you’re looking to outsource, you may want to consider outsourcing one or the other or both. If you’re a design company and have a skilled UI/UX designer on hand, you might just need a developer to help you bring your vision to life.

Web design

While creating the look of a website is essentially a graphic design task, it requires a particular set of skills (for example design software like Sketch or Adobe XD) and an understanding of what this type of design needs to achieve.

A well-designed website or application includes a great user interface (the look of the app) and user experience (e.g. making it clear how a website or app should be used).

Web development

If you’ve ever seen funny stock photos of people sitting in a dark room surrounded by mysterious lines of code: this is the representation of a web developer.

Web development refers to building the backend of the site: you must know how to use coding languages such as HTML or CSS. It’s not something you can easily pick up from a YouTube tutorial. Rather, you might have to take courses or acquire formal training in order to provide web development services.

Still, since this is a more practical job (once you learn to code, you’re pretty much set), web developers are generally paid less than UI/UX designers who have to have the relevant technical design skills, but also a much broader knowledge and practical experience in designing for this type of use.

web designer vs web developer.png

Why outsource web design?

Outsourcing is not a sign of bad management or taking on more than you can handle. It’s a popular practice even with giants like Apple, that outsource the production of their hardware, which are then sold under that Apple brand (this is called white label outsourcing). This allows the company to focus on design, branding and marketing, which allows Apple to retain the full ownership of their brand without the “hassle” of simple production tasks.

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Deloitte’s 2020 Outsourcing Survey suggests that the key reasons for outsourcing remained the same, even in a year as unpredictable as that. Most companies outsource to:

  • Reduce costs (70%)
  • Reach the market more quickly (20%)
  • Achieve more flexibility (40%)

When it comes to website design, these benefits become even more apparent. Let’s take a closer look.

Reducing cost

The average salary of a UX/UI designer is $85k annually, while web developers make around $75k per year.

On the other hand, UI/UX design services on freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork stands at around $20-$75 per hour, while web developers make an average of $25 per hour. In the case of website design, however, clients usually pay on a per-project basis, and the average cost of a website setup is around $6k.

Of course, on top of that, you’ll need to add the expenses of hosting the website (which are usually quite small) and web maintenance (regularly updating the content), but we’re assuming you have a content or marketing team taking care of that. And naturally, the more complex the project, the higher the price tag will be.

More flexibility

Outsourcing web design means two things in terms of greater flexibility: you can focus on top-tier tasks (like Apple’s example) and you can diversify your service.

This might mean creating a mobile application to reach more users or even adjusting features on your website to acquire more leads and ultimately more sales. Knowing that your ideas can actually be realized means that you scale better.

Reaching market more quickly

A survey from Kinvey shows that an MVP (minimum viable product) for an iOS or Android application takes around 4.5 months to complete.

The time your in-house web design team might spend on creating an, for example, web application, has to be rationed between performing necessary daily tasks (e.g. maintaining your existing website). An outsourcing service has the benefit of tunnel vision, focusing only on the task at hand and producing results more quickly.

Finally, one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing is access to a huge talent pool. You are able to choose the people with the absolute best qualifications for the job, which means the work often gets done faster.

why outsource web design.png

Who shouldn’t outsource web design

Of course, there are some cases in which an outsourced solution might not be the most viable thing to do.

You need several projects

Outsourcing a one-off project can be great, but paying a web design and development agency can really boost your spending in the long run.

Similarly, if you have a project, such as an ecommerce website, that requires a lot of work continuously (e.g. payment processing, customer support, etc.), then the expenses of an agency will by far outweigh that of a dedicated team member.

When it comes to design, the most cost-effective option by far is an on-demand design service (like ManyPixels!). You get all the benefits of working with a large design agency (timely delivery, project management, unlimited revisions), but at the fraction of the cost. Getting a web developer on board (whether in-house or on a freelance basis) could be a great way to save up, and have the scope to work on new web design projects year-round.

You’re not willing to invest time in communication

It’s pretty obvious that communicating with someone who lives in a different country will not be as easy as knocking on their office door. Cultural and language barriers might also come into play, so if you want to take the outsourcing road, be prepared to put some effort into building a working relationship.

Although you’re saving time on the administrative work of making a hire, being in different time zones sometimes simply doesn’t work out. Review your business strategy and consider how important it is for you to have on-demand support.

Where to outsource web design?

Finally, we want to offer you some ideas of the best places where you can find the right people for your web design needs. We’ll briefly explain what you can get with each type of service:

  • Freelancing platforms: from Upwork, Fiverr and Twine, to portfolio platforms and social media profiles where you can check out the work of web designers—these are huge talent pools with a lot of skilled professionals. But, you’ll have to put in a lot of research and effort into finding the right people.
  • Web development companies and design agencies: quality assurance with a big price tag. It’s not the best solution for small businesses, but might be great for marketing service agencies that need agility and quality.
  • On-demand services: a design service like ManyPixels is a huge relief for your budget, for top-quality design. Most similar services don’t offer web development, but this might be a terrific cost-effective solution for the long run, paired with a dedicated development team.

Have we answered all your questions?

We hope this short guide answered your most important questions about outsourcing web development. For further guidance, be sure to check out our design outsourcing guide for creative agencies, as well as our guide on design outsourcing vs subscription.

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Danica Popovic

March 3, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.