The Web Requires Specialization
Even the most experienced web gurus are likely not "gurus" when it comes to some part of the web. Ryan Carson, Director of Carson Systems, is a well-known web entrepreneur. His company has built such apps as DropSend and Amigo. Yet, it was only recently that he had an epiphany based on some friend's advice about how to successfully market one of them online (DropSend). Ryan's situation is not uncommon. The web is complex enough that you can't be an expert at everything. That's why we have a staff of individuals who focus in one of the four areas we consider to be key to any web solution (strategy, design, development, and marketing). They even specialize within those core areas. For example, while our developers are not ignorant when it comes to design, we don't ask them to create design compositions. They are not selecting color gradients and fonts or laying out page elements. They are good at writing code and that is what they do. The take home for you is simple: if you do hire a web agency or individual, make sure they can provide you with the expertise you need. Their response shouldn't be, “Oh, sure, we can do that too.” Ensure that they actually have a specialist to help with your specific request. Ask questions about the backgrounds of their team members and other projects where they've done similar work. There are lots of web folks who can do it all but, particularly as successful web strategies become more complex, only a few who can do it all well. Hiring by specialization will mitigate your risk of failure and provide you with more predictable (and positive) results.