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Mette Nielsen  |  15/08/2023

Web agencies’ most common pain points and how to solve them

Digital agencies handle numerous projects, expertise in all things digital. Our advice on managing common challenges.

Digital agencies need to produce a very high number of quality websites for a wide range of different customers, juggling multiple projects at the same time, while basically having to be experts on everything digital. Tired yet? Here is our perspective on how you can manage these most common pain points, based on our experience partnering with website resellers as a white-label website platform. 


Common pain points that many digital agencies experience:

  1. Working with code or developers
  2. Time constraints, manpower and project management
  3. Content Creation
  4. Design capabilities and build times
  5. Client communication
  6. Marketing & SEO
  7. Pricing Projects and Cost of Ownership
  8. Keeping customer data secure
  9. Website maintenance and performance


1. Working with Code and Developers

Developers are the architects of the digital landscape, crafting the foundations websites are built on. However, managing a team of developers or trying to hack code as a non-developer can be overwhelming, even for the most seasoned agencies.

Finding the right balance between creative freedom and code execution can be a daunting challenge, but it has become much easier than it used to be. The supply of no-code website builders has grown in recent years. You don’t have to go far back in time for options such as WordPress and Magento to be the only options that were flexible enough to live up to the creative visions of digital agencies – but which unfortunately also demands a steep learning curve, heavy maintenance, and specialty knowledge.

Now, drag-and-drop website builders can offer as much, if not more than, traditional low-code or built-from-scratch websites – just without the heavy investment into development.

To combat the problem of working with code, we would recommend finding a no-code platform that offers pre-designed templates, easy drag-and-drop functionalities, and customizable elements. This reduces reliance on coding expertise and speeds up the website creation process.

If you create websites at scale, we also recommend taking it one step further and going for a white-label website builder with a multi-site management tool. A white label solution is where one company creates a product or service and then sells this product or service to another company. This product or service can then be rebranded and sold under the new company’s name, logo and brand. This means you could use a complete website building system and brand all the products coming out of that system as your own.

Mono Solutions offers a powerful white-label website building platform where you can manage and build all your websites at scale in one integrated solution, tailor your own template libraries, manage subscriptions and much more. No code, of course. Learn more or get a demo here


2. Time constraints, manpower and project management

Digital agencies often must handle multiple projects simultaneously. Each project has its own timeline, complexity milestones, and client requirements. It is not always possible to use a template, since each project has unique requirements. Iterative feedback, going back and forth between agency and client, further complicates the process.  
Digital projects are prone to unexpected challenges, such as technical glitches, integration issues, or changes in client requirements. Dealing with these unforeseen obstacles can disrupt timelines and strain resources. 
On top of that, designing and developing websites require a creative process that can't always be rushed. Coming up with innovative and visually appealing designs, as well as ensuring the website's functionality, takes time and thoughtfulness.  

How can you free up human resources to focus on more strategic and creative aspects of their work?

Can you automate? Can you implement technology to help you cut out manual labour?

Many design tasks that were traditionally time consuming have become less so. Creating websites, for example, have gone from something that needed to be customised and built from scratch to something that is made up of predefined templates and content blocks.

Choose a website building platform that allows your designers to automate as much work as possible, such as defining design and content on a global scale, copy and paste content, and let the maintenance be managed by the hosting provider.

Things like updating plugins, adding new schema markup properties, or trouble shooting when something breaks is not an ideal use of time for your agency. Outsourcing that aspect of business can free time and money for more important work. For more information about how you can optimise upkeep, go to point 9: Website maintenance and performance. 

Another tip is to collaborate with freelancers and outsourcing partners for specific projects or tasks.  
Some seasons are busier than others, and bringing in an extra pair of hands during busy times allows the agency to access specialized skills without committing to full-time employment. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr can help connect agencies with skilled professionals. If you do choose to hire a freelancer, make sure to keep their access restricted to only what they need. Read more about that under point 8: Keeping customer data secure.

Invest in training and upskilling programs to empower existing employees to take on new responsibilities and stay updated with the latest industry trends. Develop internship and apprenticeship programs in collaboration with educational institutions. This can provide a pipeline of fresh talent and potential future hires. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is to scale realistically. While growth is important, overextending yourself could make it hard to keep on top of projects. Scaling should be based on careful planning and a realistic assessment of available resources. Be selective in choosing clients and projects that align with your expertise and strengths. This reduces the need for rapid scaling and prevents burnout among the workforce.


3. Content creation

Digital agencies not only have to create beautiful and functional websites for their clients, they also are often hired to produce content for said websites (always charge extra for copywriting services). However, content creation can be a challenging part of agency life. 

Clients expect quick turnaround times and top content quality. In a competitive market, you must keep up, produce eye-catching, well-written content – but to strict deadlines.

On top of that, web agencies must juggle multiple projects, each with its unique content requirements.

Content templates and style guides can streamline the content creation process. These resources act as a blueprint for writers, designers, and editors, ensuring consistency in tone, style, and formatting. By eliminating the need to start from scratch with each project, digital agencies can save time and focus on refining the content to meet specific client needs.

Automation can be a game-changer for time-crunched web agencies. Identify repetitive tasks, such as social media posting or content distribution, and automate them using scheduling tools or content management systems. This allows teams to allocate more time and energy to the creative aspects of content creation. In Mono's marketing team, we for example use HubSpot to schedule all our social posts at once, so we don't have to spend time going to each individual platform and setting up the post there. 

If you have specific business verticals you work in, you can consider creating a repository of content that can be reused. In my agency-days I worked with a freelancer who specialised in a few specific verticals. She would have a repository of every single type of content she might be asked to write for that niche, and she had it ready at her fingertips so she could always draw content from it. A quick rewrite later, and the content was good to go. Of course, AI is also a great tool for first drafts these days, or to transform bullet points into a paragraph.


How to prioritise when there is not enough time for everything

If you build websites for a digital agency, chances are you are already good at prioritising. You probably experienced competing deadlines that all feel equally important. How do you pick which one comes first?

Leaving an important task till later can feel like an impossible decision to make. 

As someone who used to work in a marketing agency, juggling multiple competing deadlines every week, I used the following ‘recipe’:

  • Pick the most specialised job(s) to do yourself
  • Outsource content that doesn’t need to be done by you
  • Write a fast first draft of all the content that has competing deadlines. If the deadline for example is end of tomorrow, and you need to write 1000 words for Client One and 1000 words for Client Two, get a draft done of both by end of day, instead of trying to get one piece of content 100% finalised. 
    After the first drafts are done – however poorly – you can more easily decide how to divide your energy. Perhaps content Client One turned out alright, and you can spend more energy on Client Two.
  • Get a colleague to polish proofread and polish your content. Invite them to send their stuff over to you as well - it's always easier to proofread content that is not your own.


4: Design capabilities and build times

Each client's brand identity is unique, and crafting websites that capture this individuality requires time and creative energy. Replicating this level of personalization across multiple projects can be a challenge.

Poor design output is not necessarily a problem with your designers’ skill level, but could also be caused by a flawed process, a lack of time, or not having access to the right tools. 

Designers within agencies should be encouraged to engage in regular training sessions, workshops, and online courses to hone their craft and stay updated with the latest design tools and techniques. This commitment to learning not only expands individual capabilities but also infuses the agency's design team with energy that translates into better work.

Collaboration is another cornerstone of strong design capabilities. Encouraging cross-functional interaction between designers, developers, marketers, and clients fosters a holistic understanding of project objectives and user needs. Regular brainstorming sessions and design critiques create a platform for diverse perspectives, leading to more comprehensive and user-centric solutions. Moreover, collaboration extends beyond the agency's internal teams; forging partnerships with external stakeholders such as illustrators, photographers, and copywriters can inject fresh creativity into projects.

Remaining adaptable to emerging design trends is equally important. Agencies must keep a finger on the pulse of industry shifts, staying informed about user experience trends, visual aesthetics, and technological innovations. 

Harnessing technology and automating processes also play a pivotal role in improving design capabilities. Using good design software and automating as many processes as possible allow designers to allocate more time for ideation and creativity. 


How to help your designers automate more tasks:

  • Invest in a library of diverse and customizable website templates that serve as starting points for design. With the foundation laid, designers can then tailor each template to suit the client's specific brand identity and requirements.
  • Create a portfolio of designs concepts that can be re-used later. This allows the designers to implement these concepts with new brand colors and images for the next client, instead of re-inventing the wheel.

    A design concept could, for example, be a style of banner – the dimensions of it, where the text should be, and if it should be parallax or not. It could also include a few ‘jokers’ which designers can implement for uniqueness. A joker could be a unique button design where three sides of the button are rounded for example, and the fourth corner is square. It could be a type of animation, or a way of creating abstract patterns on white backgrounds.
  • Choose technology that helps your team automate, such as being able to create your own template libraries and implementing design rules on a global scale across an entire website. These can be a major time saver for designers, so it can be a good idea to choose a white-label platform that supports this.


Cutting down manual and repetitive tasks is crucial to improve build time and increase margins, which is why Mono Solutions offer white-label templates for different verticals. These templates can be used as a foundation to create a personal template library. Some of our partners have hundreds of templates in their library to automate the website creation process. It doesn’t matter what kind of customer walks in through their door – they most likely have a template that suits. Check out Mono’s white-label templates here.

Another tool the Mono platform offers is Global Design and Global Data which allows designers to implement design and content options such as brand colours, fonts, company information, and margins site-wide from one central place. These global properties are then also automatically implemented on new pages or content that is added to the site.  


5. Client communication

Web agencies cater to clients across various industries, each with their own processes and ways of communicating. Some prefer email, others meetings. You cannot always follow your own preferences but must adapt to the client.  

Another problem is getting the customer to give you the information needed. How do you explain to a customer exactly how their About-Us text will feature on the website? How do you show them why you need a photo with those exact dimensions, or why the logo they provided is not good enough quality? It can be difficult for a customer to provide the right content, if they do not understand the context in which it will be used and what the designers need it for. The customer may not be able to imagine how a ‘Hero’ looks like on a website, or why a busy, grainy picture won’t work for it.

A solution to this problem is creating mock-ups of the websites, so you can point out to the client exactly where what content needs to go. The mock-up could be a pdf, or another type of two-dimensional design file. But you could also consider creating a live mock-up – simply build the main structure of the website with Lorem Ipsum text and placeholder images and show them what you have in mind. However, the problem with this approach is time.

It can be too time consuming to create a dummy website for a client, especially if they have not yet converted. This is a problem we are currently developing a solution for at Mono.

This exciting new product will be released later this year (2023) and we can’t wait to announce it! Follow us on socials to not miss out.

One way to encourage collaboration is to use the service model Do-It-With-Me. While DIFM (Do-It-For-Me) is more hands-off for the SMB customer, and full service for the digital agency, DIWM offers a more collaborative approach. Some small businesses lack the time and know-how to build a website on their own. Mono DIWM takes a collaborative approach, giving the small business the freedom to control their digital presence, while giving them access to the expertise of their digital agency. Read more here.

Make it a point to keep communication channels open with your customer. Not only will it help avid misunderstandings and make your job easier, but it will also foster a good relationship between you and put you in front of mind for future projects.


6. Marketing & SEO

Creating a beautiful website is only the first step; driving traffic and ensuring visibility on search engines is equally crucial. However, staying up to date with the ever-evolving world of SEO can be daunting.

A solution that many agencies choose is to partner with SEO experts who can provide insights, guidance, and strategies to optimize websites for search engines. 

Building your website on a good content management system (CMS) is key to achieving good rankings.

Our partners, who use the Mono white-label website builder, don’t have to worry about this aspect as Mono builds all templates with the latest SEO information in mind, and the platform itself is built and kept up to date using SEO best practices. After that it is up to the SMB customer to create content following SEO best practices. They can always refer to our SEO checker to identify SEO gaps on their site.  

Marketing is another issue that web agencies struggle with. You spend all your time helping your customers succeed, it can feel like there is no time left to help your own business grow!

However, crafting an effective marketing plan is essential for web agencies to promote their services and attract clients. To create a successful marketing strategy, web agencies can start by conducting a comprehensive analysis of their target audience and competitive landscape to define clear and achievable marketing objectives, whether it's increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or expanding into new markets.

Next, outline a well-rounded mix of marketing tactics that align with your goals. This might include building an engaging website that showcases your portfolio and expertise, utilizing content marketing to share valuable insights, creating case studies and client testimonials to demonstrate success, optimizing your presence on social media platforms, and leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve online visibility. Paid advertising campaigns, email marketing, and networking at industry events can also play a role in reaching a wider audience.

A comprehensive marketing plan should also establish a budget for each tactic, set a timeline for implementation, and define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of the strategy. Regularly tracking and analyzing the results will enable agencies to refine their approach, reallocating resources to the most successful tactics and making necessary adjustments to optimize their marketing efforts.

By combining a deep understanding of their target market with a well-structured plan of action, web agencies can create a robust marketing strategy that drives business growth and establishes their brand as a leader in the industry. 


7. Pricing Projects and Cost of Ownership

Balancing competitive pricing with profitability is an ongoing challenge. Underpricing can lead to financial strain, while overpricing can deter potential clients.

Conduct thorough market research to understand industry pricing trends. Consider a tiered pricing model that caters to different client budgets while ensuring each project remains profitable.

Many of our partners prefer packages and monthly prices, as these are easier to manage and make it easier to avoid underpricing.

Underpricing can happen because of problems identifying and dealing with Cost of Ownership. Cost of ownership for web agencies refers to the total expenses associated with creating, developing, maintaining, and managing websites or digital projects on behalf of their clients. This includes initial design and development costs, ongoing maintenance expenses, hosting fees, content updates, security measures, and any unforeseen technical issues that may arise. Essentially, it encapsulates the entire lifecycle of a website or digital product.

The Cost of Ownership can increase as a result of all of the challenges mentioned in this article, so it is important for agencies to take all of them seriously and find ways to improve.

Most web agencies successfully keep costs related to man hours, technology and infrastructure in mind, but many other aspects of agency business also add to this cost and are not always accounted for, such as scope creep, security and maintenance, unpredictable issues: Technical glitches such as server downtime, client miscommunications and more.

Our experience is that the real cost is often higher than you think, because of ‘invisible’ costs – costs that are hard to quantify or detect. They might consist of a few man hours here or there, when something breaks, or extra cognitive load, because a designer needs to remember to upload the new brand colour in fifty-seven different places, or because a client is in the middle of a crisis and takes it out on you. 

To bring down Cost of Ownership, it is first important for the agency to be aware of all the ways in which costs are kept high. If you can find a way to measure or quantify how much it costs for you to, say, maintain the security of your websites, or technical glitches, you can more easily come up with a solution.


8. Keeping customer data secure

Having a database of valued customers is a great problem to have as an agency. However, it is also a privilege that presents potential issues which need to be taken seriously.

Exposing customer data to competitors, ex-employees or other stakeholders could result in GDPR complaints, losing customers to competitors, or simply create a sense of distrust in you. As someone who handles your customers’ sensitive information, you are responsible for it not falling into the wrong hands. 

Combat this pain point by using a secure CMS that allows you full control of who has access to customer data. Keep the data within the system, and try not to send information over email, in spreadsheets or other non-secure places where unauthorised people can get access to it.

Being able to define multiple user roles can give great peace of mind for the agency. Need to bring in a freelancer during busy times to fulfil sites or create content? Give them access only to edit what they need to edit. No access to sensitive customer data or subscriptions.

With Mono’s multi-site management tool, you can assign over 10 different user roles with varying permissions and restrictions; allowing you to limit access of your own team to sensitive customer data to only those who need it. Want to try this out for yourself and see what else our multi-site management tool can offer? Get a free trial of the entire Mono white label website builder and Reseller Admin Interface here


9. Website maintenance and performance

Website maintenance and performance can become a significant time and money sink for agencies. Websites are often built on various technologies and platforms, such as content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or custom-built frameworks. Most of those technologies require regular updates to ensure security, compatibility, and feature enhancements (Mono is an exception of course – we take care of all bug fixes and code updates etc).

Agencies must allocate time and resources to monitor and implement these updates. Websites are complex systems with multiple components that can experience technical issues, both within the native system but also in terms of for example third party integrations and security systems.

Agencies must allocate time and effort to identify, diagnose, and resolve bugs, broken links, and other technical glitches that can arise over time. They must invest in security measures like firewalls, regular security audits, and malware scanning to protect the website and its data.

Slow-loading websites can drive users away and negatively impact search engine rankings. Optimizing website performance requires continuous monitoring, analysis, and adjustments to elements like page speed, images, code, and server response times. This optimization process demands ongoing attention to detail. 
Choosing the right hosting provider and server configuration can affect a website's speed and reliability.

Agencies often need to invest in quality hosting services, which can involve costs that vary based on the level of performance and resources required.

All these factors combined make website maintenance and performance a continuous endeavor that demands agency resources in terms of time, expertise, and often financial investment.

Ignoring these aspects can lead to degraded user experiences, security vulnerabilities, and reduced business opportunities. That is why we have worked hard to make the Mono White-Label Platform an all-in-one-solution, meaning that we as the provider are responsible for bug fixes, upkeep and optimising performance, leaving you the agency to do what you do best. 


Wrapping up

In conclusion, the life of a digital agency is a rollercoaster ride of challenges and triumphs. By leveraging technology, tools, and strategic partnerships, agencies can navigate the often-complex landscape with confidence. As a white-label website platform, we are committed to supporting agencies in overcoming these common pain points. Through continuous innovation and collaboration, we aim to empower digital agencies to thrive, exceed client expectations, and continue shaping the digital world. If you would like to try our platform, we can set you up with a demo account and a free trial. Click here to get started.