Like other companies that are considering a website redesign, you are probably faced with the decision to manage it in-house or outsource website design. A website redesign managed in-house can save your company 50% or more, but that cost savings can ultimately cost your business dearly if not done properly. Is managing your own website redesign a smart decision?

You're probably grappling with that question now. For that reason, I've attempted to provide an unbiased viewpoint given my experience on both sides of the table:

  • While at Circuit City in the late '90s and early 2000s, we did several incremental redesigns in-house, but hired a large agency to help with our 2003 website redesign even though we had a web design team of six people.
  • At Crutchfield in 2005, we redesigned the website in-house.
  • Since 2007, our team has designed websites for companies of all sizes, including working alongside in-house teams and other agency partners.

As you can see, I've been on both the client side and the agency side, understand both, and write here from those experiences. Here are some considerations to help make your own decision about whether to do it all in-house or outsource website design.

What is Outsourced Website Design?

Outsourced website design refers to hiring a third party -- a freelancer or marketing firm -- to design and manage your company website.

Many companies face the challenge of enhancing their digital footprint while navigating budget and resource constraints. This is where outsourcing website design becomes a strategic asset. 

Outsourcing provides companies with the opportunity to tap into a diverse range of skillsets, including design, development, and content creation, without the need to hire full-time employees. This allows businesses to save valuable internal resources' time, while still benefiting from the expertise of experienced professionals working on their projects.

In-House Versus Outsourced Website Design

When it comes to deciding whether to handle website design in-house or outsource it, there are several important factors to consider.

One of the main considerations is the availability of skilled internal resources. Take a close look at your current team and evaluate if they have the necessary expertise to create an effective website. This includes having a marketing leader with digital expertise, a skilled web designer, a talented web developer, a skilled copywriter, and a project manager. If your team lacks any of these key skill sets, it may be worth considering outsourcing to fill in the gaps.

Budget is another crucial factor to consider. Designing your website in-house generally results in lower out-of-pocket costs, while outsourcing incurs more out-of-pocket costs.

Finally, timing is an important consideration. Redesigning a website is a time-consuming process that requires significant staff time and focus. Be prepared to allocate resources and ensure that your team has a track record of delivering projects on time and within budget.

By carefully evaluating these criteria, you can make an informed decision about whether to handle website design in-house or outsource it.

How Much Does Outsourced Website Design Cost?

The cost of outsourcing website design is a key consideration when deciding whether to take this route.

  • If you design your website using in-house resources, out-of-pocket costs will generally be lower, while outsourcing your website design tends to incur more out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Often, companies overlook the importance of proper planning when it comes to utilizing internal resources for their website redesign projects. This approach can divert these resources away from other projects that may hold higher priority for the company. Additionally, if the internal staff lacks the necessary skills, it can significantly prolong the project, resulting in increased costs for the company in the long run.

How many companies outsource their website versus manage it internally?

According to data published in HubSpot's "The Science of Website Redesign" report, aa slight majority of companies worked with an web design agency partner. The average cost of an in-house redesign is $30,106, while the average cost of an outsourced project is $69,576 (based on a survey of 60 businesses).

Is outsourcing worth the cost?

Read our complete guide to website redesign costs, including a comparison of  in-house versus outsourced

What are the Pros and Cons of Outsourced Website Design?

Outsourcing website design can offer numerous benefits for businesses, but it can also come with some drawbacks.


One of the main advantages is access to expert skills. By outsourcing, you can work with professionals who have extensive experience and knowledge in web design. These experts understand the latest design trends and can create a website that is visually appealing and user-friendly.

Additionally, outsourcing allows you to integrate advanced digital tools into your website. These tools can enhance functionality and improve the overall user experience.

Another benefit is the ability to hire website expertise. Outsourcing gives you the opportunity to work with a team of professionals who specialize in various aspects of website design, such as web development, graphic design, and copywriting.

Finally, outsourcing affords you a team that devotes enough time to the project. By outsourcing, you can free up your internal resources and ensure that the website redesign project receives the attention and focus it deserves. This can result in a more efficient and timely completion of the project. 


While outsourcing website design can offer numerous benefits, it is important to consider the drawbacks as well.

One of the main drawbacks is the out-of-pocket costs associated with outsourcing. The average cost of an outsourced project is significantly higher than an in-house redesign.

When outsourcing, there is a risk that the agency might not have a deep understanding of your industry. This can result in a website that does not effectively cater to your target audience, or you may need to spend additional time with the agency to get them up to speed.

Another drawback is limited visibility into the project progress and communication. It can be challenging to stay updated on the status of the project and ensure effective communication.

These drawbacks can be overcome by hiring a web design agency that has industry expertise and proactive communication. Finding a partner who understands your industry and keeps you informed throughout the process can mitigate these challenges.

How to Decide If Your Business Should Outsource Website Design

Evaluate your internal resources

Take an honest look at the people and skill sets at your business. Are the necessary people in place to create a successful website for your business? Can they do it on the desired timeline? Here are some of the types of people that you'll need on your team to create the most effective website possible.

  • Marketing leader with heavy digital expertise who can guide the digital strategy, ranging from defining target audiences and their specific needs to defining key success metrics from a web analytics perspective. This is a person that can take company revenue and growth goals and translate them into visitor and lead targets, then can articulate exactly what's needed from a tactical perspective during the website redesign to accomplish those goals.
  • Skilled web designer who understands that web design is more than artwork. This person/people will need to know how your ideal customers use the web and how to design a website that is easy to use and find information. This person also needs to understand web conversion and how it relates to the buyer's journey, and needs to understand your ideal customer and their behaviors.
  • Talented web developer who knows how to produce clean, efficient code, incorporate a content management system so you can easily update your website, and knows how to code a website for today's many screen sizes. Page speed and core web vitals are critical for good SEO, so you'll need someone who's "up to speed" on how to optimize websites for performance, too. Since you want your website to generate new business, the developer will also need to know how to connect the website up to a CRM so your sales team can follow up on leads and track them through the buyer's journey.
  • Skilled copywriter that can write using your brand tone, has a firm grasp on your company's unique selling proposition and can organize information in such a way that makes navigating the website a snap. This person also needs to know how to write for search engine optimization. You might not already know that content is the most overlooked part of a website redesign. Are you planning to use existing website content? You'll likely need to edit existing content at a minimum. Based on our experience, one major factor that significantly contributes to delays in website projects is when clients attempt to write their own website copy. This is often the primary cause of delays in completing a website redesign.
  • Project manager that can take control over timeline and budget while effectively managing input from various stakeholders in your business. This person has to be a skilled communicator that's willing to be a customer advocate and is willing to skillfully push back on decision makers when appropriate. 
  • Other skill sets you might want to consider, such as a videographer for filming and editing web video that you'll embed on your company website. If your website is particularly large or functionally complex, you'll want a quality assurance tester involved in the project. If you don't already have a library of company stock images (ones that were taken just for your company by a professional photographer), then you may need a photographer for your project.

Can an in-house "one person web team" do the job properly?

Some small- and medium-sized businesses we work with have a dedicated web person or webmaster to handle their website. While these people are skilled enough to make updates to the website, designing and building a website from scratch requires both creative and technical competencies. Finding a person that does both design and development well is exceptionally difficult. Creativity and technical abilities require two different sides of the brain.

Good graphic designers might execute a beautiful web design with high artistic value, but the technology aspect will suffer. A web developer might write wonderful code but the design will be utilitarian at best and hard to use.

It's also important to note here that a "graphic designer" might not know the ins and outs of designing for the web. A web designer will know how to adapt designs to different modern screen sizes and design for usage patterns that are common to experiencing a website on a screen.

A project the size of a website redesign will pull your in-house resources off other projects completely, so if you're going this route, plan on them being otherwise unproductive for months.

If your business has a one-person web team you might consider making that person the project manager and outsourcing your web design project. Outsourcing to a team of professionals will give you several skillsets that know how to work together to get results.

Evaluate time commitment

Once you determine if you have the necessary talent in place to successfully redesign your website in-house, the next hurdle is how to take a person or team off of other projects and devote significant staff time to the project. A website redesign is not something that can be done "on the side." It's a project that takes focus and a significant amount of staff time. Even if you decide to outsource website design, the project needs to be a priority and people need to be allocated to the project at different review points.

Analyze past projects to understand if your staff has a track record of delivering projects on time and within budget.

Outsource to offset gaps in skill sets

After you evaluate the abilities of your staff, you may find that in-house resources would be well-suited for part of the project but not others. If this is the case, you might want to consider outsourcing part of the project. You may have a great project manager but lack design talent. You may even have a generalist who can design a website, but no one to assist with the initial website strategy and planning.

What area is your team weakest in? This might be a good part to outsource.

Note that some web design firms will not accept just part of the work. Many are structured to handle the project from start to finish and make recommendations at every step of the way. Check with a design firm first and be upfront with them about your need to outsource part of the project.

Outsource web design if you need a fresh perspective

In both the client and the agency role, I've seen a lot of value in the fresh perspective that outsourcing your web design can bring. Working with a marketing firm to design your company website can cause disruption in how you might normally design and communicate. Your marketing firm isn't trapped in a "that's the way we've always done it" mindset. They can think like your customer in ways that you simply can't. They can see your business and your products/services like a real customer would, and ask the same questions that your prospect might.

There is such a thing as being "too close" to your products and services. When you work at a company, you tend to forget the questions that people new to your product or service might have. An outside opinion helps to stimulate new ideas that your website and content could benefit from.

Designing a Website for ROI

Redesigning a website for return on investment is crucial to ensure that your project pays off in the long run. A website design project presents a golden opportunity to optimize your website for effective lead generation.

By strategically revamping your website, you can attract new prospects that are a perfect fit for your business. Your website should act as a powerful tool to drive these prospects into your sales pipeline, ultimately leading to increased conversions and revenue.

To achieve this, it is essential to hire a web design agency that understands the process of setting your website up this way, because it doesn't happen accidentally.

Outsourcing to multiple agencies

Most web design agencies don't want to work alongside other web design agencies on a project. They typically will have different processes and ideas for the project, which could cause some conflict. To avoid this problem, we recommend selecting one agency to be in charge of your project.

You do, however, need to involve other agency partners in your website redesign project. If you're using a PR firm, for example, the web design firm needs to understand the PR strategy as input to the website design project.

If you do bring in more than one agency or multiple freelancers to complete your project, make sure their individual roles are clearly defined. You should always have an in-house employee act as project manager and point of contact.

Key Takeaways

Whether it's done in-house or by an agency partner, there are a lot of factors that affect the timing, effectiveness and cost of your website redesign.

Thinking that your website redesign is "free" because you have your own employees working on it is a fallacy. The opportunity cost of pulling them off internal projects can be costly, and internally managed projects can have a tendency to drag on because subordinates have trouble advising and nudging their managers to make decisions in a timely way.

Outsourced website redesign costs are much more predictable because agencies have a reliable, repeatable process and do it every day. You'll often get more creativity and insight from an outside agency that can see your products or services as you can't. They can set up the website so that it deliberately generates leads for your business.

Costs of in-house website redesigns can quickly get out of control if you don't adhere to a budget and schedule.

Which is right for you?

Other Website Design Outsourcing Resources

How Whittington Consulting Can Help

Your company's website should be among your company's greatest sales assets. Our website redesign service empowers companies to attract and convert more new business opportunities, helping companies achieve a return on their investment. Whittington Consulting can redesign your company website to achieve lead, customer and revenue goals. Start here by requesting a free consultation here.

Website Redesign Cost Guide Resource