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Why we don’t like cheap websites[ 6 min read ]

We come across people regularly who have been promised the earth and ended up with something much less impressive. Of course, there are a lot of industries there are unscrupulous characters, it’s not just digital; there will always be people who say they can do something, and really they cannot.
This has been a big problem in the digital industry for some time and sadly is spreading to other areas.

Back in January, I had a bit of a rant about people building their own website. Following on from that I wanted to expand on why we’re not a fan of cheap websites either. When I say cheap, I am not just talking about the cash side of it!


A cheap price does not always mean good value

The temptation to go for a cheap build is a massive one, particularly if you are a really small business or a startup. We understand that. But that can often be a false economy. As we touched on here, there are a lot of things which need to be taken into consideration when getting your first website. Because of this, not all websites are created equal.

If you’re really on a tight budget, then you’re better off looking at if you really need a website straight off, and if you do, then perhaps go for a landing page.

Your website is a business asset!

I don’t know how often we’ve said this to clients. Your website, if well designed, is something which can be a really attractive to prospective customers. It can also be seen as a monetary asset if you decide to sell your business.

Despite the fact that people are increasingly shouting about websites being a dead technology, they’re not. Yes, we use social media much more, but people will still go out to a website to check you out. If they get to your site, and it looks cheap, outdated or just plain naff, then I am sorry, they are going to go somewhere else. It’s the equivalent of turning up to a mega-important client meeting in your decorating clobber!

So what do we mean by cheap looking?

It is, of course, a matter of opinion. What I think is cheap looking, maybe someone else’s gold standard. I would just say, that how your site looks, is a reflection on you as a business. Make sure it reflects well, and you’ll not go far wrong.

Some of the cosmetic details which can be not quite up to scratch on cheap sites are as follows.

  • Improper alignment of text
  • Too much text
  • Not enough text
  • Out of focus images
  • Wrong sized images
  • Missing Calls to Action (CTAs)
  • Incorrect use of headings

There is actually a LOT of work which goes into making a fabulous website. Expensive does not always mean good either!

So what about the expensive sites?

Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, you can spend an astronomical amount on a website, and it can still be quite frankly, rubbish. We’ve spoken to a fair few clients in the past who have paid well over £5K for a site which really should have not cost that much!

OK, if you’re having a full custom build, you should expect to pay upwards of £10K. But for a 6 page WordPress website with no custom code? That’s just criminal. We’ve seen a number of really expensive sites, which whilst they are well built, should not have been that expensive.

This is sometimes more of an issue than the budget website. People over inflate what they are doing to justify a crazy price for a site. Not only that, they tend to exaggerate their skills too.

Can your developer do what they say they can?

At any point on the spectrum of price, there can be some tall tales told. The idea that you can just rock up and become a web designer is foolish. I am nearly two years into my time as a designer, and I have really only scratched the surface. That is why I chose to work with an experienced developer. Suzi has the qualifications to back up what she says she can do. There is nothing to stop me setting up on my own as a web developer, after all, I know how to Google and in theory that’s all I need. But there is so much more to it than that.

As I touched on above, there are so many things to think about. A lot of people focus on how the site looks, but in reality that is just the tip of the iceberg. A good developer will understand not only design principles but security, SEO, technology and a whole load more. Did you ever stop to think about the psychology of how and why websites work? Yes, we need to understand that too!

If in doubt ask

We have no issue with people asking us the question, in fact, we actively encourage it. We’d much rather you ask us than leave questions unanswered. I would go so far as to say, if you ask a developer or designer questions, and they’re not happy to answer – then think about if you want to have an ongoing relationship with them.

Also, make sure you get full details of what you are getting for your money, be that £50 or £50,000. A contract is a must. Make sure it details exactly what will be done, and when. Oh, and make sure you read it!

If you’re not clear on anything then just ask. Anyone who’s worth their salt would be more than happy to answer any questions.

A lot goes into making a really good website; we’d suggest that you look at it as if you were getting a quote for work on your car. You’d usually go to a few people, not only to get a few prices but also to see you like them. We all have no issue spending a lot of money if we’re getting good value. It’s when people are left disappointed that we get upset.

If you want to talk to us about what you need, then get in touch. We offer a free consultation and will happily talk through your needs with you with no sales pressure!

Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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