As you might expect, how much you need to budget for a website optimisation service varies greatly. Amongst other considerations, you’ll need to ascertain how many potential changes need to be made and whether your project is more suited to the services of a solo freelancer or consultant, an agency, or an in-house resource.
Types of Website Optimisation Services
When selecting a service to provide website optimisation, you typically have three main choices. You can hire:
- A freelancer or consultant
- An agency
- An in-house resource
Hiring an in-house resource may be the right fit for companies with large, regular UX workloads, but it’s not typically the smartest financial choice if you’re only concerned with optimisation. Remember, hiring a new employee requires not just funding their salary, but all the benefits to which they’re entitled as well.
Next, while a freelance UX designer or website optimisation consultant may offer you some valuable skills, they will be somewhat limited in what they can offer you – as they’re likely to specialise in just one or two main skills. Additionally, many optimisations will require the skill sets of both a UX consultant and a developer. Freelance 'unicorns' that can do both are virtually impossible to find!
For more complex optimisation projects, it’s often a better choice to hire an agency with a larger team, who can tackle all aspects required with a high degree of technical skill and experience.
An agency can help you strategically plan an optimisation roadmap, as well as be able to deliver on all of those activities with the same team, at the same time. In this way, they provide far greater capacity than you'll get from an individual freelancer, which is especially important if you have a lengthy list of UX projects in mind.
Plus, with a dedicated agency Project Manager, you’ll end up with a cohesive, well-planned and well-executed strategy across the entire project, maximising the impact of your overall outcomes.
Types of Website Optimisation Service Offerings
Typically, website optimisation service offerings are structured as project-based work or retainer agreements.
More straightforward projects, such as those with smaller websites or fewer issues to resolve may work best when structured as a one-off, single project.
Larger websites with a larger number of problems, on the other hand, often benefit from an ongoing retainer agreement that allows for consistent, continual improvement in line with the needs of a larger team or higher volume of content.
Questions to Consider When Choosing a Website Optimisation Service
Keep the following questions in mind when evaluating potential website optimisation partners:
Do I have a website optimisation plan?
If you already have a solid website optimisation plan, a freelancer or consultant may be able to jump in and execute your work.
If you don’t, an agency may be a better option as their teams of specialists can help you identify and prioritise issues – providing you with a strong optimisation plan that’s much more likely to achieve your overall business objectives.
How many pending issues do I have?
If you have more than a few pending issues to resolve, it’s important to determine whether the person or agency you hire can actually resolve them in a timely manner.
Generally, the bigger the team you have at your disposal, the faster critical bugs and usability issues can be rectified. Some agencies may provide 24/7 support for critical issues, but ask about wait times, as larger agencies may have a required onboarding period that delays your start.
In any case, the agency you’re considering should be able to provide you with a ‘Service Level Agreement’ (often referred to as an ‘SLA’) which defines your rights and responsibilities.
Do I have any in-house optimisation capacity?
If you already have some in-house optimisation capacity that can work on your optimisation project, you’ll require less of an outside team to assist. This may help reduce your budget, and may influence the type of provider you need.
For example, you may have someone internal who’s able to handle updates to page copy and metadata content – activities that require subject matter expertise, but that don’t require the technical ability to implement things like accessibility best practices. In this case, you can lower your costs by handling copy and content work in-house while sourcing developer support through an agency.
How close are you to rebuilding your website?
At Sitback, we generally recommend that all websites get rebuilt every 3-4 years to keep up with changing trends and consumer demand.
If you can foresee that this need may arise soon, it’s best to not invest too heavily in project work at this time. A freelancer or consultant can help you resolve pressing issues until your rebuild, or you can partner with an agency that can help you work towards a rebuild whilst getting to know your organisation.
In fact, this is something we do often. We’ll inherit a legacy platform, get to know the company, and support urgent issues while we plan and build the replacement platform. Not only does this make for a stronger relationship, it allows us to learn from the existing platform and even test MVP ideas on the existing platform while building the fully-fledged version on the new site.
Sample Fees for Website Optimisation Services
To help with your budgeting, General Assembly reports that freelancers who specialise in UX design charge day rates between $400-$1000 AUD. Calvary data puts freelance UX designer rates between $365-$805 AUD per day.
At Sitback, we tend to structure our Support & Optimisation services on a retainer basis, as longer-term partnerships ensure clients who need the services of an agency get the results they need to work steadily towards their larger goals.
Given huge variability in terms of the hours included, the number of websites involved and additional services needed, our retainer fees range anywhere between $1500-$11,000 per month. Often, our clients find that working with our Support & Optimisation team provides the best overall ROI – because the work is locked in every month, we’re able to offer the lowest hourly rate to engage with our internal experts ranging from UX, to Development, when compared to project work or block hour purchases.