A cheap website design may on the surface sound like a good deal. It might be all that you can afford right now. However, what are the pitfalls? This article highlights the pitfalls of going for a cheap website design, how going in for the cheapest option can end up costing a lot more and 4 tips if you have limited funds.
What you get with a Cheap Website Design deal
You get what you pay for and the same is true in website design.
A cheap website will be basic.
- No advice on how to make it better
- No feedback on your copy
- Limited changes allowed (or extra ££ for changes)
- No guidance on how to update it yourself.
- No SEO (so it will never appear in any search engines)
- No analytics (so you’ll never know if anyone is visiting your website and what pages they’re visiting)
- No lead capture (so it’ll never contribute to any sales)
- No optimisation for speed
- No backups
- No security
- No comeback when things go wrong.
And that’s assuming the web designer hasn’t vanished in the meantime.
Anyone producing sites for around the £500 mark should be a red flag warning to you – check closely.
It could be indicative that they don’t have the experience to know what else needs to be included.
Things like SEO, security, lead capture, good copy and images, intuitive site structure.
Because without these, your new website will be vulnerable to hack attacks and won’t be found by your ideal clients, which means your site won’t feed you with new clients and therefore your £500 investment is wasted.
Cheap Website Design Tip 1
Make sure your web quote includes the things I’ve listed above.
Know who will provide copy and if you need it, what assistance/feedback will they give you (if any).
The cheap website designers who vanish
An inexperienced web designer underestimates the real time in creating a website.
They don’t realise it takes much longer than they anticipate, which means they are lucky if their effective hourly rate is the minimum wage. Which is why they disappear and never finish the job.
Running any business where you get paid the minimum wage, or even slightly over, isn’t viable. Hence, a cheap web builder will be constantly looking out for bigger and better jobs.
Sometimes, it’s because they’re between jobs, so it’s just a gap filler. So, when something bigger and better comes along, they drop your £500 web build project.
Just look at the posts in social media from desperate small business owners complaining their cheap website builder isn’t responding to emails or phone messages. It’s like they’ve disappeared.
The truth is they probably have… disappeared to a better paying job.
The cheap website builder hasn’t got a handle on all the other overheads of running a business (even if it is from home). They don’t cost it in their work.
When the numbers don’t stack up, they decide that running a web building business isn’t for them as they couldn’t make enough money.
All because they were too cheap.
The customer thought they were getting a bargain, but now they’re left with at best, an incomplete website they’re not happy with, at worst, not even login details where they can go in and change it.
With no login details you can’t even get it finished by someone competent (like me). And of course, if you do get login details, that ‘someone competent like me’ will need to be paid on top of what you’ve already paid and the whole web building project turns into an expensive nightmare.
You wished you’d gone with the more expensive web designer in the first place, because although they may have been more expensive, they know what they’re doing, will produce something you love and will be proud of.
Cheap Website Design Tip 2
Do your due diligence on your web designer. Find out how long they’ve been in business for and ask to see other web projects they’ve designed. Also find out about their personal circumstances – their health, planned holidays and whether they are between jobs/unemployed (another red flag), particularly if their quote is cheap. What back up do they have in place if they can’t work and where in the world are they based if they do sub-contract.
The ‘go in cheap then add-on extras when it’s too late to pull out’ deal
Another pitfall I’ve come across when small business owners have come to me after their first bad experience of going in cheap.
The website build was cheap enough, but now the designer has slapped on extra charges for seemingly basic features, amends and ongoing costs.
Some cheaper web designers like to insist you use their hosting services when they build your website.
Hosting is where the files that make up your website are stored and that has an ongoing cost element to it.
They resell the hosting services of other providers and that’s where they make their money.
They may draw you in with claims that they can’t guarantee the website they build will work on any other hosting. While there are some hosts better than others, being tied into the web designer’s hosting leaves you vulnerable.
What if you fall out with them? If you’re dependent on them for hosting too, then that can be tricky.
Or if they go out of business, or stop paying their hosting fees? Your website goes down with them.
Some don’t even tell you that’s an ongoing cost, so you’re left feeling stung and over a barrel.
Without hosting, there’s nowhere for your website to live.
You go with their hosting and think you’re safe until something goes wrong. The site is hacked or you click a button, something catastrophic happens and your website isn’t there anymore.
That’s when they tell you that backups are extra and they have none. Even if there was a back up, they will likely charge you extra to restore it.
You’re over a barrel again so get your wallet out and pay, but you’re left with that horrible feeling you’ve been done over.
Cheap Website Design Tip 3
Be clear about what is provided. Ask about on-going costs, like hosting & amends (and whether you can make amendments and new pages yourself)
What to do if web building funds are low
You now know that it’s worth paying more for someone reliable and experienced, but what if you just don’t have the funds to pay for someone good?
Firstly, get clued up on what makes good web design. Read my blog posts and free guides. Research what you like and don’t like. Make sure you’re aware what’s needed in the back end as well.
Second, consider building it yourself using a DIY platform!
To save you months of sifting the internet for good trainings, I’ve created the Super Easy Website Programme using techniques and strategies that I use for my clients.
It’s even suitable for the technically challenged who don’t consider themselves techie. At least that way you’ll have a good starter website that’s secure, seo’d and has lead capture.
Then when you’ve made more money (because now your website will be attracting and nurturing leads) you’ll soon have funds enough to get version 2 with more gizmos and features (like e-commerce and membership sites) done professionally by someone good like me 😉 if that’s what you want.
Cheap Website Design Tip 4
Take time to research what makes good website design so you know what to ask for and expect from a cheap website designer.
Understand that your website is an investment and should sell more of what you do so you can afford an experienced good web designer (like me)!
Do it yourself! And invest in an online programme that shows you exactly what to do. Like my Super Easy Website Programme.
Because Your (Business) is Worth it
So, there you have the difference between a cheap website design (where you could be left high, dry, out of pocket and website-less) and a reassuringly expensive web designer (who will treat your business website like one of their own children) and create a website that attracts and converts your dream clients that you’re proud of.
The old adage is true, you get what you pay for. Your website is the online version of your business and like a famous ad says ‘because you’re worth it‘.