Who doesn’t love to save money? When you’re working with a tight budget, like most small businesses and nonprofits are, you’re constantly on the lookout for a good deal. But after you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ll soon realize that what appears to be a good deal often isn’t.
Web design is one of those areas where people try to cut corners, only to find out later that they’ve made a costly mistake. The website design and development process is complex and multifaceted, and you want to be sure to entrust your project to a designer or team that holds your best interest as their top priority.
Here are 7 reasons cheap web designers actually cost you money:
Lack of Professionalism
When you hire someone to create your website, you want the process to run smoothly and to be completed on schedule. If you work with someone who is undercharging, there’s a good chance it’s because they are inexperienced and possibly taking on more than they are ready to handle. They are sometimes undercharging to build up their portfolio — can you really afford to be someone’s guinea pig? Unless you find a diamond in the rough, you’re not just paying for a cheap website, you’re paying for someone to make mistakes and learn on your dime.
In case you haven’t heard, hiring a neighbor’s son or distant cousin who’s “good with the computer” isn’t the way to go. You’ve probably heard grumbles and horror stories from your entrepreneurial buddies (if you haven’t experienced it yourself). There’s a good chance you’ll have trouble getting in touch with the person throughout the project, and your questions or concerns may go ignored for days while they’re busy with higher priorities, like school or their “real” job. When you hire an experienced professional web design firm, you’re saving yourself time, headaches, and your peace of mind.
Your Website Will Look Like Everyone Else’s
You deserve to stand out and get noticed, not blend in and look like everyone else. A “custom” website should be just that — custom designed, specifically for your needs, your brand, and your business.
A cheap web designer is likely only able to keep costs down by using templates. There’s a good chance you’re just getting a slightly customized website. You think it’s a good deal, but you’re really paying someone to upload a WordPress theme (template) and change a few colors. Either that, or you’ll find that the designer is churning out similar websites for all of her clients. Before you know it, you’ll look around and notice your site is nothing special and you were actually overcharged.
Beauty Trumps Functionality
We can’t tell you how many times clients have come to us with a website that looks beautiful at first glance, but it’s a mess under the hood. Often, the code is outdated or written in such a way that doesn’t make sense to a skilled developer. The designer might even take shortcuts or use tools that prevent anyone else from being able to make edits in the future.
Your cheap website might work for a short while, but it could easily be vulnerable to breaking or crashing, creating a poor user experience by loading slowly, incompatible with necessary plug-ins and integrations, or unresponsive across screen sizes. Getting the code cleaned up and functioning smoothly can be costly and frustrating, but ignoring the problems created by going cheap can cost you customers.
Hidden Costs Add Up
Speaking of clean-up costs, there’s an unfortunate dirty little secret of the industry you should know. Unscrupulous practices by cheap scammy web designers actually anticipate making money off of fixes and excessive maintenance needs. They will hand over a website to you, fully aware that there are problems or missing pieces.
Another smarmy practice by cheap web designers is to lure you in with a low price and then overcharge you for “upgrades” that could be included for a reasonable amount, but they use the upsell to turn a profit. For example, you might pay a premium for each additional page beyond the 5-page package, overpay for a contact form or additional email address, or pay an arm and a leg for simple updates.
It’s all too common to discover that the person you hire to create your website is undercharging because the project is being outsourced overseas. Yes, of course there are wonderful and talented designers and developers in all parts of the world, but there is a good chance you won’t be made aware that someone other than the person or team you think you’ve hired to create your website is doing the heavy lifting.
This can be a problem because your contact may have little control over the project, a limited relationship with the contractors they’ve hired, little experience managing outsourced contractors, and there could be countless unforeseen challenges. It’s worth it to work with a web design firm led by someone who knows the ins and outs of the design and development process, and also invests in solid relationships with a talented and reliable team.
No Marketing Know-How
The main purpose of your website is to serve as a vehicle to grow your business. The problem is, most designers are not knowledgeable about marketing.
Will your website be set up from the start to be listed by search engines? There are basic SEO (search engine optimization) elements that should be enabled by your website. For example, if your text and headlines are made up of a bunch of images, search engines can’t read it. You should also be able to build out a content strategy that enhances your optimization, which you will need a CMS (content management system) to do.
Additionally, it’s not just important that the design looks good, but it should incorporate elements that encourage certain behaviors. Your goal should be to have visitors take action — to click through your website, to opt in to your email list, to schedule an appointment, visit your location, or to buy products. You don’t just want them to come to your website and think it looks great. Conversions are key. No matter how cheap the designer, you’re losing money if your website isn’t serving as a true marketing tool for you.
As a small business owner, you enter into the process of getting your website designed or redesigned with eager anticipation. You want the best for your business, but you understandably want it within a reasonable budget. The problem is if you cut corners too much, you are not going to be happy with the results. You’ll wind up with what we call “website shame,” hesitate to promote yourself, and feel self-conscious that you are not putting your best foot forward in everything you do.
When you realize your “cheap” website has cost you more money than it saved in the long run, you’re sure to look for another solution and seek a redesign, costing you even more.
We’re not saying all inexpensive web designers are up to no good, but we’ve seen the fallout from it when clients come to us far too often. When you skimp on your website, you run the risk of having an unprofessional, second-rate product that will cause you more headaches than you can imagine. Hiring a cheap web designer can be riskier than paying for quality in the first place.
At Solamar, we aren’t the cheapest option, but you will find that we are reasonably accessible for small business clients and nonprofits. We have built a solid reputation for smoothly delivering quality, high-performing websites, while always keeping our clients’ best interests as our top priority.
If you’re looking to hire a web design firm to create your small business or non-profit website or redesign the one you have, give us a shout!