Time's up, agency model.
You're bad for small business.
We’ve been burned by digital agencies before.
That's why we're on a mission to empower small business owners by wrestling back control over their online marketing spend and making every £ work harder for them.
A genuine alternative to digital agencies,
designed for small businesses
Here’s the age-old model the agencies depend on.
You’re a small business owner in need of a new website. You’re short on time (as always). So you commission a web design agency to take on the project for you.
Potentially thousands of £ later, your website is ready. It’s built in WordPress, because two-thirds of websites are, they tell you. That’s reassuring.
But what about updates? You don’t want your new site crashing unexpectedly. Better keep the agency on to look after the maintenance. The hosting and domain admin, too.
And you’ll want to pay a bit extra each month so they can ‘do the SEO’ for you as well, right? After all, what’s the point of spending all that money in the first place if no-one’s going to find you?
This is wrong on a number of levels.
1. Agencies cost more than they’re worth.
That custom website the agency built? Chances are it’s the same WordPress template they use for all their small business clients, with a few tweaks here and there. It keeps design costs down, and pushes profit margins up. And it frees up time to work on more lucrative projects for their larger clients.
Our approach is different.
We choose quality over quantity. We only ever take on a limited number of clients at a time. Plus we work exclusively with small businesses, so you’ll never feel last in line.
We’re 100% remote, too, so we’re not putting our overheads on your invoices. For anything face-to-face, we can meet you at our Sheffield city-centre workspace, or come to you.
Whenever we can, we build small business websites in Wix and Squarespace, saving our clients time and money.
And instead of tying clients into costly maintenance contracts, we run one-to-one workshops on websites, blogging, SEO and more so they feel confident managing their own sites solo.
2. Agencies prey on your knowledge gaps.
We’re not anti-WordPress.
It’s mega-powerful kit, so it’s perfect for larger corporate websites that are full of complexities. So yes, two-thirds of the internet may have been built in WordPress, but does that mean it’s the best choice for your small business?
Agencies love WordPress because their templates can easily be reused at scale. Like a cookie cutter. They’ll even use it on their own company website, which is why so many of them are so terrible.
Agencies are also fully aware that the WordPress learning curve is too steep for most non-experts, so they can charge the client again for ongoing support. By locking you in, they’ll cost you more.
Then there’s the plug-ins. Oh, the plug-ins.
Those custom tweaks to the WordPress template for your website? They’ll probably have been made using plug-ins. These come from a swathe of third-party developers all over the world.
Yes, they give WordPress its famed flexibility, but they also require constant attention. That’s because every plug-in will be updated at different times, and updating one plug-in might cause another one to stop working properly. Or crash the site altogether. Add maintenance and testing to your monthly bill, then.
That's a lot of £ just to keep your website up and running.
We don’t believe small business owners should be paying up every month just to keep the status quo. That doesn’t demonstrate value. That money would be better spent on SEO, paid search or content strategy – areas that can really boost your bottom line.
Rather than belittling you as a small business owner, we want to empower you with the understanding and confidence needed to stand out from the online crowd.
That’s why we always offer clients the chance to learn the tools of the digital trade, take ownership of their online presence, and manage it for themselves.
And for any ongoing work we do for you, we demonstrate value.
3. Agencies over-promise and under-deliver.
Behind the ping-pong tables and indoor grass, there is a wall in every digital agency.
It’s the wall between the coders and the client-facers.
The client-facers are the people you speak to: the sales directors and the account managers. The coders do the actual work of developing/testing your website.
The wall between them impinges on quality and turnaround times.
Need answers fast from your agency when something isn’t right? You’ll need to speak to your client-facer first, then wait for them to report back. That's too much time wasted, and the lack of transparency gets incredibly frustrating.
(And when the response does come through, prepare yourself for some serious techno-babble. It's a great way to cover up mistakes, delays and oversights.)
Something missing from your site that was promised in the original proposal? The sales director said it’d be no problem when you first spoke... (Good luck seeing him/her ever again, by the way.)
Since then, the coder has dumped the idea from the actual build, either because it was technically impossible in the first place or due to time/budget constraints. Unhappy about it? Speak to your client-facer. And so it begins, again.
Work with us and you’ll deal direct with the expert doing the work. No account managers. No inter-department walls. Just friendly, open dialogue so you're in the loop at all times.
We promise to stay clear of all that jargon, too.