We do not know a single person or business that does not like a great bargain. More often than not there is nothing wrong with bargain hunting or shopping for the cheapest possible option. But, when it comes to your online brand via your website, the cheapest possible option will more than likely leave you feeling empty or costing you more in the long run. As with most things – if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Mellanie Jenkins, Owner of Sporting Images, found herself in this exact position and experienced the pain of opting for the cheapest website design company and found herself having to deal with the consquences. “We had a website that was dead in the water. We got it for cheap, but only later realised that it was going to cause us big issues. We got no online inquiries, we were not able to change anything, got no support, and were left to fend for ourselves. If we had known this in the beginning we would have paid triple the amount to get what we have now,” says Jenkins. She adds, “we now get 3-5 online inquiries per week and changing our content, updating a design, or adding new information is only a phone call away.”
This is not the only company with experiences like this. There are many businesses that have fallen into the quick and cheap trap and this article serves to highlights some of the most common issues associated with a cheap website design. It also provides some pointers and self-reflecting questions to make sure you don’t fall prey to the appeal of a quick and cheap website design.
Areas of concern with a cheap website design:
A cheap website design is usually poorly designed or purely template driven
One of the questions you need to ask yourself is “How much do I value my brand and do I want my brand to be unique?” If you value your brand and want it to grow, and/or want it to be unique then be wary of opting for a cheap website design. Cheap designs are often template driven, meaning that you will have the same website as a lot of other business, with information and logos being the only difference. You need to be aware of things like responsive design (for mobile devices), modern design principles, user experience, calls-to-action and a design that caters to your business and brand’s specific needs. You need to remember that you control your brand and not the company designing your website so you determine the look, feel and design and the design experts facilitate and advise on best practices as you move along. The main question to answer is: “if you are not unique, then why should people/businesses buy from you?”
There is little to no support when opting for a cheap website design
If you think that you are going to build a website once and leave it as is, then you are going to get some horrible and unexpected surprises. Your website acts much the same as your business and your brand – it undergoes constant change and needs to be dynamic. When you need changes made to your website, content, images, layout or company details and you have opted for the cheapest possible quote then you can expect these things to remain unchanged. Ultimately you get what you pay for and by slapping together quick, out-of-the-template driven websites, you can expect to be left high and dry when it comes to potential problems or follow-up questions. The main question to answer is: “what do you do if something goes wrong?”
A cheap website design will have minimal functionality
If you chose the cheap website design option then the chances are that you wouldn’t have got more than a couple of pages with a standard layout – leaving your visitors with not much to do, see or read. Modern website design is all about responsive design (ability for website to adapt to different screen sizes), enhanced user experiences, custom and detailed call-to-actions (contact forms, social media integration, custom landing pages, etc.) and interaction. Most budget website designs will not include these vital elements and to get them included the prices suddenly won’t seem as attractive. The main question to ask here is “do you want to give your visitors a pleasant online experience when interacting with your brand?”
No ongoing updates will come with a cheap website design
Do you know if your website is up to date with the latest release? Do you know why new releases were published or updated best-practices were advised? The chances are very high that you will answer no to all of the above questions, which is one of the dangers of cheap website design. To keep a website running smoothly it is important to make regular updates to software, themes, codes and plugins. Companies that give you a cheap website won’t do this for you, never mind update on a monthly basis, as you are on your own once you have paid and the website has been delivered. By not updating your website on a regular basis you face the risk of developing glitches, losing the website completely, and worst of all being hacked. The main question to ask yourself is “do you want to unpredictability that comes with outdated versions of your website?”
Legal issues with cheap website designs
Following on from the section above on ongoing updates comes the legal issues businesses face by having vulnerable websites. When you buy a cheap website design you are not buying the latest, safest, and most reliable versions of the required tools and software. With a number of different acts and laws protecting the personal information of people your business can face ongoing legal battles should your cheap website design turn into a data mining repository for hackers. When you publish a website you are taking on the responsibility to protect every little bit of information that get gathered. If you have contact forms, members areas, or an online store then you need to make sure that you pay the highest level of attention to safeguarding information that is gathered via your website – something that cheap website designs will not be able to give you. The question to ask here is “do I know if I am protecting the information of my website visitors?”
Little to no SEO with a cheap website design
Having a website is one thing – having a website that can be found and is being used is another. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one the main lifelines of websites and without this leaves you with a website that you paid for that cannot be searched for. We have come across businesses whose website would show up when searching for their company name, never mind the product or service they offered. When you buy a cheap website you will not be getting any SEO, which renders your decision useless as no-one will find you. You will also find that cheap website design companies offer one-off SEO with SEO certificates, but what they fail to tell you is that search engine optimisation takes continuous work as there are constantly new updates being released. What worked on website for SEO 2 years ago, doesn’t work now and get you heavily penalised by search engines. For this reason it is vital to stay on top of SEO and not get once-off implementations or not have anything at all. The main question to ask about SEO is “is my website being found and are people visiting it?”
Cheap websites leave you with no feedback or analytics
Does your business want to justify spend and want to determine the ROI on activities and marketing campaigns? If it does then you can expect to be left in the dark if you opted for a cheap website design. As budget websites are more often than not once off projects you can expect to see no feedback or reports. Getting detailed website reports are vital to the online success of your brand. These reports also provide you with valuable target audience data that can be used to more accurately target further campaigns. Do you know where your website visitors are from, do you know their age bracket, do you know how many visits you get every month and how many of those converted? These are only a couple of questions you need to ask yourself when deciding to choose the cheapest option.
In conclusion, the areas above clearly show that you get what you pay for. If you choose a cheap website design then you need to be aware that there will be serious gaps between you and your competitors. You will also be putting your business at risk of blending in with the crowd, collapsing at the mercy of hackers and not being found online. If these do not rise any alarms or do not seem necessary, then by all means embark on that journey. The question you need to ask yourself is what is going to happen when these issues appear, as it is not a matter of if they will appear as opposed to when.
Savvy Sprout is a professional and modern marketing company that focuses on giving businesses the complete brand experience. From the very foundation of your brand through to the finest detail, we will support you every step of the way. With experts in the fields of graphic design, website design, corporate branding, marketing, and more we are able to cater to your specific needs and requirements. If you feel that your website is not up to scratch, may be out-dated, or vulnerable, then please feel free to contact us to see how we can build your brand into a platform for growth. We will not give you a cheap website design, instead we will give you a website that exceed all the above criteria, meets your requirements and delivers ongoing results.