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Freelancer vs Agency: Who Should You Hire?

With every technology update and advancement, the world is coming in much closer and is bringing everybody together. For each and everything we see out there, there is a website or a mobile app related to it, be it a product or a service. The individuals or organizations working on these updates and advancements also need to be in sync with each other. In order to grow the business, they will need to put out more websites and mobile apps.

For these software developments, we need specialists to help us create the best possible product. If you need your car fixed, you go to a garage and get it fixed by the one who is an expert in cars. The same applies to the software development industry. You will have to find a professional you can trust with the design, development, and deployment of your software.

The important question is, how do you find the right fit at the right price? Would it be better to hire a freelancer to do multiple jobs or an agency with specialized skills?

Freelancers vs. Full-Service Agencies

Building a world-class website requires a team of experts with many areas of expertise. One person simply cannot do it all (or cannot excel in all areas). Why? Here is an example.

Would you hire just one person to build an entire house for you from the ground up: obtaining permits, architectural design, foundation, plumbing, electrical, roofing, painting and decorating? Can you imagine the finished home at the hand of one individual attempting to fulfill all these elements of construction? A world-class website, the kind of website that can actually achieve your business goals, is not a one-man job. It takes a small army of professionals, each with their specialty, working compatibly over an extended amount of time.

Step By Step Guide

  1. Successful business websites require business-minded project managers who can delegate projects effectively. They work with market research professionals who study the needs of your customers.
  2. Usability experts create user-centric experiences. Following this phase, art directors and designers transform these plans into effective designs.
  3. Coders and programmers convert designs into a functional website, which, in turn, is tested by quality assurance teams.
  4. Driving traffic to a website is the job of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO) specialists.
  5. System administrators ensure the website is fully operational around the clock, and account executives manage client communications.
  6. Some projects may require additional services from photographers, illustrators, videographers, voice-over artists, post-production specialists, animators, data entry personnel, mobile marketers, IT strategists and security experts. The list of specialists grows depending on the complexity of the project.

If you hire a single individual to complete your entire project, it is likely they will have to outsource some of the tasks. If they focus strictly on cost-effective measures and cut corners on talent and resources, the unfavorable result will fall on your shoulders. You may find yourself managing efforts in an industry where you lack expertise.

Hiring an Agency

  1. Skills. An agency makes more effort at learning new skills. They constantly update themselves with new technologies and try to offer you the best possible tools for development.
  2. Consultation. Because you are working with a team here, you get tips and advice for almost every part of your project as the team will consist of people from different backgrounds with different expertise.
  3. Accountability. When you hire an agency, a project manager will be tasked to handle your freelancers. The project manager handles the team, tracks the hours, and provides feedback. It’s easier to go through a project manager who watches the team, than individually checking each freelancer. This gives you more time for other important things like client meetings. Also, you don’t have to worry about freelancers dropping your project. They can provide replacements if emergencies happen.
  4. More coordination. Handling one person can be extremely easy. But when there is a team that handles the whole project, you don’t need to worry about the coordination as the team will have different members assigned for different tasks and this is managed internally.
  5. Long-term work relationship. Finding the right team helps you take on more projects in the future. Since you already have a team with a set of special skills, you’ll be more confident to accept bigger projects.

Hiring a Freelancer

  1. Availability. Freelancers have flexible schedules. They are location independent and can work anywhere, as long as they have a strong internet connection. However, this can be a problem if you are in a different time zone from your freelancer. There might be times that he’s unavailable if you urgently need them.
  2. Work overload. A solo freelancer works for many clients. Sometimes, the tasks and deadlines pile up on his desk. This can affect the freelancer’s performance. The projects might be rushed and not properly done because they are too exhausted. This can bring less satisfying results.
  3. Looking for a replacement can be difficult. One of the common freelance hiring nightmares are workers who disappear or quit completely. Though a huge chunk of freelancers is reliable, emergencies happen sometimes. Certain factors and reasons can cause a freelancer to quit the project. You can hire a replacement in a breeze, but that means you need to go through step one again. Also, if the freelancer is already halfway in his work, it can be hard for the new freelancer to continue it.
  4. Managing multiple freelancers can be tough. If you need many specialists, you’ll need multiple freelancers. For example, if your project needs a writer, a coder, and a graphic designer, you need to hire three people. Handling them all at the same time can be a daunting task, especially if they live in different time zones.
  5. Less Control. When you work with an individual you will have to trust whatever information is provided to you. Sometimes the information given to you is outdated or not beneficial. But there is not much control over it.
  6. Confidentiality. Freelancers often don’t sign contracts. When there is no contract, there is also no non-disclosure agreement. Because of this, there are chances of your ideas and designs being leaked out.


Hiring an agency is advisable if:

  • The project is complex and requires multiple work streams and phases to manage.
  • Need multiple specialists.
  • Tight deadline.
  • You can’t manage multiple freelancers.
  • You are always busy and can’t always keep up with the team.


So, should you hire an individual freelancer or an agency?

What is a Payment Gateway and How Does It Work?

Online payments have become a part of our daily lives in no time. We’re transacting online not only through debit or credit cards but through numerous other modes like net banking, wallets, etc.

Online invoice payment helps companies save time, is faster and saves maximum efforts for the clients. It helps in reducing,

  • excessive costs involved in physical transactions
  • significant amount of paper invoices that will be printed and used to send invoices.

Online payments allow you to buy products and services from all over the world. If you are a seller, you can sell to anyone in the world with a decent internet connection. Your customer doesn’t even need to have a computer; a smartphone is enough.

But what exactly is a payment gateway? Is it safe to transact through a payment gateway? Does it make sense for your business to have a payment gateway integration? Let’s find out.

What is a Payment Gateway?

Payment gateways are software and servers that transmit transaction information to acquiring banks and responses from issuing banks (such as whether a transaction is approved or declined). Essentially, payment gateways facilitate communication within banks and plays the role of a third party that securely transfers your money from the bank account to the merchant’s payment portal.

How do payment gateways work?

The transaction flow is the same whether you’re using a physical or virtual payment gateway, but mobile and online payments use digital capture files for packaging the credit card information rather than output from a credit card reader:

  1. The buyer makes a credit card payment through the merchant’s credit card reader or e-commerce site.
  2. The payment gateway:
  • Pushes the transaction information to the acquiring bank (the merchant bank or acquirer)
  • Determines which credit card network (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) issued the buyer’s card
  • Routes the transaction information to the correct payment switch
  1. The payment switch routes the request to the bank that issued the buyer’s credit card (the issuing bank) and pushes the transaction information onto the correct credit card network.
  2. The issuing bank applies fraud detection procedures to determine the legitimacy of the transaction and confirms the buyer has sufficient credit in their account to accommodate the purchase.
  3. The issuing bank approves (or rejects) the transaction and sends this information back through the credit card network to the merchant bank and the payment gateway.
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Security Standards

Security is an integral component of all payment gateways, as sensitive data such as credit card numbers need to be protected from any fraudulent parties. The card associations have created a set of rules and security standards that must be followed by anyone with access to card information including gateways. This set of rules and security standards is called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS or PCI).

Submitting an order is usually completed using the HTTPS protocol, which securely communicates personal information through the parties involved in the transaction.

Opening Your Payment Gateway for Business

Once you understand the importance of a payment gateway and its impact on your sales and security, it’s time to take the next steps:

  • Research with key priorities in mind. Check the PCI compliance of your potential payment solution to ensure its security, and always look for per-transaction prices to get a sense of how a gateway will impact your bottom line.
  • Understand what your customers want. Even if you don’t have a payment gateway, there are insights you may already have that you need to leverage. Which payment services do your customers prefer, and what’s the most convenient way to facilitate these preferences?
  • Stack multiple gateways to fill gaps. You don’t have to commit to one gateway for the rest of your days. You can even stack multiple gateways at once to ensure maximum coverage for most customer needs.
  • Like with almost any service, there are fees associated with them. You’ll have to pay transaction fees for your business — so pay attention to your gateway’s costs and do your research before integrating it into your site so you’re not slammed with surprise fees.
  • Different fees charged can include transaction, statement, chargeback, merchant account fees, and likely more — such as fees to customers for using a certain payment method. And not surprisingly, customers do NOT like hidden costs so read the fine print.

With a better knowledge of price, function, and gateway security, your business will be in the position to choose the right option for your business needs and add a new level of security (and peace of mind) that customers need when making a purchase online.

Top Payment Gateways for Ecommerce Businesses In 2019

Top 10 Advantages Of Using Laravel PHP Framework

Laravel framework is very popular for custom software development. It is the Most Starred PHP Framework on Github: more than 35 000 developers from all over the world (mostly from the USA) greatly appreciate robust features of this platform. Based on data of the BuiltWith, Laravel’s popular website verticals include Business, Entertainment, Media, News, Shopping, Technology, Vehicles. Why is Laravel so popular?

Building Authentication and Authorization Systems

Each owner of the web application needs to ensure that users are who they claim to be and thus prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to secured/paid resources.

Laravel benefit #1: Laravel makes implementing authentication very simple. Almost everything is configured out-of-the-box. Laravel also provides a simple way to organize authorization logic and control access to resources.

Integration with Mail Services

Mail service can be used to send notifications to users’ emails after various events. It’s hard to imagine a modern web application, for example, lacking even a simple email notification to a new user about their successful registration on the website.

Laravel benefit #2: Laravel provides a clean, simple API over the popular SwiftMailer library. Laravel also provides drivers for SMTP, Mailgun, Mandrill, SparkPost, Amazon SES, PHP’s “mail” function, and “sendmail”, allowing an application to quickly get started sending mail through a local or cloud-based service. In addition to support for sending email, Laravel provides support for sending notifications across a variety of delivery channels, including SMS (via Nexmo) and Slack.

Integration with Tools for Making Web Applications Faster

It is important not just to create an application but also to create a fast application, which will result in accelerating revenue. Integration with the so-called caching backend is often one of the main steps taken to improve a web application performance.

Laravel benefit #3: Laravel supports popular cache backends like Memcached and Redis out-of-the-box. By default, Laravel is configured to use the file cache driver, which stores cached objects in the file system. For larger applications, it is better to use an in-memory cache such as Memcached or APC. However, with Laravel it is even possible to configure multiple cache configurations.

Fixing the Most Common Technical Vulnerabilities

Security vulnerabilities go hand-in-hand with the development of any web application. American non-profit organization, The OWASP Foundation, describes the most critical web application security vulnerabilities: SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, cross-site scripting, etc. The developer must not forget and be able to fix all of them before delivery.

Laravel benefit #4: Laravel helps to secure the web application by protecting it against the most serious security risks: SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, and cross-site scripting. Laravel itself is secure. We can tell you first hand that the codebase is fanatically guarded, and that the code has been vetted by several people.

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Configuration Error and Exception Handling

The way a software application handles errors can have a big impact on user satisfaction and usability of the application. Data-entry forms are one of the most common places where errors are identified and presented after users click a Submit Button. If something does not work because of the user doing something wrong, he/she should be notified about it in a convenient form. If the user’s action cannot be completed because of the user-submitted incorrect data, it should be reported to him/her in an informative error message. Without proper error handling, the user may decide that the problem is in the application (it is out of service) and move away from the application forever. Nobody wants to lose their customers or to disappoint them.

Laravel benefit #5: Error and exception handling is already configured for any new Laravel-based project. In addition, Laravel is integrated with the Monolog logging library, which provides support for a variety of powerful log handlers.

Automation of Testing Work

Without testing and verifying what the developer has created, how can anyone (including the developer) be sure that the software will perform without any crashes, bugs, errors and in accordance with the initial application requirements? Automation testing is less time-consuming and in many cases more exact than manual testing.

Laravel benefit #6: Laravel is built with testing in mind. In fact, support for testing with PHPUnit is included out-of-the-box and a phpunit.xml file is already setup for the application. The framework also ships with convenient helper methods allowing for expressive testing of the applications. It provides easy ways for simulating the basic behavior of users (making requests to the application and examining the output, for example, clicking links, filling out forms).

URL Routing Configuration

Users will utilize a web application by clicking or typing links. They will hope to see the desired content, for example, an article, a contact form, product description, etc. If there is no URL routing, the web application will never understand what the user wants to see and may show a blank page or an error page instead.

Laravel benefit #7: All Laravel routes are defined in the app/Http/routes.php file, which is automatically loaded by the framework. The most basic Laravel routes simply accept a URI and a Closure, providing a very simple and expressive method of defining routes.

Separation of “Business Logic Code” from “Presentation Code”

Such separation enables Html Layout Designers (less costly staff) to change the appearance of a web page easily without interacting with Developers (more expensive stuff). Possible bug fixes and feature requests would be done by developers faster (read as “cost-effectively”) if all programming code of the web application has the appropriate separation at the early stage of the development.

Laravel benefit #8: Laravel is an MVC framework, so separation is already done. See the figure: the full MVC request cycle in a Laravel 5 application.

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Message Queue System (Delayed Delivery) Configuration

It’s not just about simple email messages, but about a lot of forms of communication between different parts of the application or between different applications. The more traffic a web application gets, the more requests it must handle per second, the bigger the risk will be that hosting this application will be very expensive (especially, cloud hosting) or that the webserver will stop working with data loss.

No stakeholder likes to appear in situations such as this. To prevent it, developers may decide to use the message queue system at the start of project development among other techniques for load balancing, increasing application speed and keeping data integrity.

Laravel benefit #9: The Laravel queue service provides a unified API across a variety of different queue backends. Queues allow you to defer the processing of a time-consuming task, such as sending an e-mail, until a later time, which drastically speeds up web requests to your application.

Scheduling Tasks Configuration and Management

Whether it is necessary to send out emails to the subscribers each morning or automatic cleanup of the database tables at the end of the day (to make the application faster and to reduce the cost of hosting), any web app needs a task scheduling mechanism to take care of the tasks, when it’s time.

Laravel benefit #10: In the past, developers have generated a Cron entry for each task they need to schedule. However, this is a headache. Such a task schedule is no longer in source control, and developers must SSH into the server to add the Cron entries. The Laravel command scheduler allows for the fluent and expressive defining of command schedule within Laravel itself, and only a single Cron entry is needed on the server.


Taking a look at some trends allows us to instantly grasp just how quickly things are evolving.

Laravel popularity over time according to Google Trends

Right now is the perfect time to start developing applications using Laravel. The ecosystem is still dynamic and ever-growing, yet it is mature enough to handle any potential use case. The fact that so many businesses and developers are switching to Laravel every day speaks for itself.