Recently, there’s been a splurge of new would-be web designers coming on the market offering website building for around the £500 price range. A £500 website sounds like a good deal and if you’re on a low budget might be all that you can afford right now. However, is it really such a good deal? There are some horror stories I’ve heard and this article highlights the pitfalls of going for a cheap website, what you don’t get that might end up costing you more and what to do if you have limited funds.
What you get with a £500 website deal
You will get a basic site. And it will be basic.
No guidance how to make it better.
No guidance 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)
And that’s assuming the web designer hasn’t vanished in the meantime.
Why do cheap web designers vanish?
I’ve been creating websites for over 10 years now, so I know a thing or two about what’s involved in creating a website. I know how long they take to build and tweak.
If I was to sell website design for £500 then I’d have to compromise on the quality of what I produce.
Anyone producing sites for around the £500 mark don’t have the experience to know what else needs to be included. Things like SEO, security, lead capture, because without these, your new website will be vulnerable to hack attacks and won’t be found by your ideal clients, which means you won’t get a return of your investment.
An inexperienced web designer underestimates the real time in creating a new 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 £500 web builder will be constantly looking out for bigger and better jobs. Often 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. It’s why you so many posts in social media from desparate small business owners complaining their cheap web 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.Why do cheap web designers vanish? Here's why Click To Tweet
The cheap web builder hasn’t got a handle on all the other overheads of running a business (even if it is from home) so don’t cost it in their work. Decide that running a web building business isn’t for them as they couldn’t make enough money. All because they were too cheap.
You thought you were getting a bargain, but now you’re left with at best, an incomplete website you’re not happy with, at worst, not even login details that you can go in and change it. And 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 else’ will need to be paid on top of what you’ve already paid and the whole web building project has turned into an expensive nightmare that 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.
The ‘go in cheap then add-on extras when it’s too late to pull out’ deal
Here’s 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 and ongoing costs.
Some web designers like to insist you use their hosting services when they build your website. And that’s where they make their money. The hosting service is expensive and they draw you in with claims that they can’t guarantee the website they build will work on any other hosting. 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. It needs restoring. That’s when they tell you that backups are extra and they have none. Even if they had a back up, then it’s going to cost 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.
How to choose a good web designer
Expensive doesn’t always mean good. Ask to see their previous work and speak to their past customers. Ask lots of questions – do they sub contract, where are they based, do they outsource to developing countries where English isn’t their first language and time zones are different. Read my blog post about choosing a good web designer.
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. Research what you like and don’t like. Make sure you’re aware what’s needed in the back end as well. Watch my free online training – how to create a really good website where I share good website strategy.
Second, consider building it yourself! To save you months of sifting the internet for good trainings, I’ve created an online training course where I show you in 10 simple steps how to build a website 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.
So there you have the difference between a cheap website builder (who could leave you 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). 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‘.