Cheap Website Design - Dangers of Cheap Web Design for Your Business by Anthony McMurray
We have all heard the saying "you get what you pay for" this holds true for
website design as well. I have been in the website design and internet marketing
industry for over 6 years now and I have talked to a lot of people who have made
the mistake of trying to take a short cut by going the route of cheap website
design. First let's look at this word cheap and see what it really means.
adj. cheap•er, cheap•est
1. a. Relatively low in cost; inexpensive or comparatively inexpensive.
b. Charging low prices: a cheap restaurant.
2. a. Obtainable at a low rate of interest. Used especially of money.
b. Devalued, as in buying power: cheap dollars.
3.Achieved with little effort: a cheap victory; cheap laughs.
4.Of or considered of small value: in wartime, when life was cheap.
5.Of poor quality; inferior: a cheap toy.
6.Worthy of no respect; vulgar or contemptible: a cheap
As you can see above 1 is good being inexpensive, the only hitch here is inexpensive quality is usually more often than not related to point 5 being poor quality.
Buy it, use it and throw it away
Our economy may be focused on disposable products now like cameras you get for a cheap price, take pictures and throw away, disposable plates, spoons and forks you can use for a meal and throw away and I'm sure many other items come to mind but we don't want to compare these to your business website.
I have talked to countless people that are very frustrated after spending $400 to $1000 for a website that's useless to them. I also see advertisements every day for cheap website design, even as low as $199.00. If I may be as bold to say if someone is creating a website for $199.00 they are not spending much time on it or either they are paying someone $5.00 an hour in some third world country to create it.
How to spot cheap website design
Most people don't know the difference in cheap website design and good high quality website design just by looking at the website, you have to dig a little deeper…let's do just that.
Cheap website design has several characteristics starting with bad code. One of the best ways to spot bad code in a cheap website design is by right clicking on your mouse and then clicking the "View Source" link. What you are looking for is remnants of code left behind by website design programs like Microsoft FrontPage® or Macromedia Dream Weaver® now you may ask what they look like so I've listed some examples below.
You will find these tags when the person is using Microsoft FrontPage® <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0"> <meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
This is where the designer left the Macromedia Dream Weaver® comment tags in the website. #BeginTemplate "/Templates/site.dwt"
You may ask why this is such a big deal well the big deal is Microsoft FrontPage® is a program that is included in the software when people buy a computer and Macromedia Dream Weaver® you can buy for a few hundred dollars but for some reason when people get their hands on either one of these programs after playing with them a few hours they have the mindset that they are an expert website designer and it's time to go into business.
Let me ask you a question. If you go buy the book "Auto Repair For Dummies" (yes this is a real book) and then after reading this book cover to cover does this make you a seasoned master mechanic? Will you be ready to open your garage next week and start repairing automobiles? I didn't think so. We may all know people that do mechanic work on the side at a cheaper rate than a Ford or GM dealer and this is fine if they do good work but can they provide a warranty or a guarantee? Most likely their work does not come with any of these things and either will your website if it's designed by a part time website designer or someone offering cheaper services.
What's your business worth?
A friend once told me a story of back when he was racing motorcycles. He was going to buy a new helmet and the sales person asked him what he was looking for and what price range. My friend told the sales person he wanted something in the lower priced range so the sales person replied with "Well you can get a $50.00 helmet if you think you only have a $50.00 head" My friend thought about what the sales person said and decided to purchase a much higher priced helmet that would protect him better.
Cheap service too
Another aspect of cheap website design is the poor service that comes along with it. Do you want to learn another language in order to discuss changes or issues with your website designer? If you hire one of the offshore website designers you may have to do just that. Do you want someone that will advise you on layout, content and other areas of your website? Most companies offering cheap website design will give you 2 choices their way or no way and will not advise you if there is a potential issue with the way you want to set up your website.
Hey, our websites look just alike!
Although there are several other negative characteristics of cheap website that could be discussed here we'll just talk about one more and that's getting a website that's been designed using a pre made website template. If you are thinking "this guy is a template hater" well I'm not, they have their place (although right now I can't think of very many places unless you are in a hurry and you have to get some sort of website up per your boss because you are in danger of losing your job). Pre made website templates are around $50 to $70 and really look good if you don't mind the fact of sharing the look and feel of your website with countless other website owners across the Internet. Most of the templates I've seen again have been created with Microsoft FrontPage® or Macromedia Dream Weaver® and have been done quickly. We're talking coding mistakes, images that load slowly on the Internet and not much to work with in the way of getting the website to rank on the search engines.
If you give someone just a few hundred dollars to design your website do you think they are going to spend hours creating a custom design for you or do you think they will either get a pre made template for $50.00 and move on or even better they may already have the template they need right on their computer because they have used it on the last 12 websites they sold.
So let's get to the bottom line, cheap website design will more than likely hurt your business and will be a waste of your money and time. I'm not saying you need to spend an obscene amount of money to get a good site but if you have a $200.00 or $300.00 business then that's your decision.
You can expect to pay no less than $2000.00 (Industry standard for a professional designer) for a good, custom, well crafted website that will produce results for your business and then you will need to set aside a monthly budget for hosting and marketing the website.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true or if it sounds like the "buy of
the year" it probably won't work.
About the Author
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Anthony McMurray is Founder and Chief of Proimpulse Web Site Design Company, a Bristol Virginia Website Design and Marketing firm that helps clients by creating user friendly successful, revenue generating websites.