Is a Subscription-Based Web Design Service the Industry's Future?

August 28, 2023

Is a Subscription based future here to stay?

In the startup world, some ideas seem preposterous at first glance but become game-changers. Remember when subscription services for clothes, meals, and software were initially met with scepticism? Fast forward to 2023, and we can't imagine life without Netflix for entertainment or Adobe Creative Cloud for work. A question has been looming large over the tech industry: Will web design and development services join the subscription model revolution?

Webflow Subscription Model

The Shift to Subscription Models: An Overview

You'd have to live under a digital rock to have missed the shift to subscription models across various industries. From Software as a Service (SaaS) to coffee and razor blade deliveries, the business world is becoming more inclined towards a steady, recurring revenue stream.

  • Predictable Revenue: Companies find it easier to project earnings and make long-term plans.
  • Customer Retention: A subscription model often leads to increased customer loyalty.
  • Ongoing Value: Continuous updates or add-ons provide persistent value to the customers, making the relationship less transactional.

The Case for Subscription-Based Web Agencies


  • Cost-Effectiveness for Clients: Paying a fixed monthly or yearly fee can be easier on the budget than a significant upfront cost.
  • Continuous Updates and Support: Your website isn’t static. With a subscription model, agencies can offer continuous improvements and real-time support.
  • Quality Control: When agencies are committed to a longer-term relationship, they have more skin in the game. This often translates to higher-quality work.
  • Access to Multi-Disciplinary Skills: Think of it as your extended in-house team. You get to tap into a pool of UX, development, and SEO experts without recruiting them full-time.


  • Cost Over Time: Though cost-effective in the short term, the cost over a more extended period can exceed that of a one-off project.
  • Limited Ownership: Some agencies may retain control over the code or designs, making switching to another service provider hard.
  • Potential for Complacency: With guaranteed recurring revenue, some agencies may become less proactive in delivering value.

The Skeptic's Viewpoint: The Traditional Model Ain’t Broke


  • One-Time Investment: Pay once, and the work is done. There is no need for ongoing payments unless you seek additional services.
  • Complete Ownership: All design assets and code are yours, offering complete freedom to modify or migrate your site.
  • Customisation: Agencies are often more willing to tailor the project to your specifications, as they can charge separately.


  • High Upfront Costs: A quality website can set you back considerably.
  • Stagnation Risk: Once the project is complete, the agency has little incentive to offer updates unless paid.
  • Additional Costs for Updates: Any further modifications or troubleshooting come at an extra cost.

The Verdict

So, is a subscription-based web design and development agency the industry’s future? The truth is, it could very well be one of the future paths. As with most disruptions, the market will likely accommodate both models, with each serving the specific needs of different client types.

The subscription model intrigues startups, SMBs, and organisations that value ongoing support and iterative improvement over one-and-done projects. On the other hand, enterprises with the resources to manage extensive, one-time investments might find the traditional model more to their liking.

Either way, the real game-changer will be agencies offering quality, flexibility, and a deep understanding of their clients' ever-evolving needs. Subscription or not, the future belongs to those who can adapt and deliver consistent value.

Find out more below how 3SIX5 Digital could help supply that subscription service for you.

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