Digital Marketing Blog

The High Cost Of Cheap Websites

  • By Brad Poirier
  • 20 Feb, 2017
the high cost of cheap websites
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“You can build a website for free”, they say. “Custom website design, only $300”, they say. These are two common sales pitches that I hear going around. The first is from big companies like Wix and Weebly or Squarespace who will sell you a DIY website builder for either FREE or a few dollars per month. The latter is from various local companies who will claim to custom design you a website for a very low price. Now to a start up SMB or one that is struggling for cash flow but needs a new website, both of these options sound very appealing. There’s another statement I hear though, and it’s tried, true & tested and makes a lot of sense in these cases: “You Get What You Pay For.” Period. There is a very high cost to getting one of these cheap website, as they are both cheap in startup price and cheap in quality. Most of my clients aren’t coming from a DIY build, for the most part I’ve found that if they’re going that route they are comfortable enough with building and maintaining their own website and that’s fine for me. I’ll focus on the latter here though, the small local guys that claim to custom design a website for cheap money.

The word “custom design” is very loosely used in this business. It’s about as loosely used as someone who calls themselves an IT person. These are the people who are “good with computers” so therefore that qualifies them as a computer software and hardware expert. Here’s what I typically see from web designers who build ‘custom’ sites. They are usually from a graphic design background or very often they are a computer technician themselves or in some cases they are doing this as a side business. I’ve looked at portfolio’s of these web designers and find out that they’re using Wix as the website software to build it with, and charging money for this. Worse, they’re not even paying to remove the Wix branding. So get this: You, as a hard-working small business owner, pay good money to someone to custom design a website for you. Your finished product? A run-of-the-mill website built on the same platform that advertises you can build it for free and it’s co-branded with the companies logo all over it. At this point though, hey who cares right? I only paid $300 or $500 bucks or whatever it was. Well, let’s look at some not so obvious costs associated with that.

Cost #1 - Perception

Let’s say someone walked into your place of business and all over the place on every wall and everywhere they looked, the construction company that made that building had their logo and contact info all over it. It would be a little confusing right? I mean, what place did I just walk into. Is it for Company A or Company B.

It also makes you look like you’re a startup business. It gives your competition some good fodder to disparage you with and your potential clients may not take you seriously. Your website is often the client's first introduction to your brand. You have one chance to make a good first impression. Seeing a co-branded website makes for a bad first impression.

Cost #2 - SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

As you can tell, most of these custom design sales pitches or just hooks. They’re bait to get you interested. If that’s really your budget, then so be it. Hear me out though. I’m amazed to discover that there are web designers who are still building desktop only websites. That’s right. Today, you can call someone up for a website that will cost you next to nothing, but it won’t be mobile friendly. Your customers will have to pinch-and-zoom their way around… actually scratch that. They won’t. They’ll just leave your website. So says Google anyway, 80% of people who land on a non-mobile friendly website from their smartphone will bounce back. Plus, Google has done an incredible amount of work to literally punish websites that are not mobile friendly. We have written at length about these topics. Read about How Google's Mobile-First Indexing Will KILL Your SEO , or here with The 4 Screens Your Website Needs To Appear Correctly On . So, can your business really afford to not show up in Google search results because your ‘custom’ web designer built you a website that was intended for the 90’s? Can your business afford to get traffic to it only to have people leave because it’s not formatted for their smartphone, which is about all that people use today for the internet.

Cost #3 - Updating

Most of these designers build their websites so they have the keys to the digital kingdom. That means whenever your website needs to be changed in anyway, call them up and pay a nice fee. Even something small as changing out a menu or changing pricing or adding a new photo etc can cost quite a bit of money. Now in all fairness, websites like Wix or Weebly are designed so that you as the end user can make updates, but that’s if you’re going that DIY route, then this isn’t even a worry for you. Out of all of my current web clients, only 4 of them are on a maintenance plan where we make updates for them each month. The other 95% or so of my customers, use our super easy to use CMS to make their own edits. A CMS is a Content Management System, or as I like to call it - The keys to the kingdom. We do however work on many clients marketing to increase their SEO, manage their social media, etc. So they get a truly custom website built from scratch and they can make basic updates themselves.


These are just a few areas of the real cost to a cheap website. Perhaps you’re thinking about getting your business online for the first time or trying to get someone to re-do your current website. Just stop for a brief moment, breathe, think about what you are doing… then… RUN! Call us today or use the form below to get in touch. When we are able to have a discussion, we’ll have a complimentary marketing report ready for you. A multipage report showing how visible your business is online, anywhere not just your website and steps to improve that visibility. We can also chat about your biggest marketing challenges and how we can help you solve them. Whether it’s from a lead driving & smart website or another area of marketing that you’re struggling with - we have you covered. We have several satisfied clients, who have gone on the record to rate our service. Just watch one below and give us a shout when you’re ready to really transform your business into the digital world.
BONUS: See how your website stacks up with your competition. Get a free website audit .

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