The More Expensive Website Delivers More Value, More Potential Revenue; the Low-Cost Website Not Much of Either
If you have a business you need a website. It’s that simple. Your website represents your brand, your value proposition, it is often the first place where potential customers learn about your business and order products and services.
So how much might you expect to pay for your website? Is there really that much difference between a cheap $200 website and a more expensive $2,000 website?
In a word, “Yes.” You get what you pay for.
Let’s take a look at your options between low-cost website design and more expensive high-value website design.
11 Differences Between a Cheap Website and a More Expensive Website
- Design Capabilities
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Competitive Research
- Training and Support
You don’t own a free or cheap website, you rent it. That means you can’t transfer your website to another web host provider. If you ever need to upgrade to something the current cheap website provider can’t supply, you have to start from scratch all over again with a new provider.
Cheap website providers often run ads on your site as a way to generate revenue (since they aren’t making that much off of you to host your site); at the very least, they typically contain taglines in your landing page footer that you can’t remove, such as “This site powered by Cheap Website.”
In addition, your business domain name may also contain the name of the cheap website provider. So the domain name of “www.mybusiness.com” becomes “www.mybusiness.cheapwebsite.com”—like it or not you are advertising another business along with your own.
This is how the cheap website makes money at your expense. Yes, you aren’t paying them. But it literally isn’t a good look for your business. You want to look professional, not like someone too cheap to pay for something without ads and co-branding.
In some cases, you can pay to have ads removed. But wouldn’t that money be better spent paying for better design in the first place rather than deleting ads?
2. Design Capabilities
A cheap website offers a limited number of cookie-cutter design templates with little or no options to customize. That means your website looks basically the same as a lot of other sites. Your business doesn’t stand out and fails to engage potential customers.
A more expensive website tailors graphics that best promote your brand. You get custom designs and layouts to fit your unique requirements. These designs are also easily repurposed to other advertising media such as brochures, in-store displays, and social media ads. And instead of stock photography that viewers might easily recognize from elsewhere in their Google searches, you get the option of professional photography that puts a distinctive spotlight on your business products and services.
You also get mockups to review before the site goes live. A mockup is not the same as a preview, which you do get previews from cheap website designers. Mockups provide the extra step to help ensure consistent and realistic formatting of text, sizing, images, and colors. If you want a more customized design, you want to see mockups. Website design involves coding. Mockups let you make changes without incurring the time and cost of re-coding.
Cheap website providers don’t want to get involved in a lot of coding. They just provide you with a small selection of designs that you have to fit your business needs to. With a more expensive website provider, the design is especially to fit your business only.
3. Mobile Responsiveness
More expensive website designs are responsive, meaning the design looks good across all types of browsers and screen sizes. Most eCommerce sites are designed from a mobile-first approach that also works on a desktop as well as multiple screen sizes using different browsers. This comes at greater expense, for which you gain not only a consistent look coverage across devices and operating systems but also greater functionality, particularly if you offer a shopping cart. Compare, for example, Amazon’s desktop experience, which is so-so, to the mobile version, which is unmatched.
Most cheap websites are designed for desktop views. If you want to provide a good user experience on a smartphone or tablet (and you do, because 70% of web traffic comes from mobile devices), the cheap website usually charges more for that (which of course makes them more expensive). So if you want to stay cheap, your mobile site, where the largest portion of web traffic takes place, is going to look cheap.
Want something better than an off-the-shelf shopping cart? Integrate plugins or apps on your website? A smoother user experience to search your content and provide advanced functions for your users? Third-party integration of online payment platforms? A cheap website designer might be able to do that for you, but at an extra cost. This means you now are getting an expensive website design, but maybe not with the premium user experience that usually comes with custom design.
Hidden costs are annoying. But if you know upfront that you are going to pay more for exactly what your website needs, you at least know you are getting exactly what you are paying for. And paying for greater functionalities and a better user experience gets your business better results. The investment essentially pays for itself. So it’s also better to start out with that in mind as opposed to tacking on expenses with a cheap website design that, despite the extra cost, may still wind up looking and functioning, well, cheap.
Are you a writer? Most business owners aren’t. That’s why they are business owners and not writers. Is your web designer a writer? Most aren’t. Your cheap web designer certainly isn’t.
Here’s the problem: You need words to tell your story, to promote what you do and how you do it. It doesn’t matter how good your website looks if you haven’t told your story.
Effective copywriting isn’t just about clever headlines and attention-grabbing context. It’s also about strategically deploying keywords that help you rank high in Google searches.
The cheap website designer doesn’t offer copywriting services, expecting you to literally fill in the blanks. Or if they do, U.S. English is not their first/native language so a lot gets lost in translation. Unless you are an English major with a marketing mindset, whatever you try to write probably won’t convey the SEO-friendly and attention-getting messaging you need to stand out from your competitors.
A more expensive web design service likely offers copywriting, or at the very least can recommend capable copywriters or content creation agencies. Of course, some see copywriting as an extra expense. But it’s actually an investment that you can’t afford to be cheap about. Your products or services can’t sell, and your brand can’t live without the proper messaging getting across to your target audience in a way they can easily digest.
More expensive websites are built with marketing, SEO, and growth in mind. So once the website is live, you have a strategy to get your target audience to see it, and to grow it as your business grows so you are not stuck creating another website again after a short period of time. It is flexible and will grow with you for years to come.
Speaking of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, it’s important to note that a website is not a static “done and done” final end product. It may be to the cheap web designer, whose business model is to churn out large quantities of boilerplate sites. Websites that go without continual updating of new content are websites left out to die.
Continual updating means reassessing meta tags, keywords, and content because Google is always changing its ranking rules for how potential customers can find you. The cheap website designer generally isn’t looking for a long-term customer relationship to put the effort into that kind of planning.
Another way to keep content fresh and increase your search ranking is to publish blogs on a regular basis. You could write the blog yourself, but, keep in mind what we just said above about copywriting skills: if you aren’t a writer, you need a content provider. The more expensive website design service can help you with content development; the cheap website design service probably can’t.
7. Competitive Research
Will the cheap website design service conduct competitive research and discuss with you how to close gaps in content, design, layout, and SEO to outperform them? I bet not. A more expensive full-service website design agency provides that service at no additional cost before they even start to design your website. This is how you set the best foundation to build on. This is how you get the competitive edge right off the bat.
A website that experiences downtime or that is insecure and gets hacked is not doing your business any good. A more expensive website development team responds to these issues quickly and fixes the underlying problems. Their focus is to keep you as a customer. Most companies include an update package that takes care of this throughout the year. The theme, plugins, and PHP will get updated as needed and tested vigorously for compatibility. If any errors come up during testing, most should get fixed at no additional cost.
The cheap website agency is more concerned with getting the next customer and moving on, we call this sales tactic the churn and burn. If you are looking for quality, and you should, then it is a good idea to set aside money in your budget for proper website maintenance and support.
The more expensive full-service website provider employs a project manager, proofreader and content organizer. So you aren’t wasting a lot of time on your website as the project manager, proofreader and content organizer. You’ll get a schedule of deliverables and, unless there is an unforeseen issue, the schedule is followed.
The cheap website designer has more limited staff and, particularly if they are only a one or two-person shop, limited attention to getting your job finished on time, let alone on time without errors. We’ve personally heard horror stories of clients who waited over six weeks (went promised it would be completed within 7 days) and still didn’t have a live website, and no idea if they ever would. And in some cases, never did, because they were forced to walk away from that website and hire someone new to start all over again.
Don’t fall for the quick 1-week turnaround scam, because your time and patience will be tested, and money will be lost. They will always come up with “unforeseen” circumstances that keep pushing back the launch date. Even with the 100% full money-back guarantee scheme, because the fine print is so skewed in their favor, that you will never get all of your money back as long as they show any progress whatsoever. Even bad progress. And there is no penalty for those delays that would motivate them to keep their timeline.
Part of what you are spending for your website is web hosting. Basically, you are paying rent to store the files and database that comprise your website with a domain name so you can be found on the Internet. The domain name isn’t so much a factor between the cheap and more expensive website providers; the web hosting package is.
The cheap website design service offers limited storage and limited bandwidth, which means limited traffic to your site. The more expensive website provider offers unlimited storage and bandwidth so there is no limitation of traffic access.
11. Training and Support
There are some things you can do to update your website yourself. That can save you money and speed things up. But if you don’t know how to do those updates, they aren’t getting done and you might have to pay a website designer to do it for you. A more expensive website design service provides you with basic training and ongoing customer support so you can do certain updates on your own. With the cheap website design service, expect to get left to your own devices.
A Great Website Generates More Traffic, More Leads, More Sales
Sure, you pay more for better functionalities, more services, and higher quality. But what you pay for gets you better traffic, more qualified leads and ultimately more revenue. We offer custom and templated web packages that fit any size business with any size budget. Whether you are a start-up or an established company, we have a plan that fits your specific needs and business objectives. We even offer financing and payment plans.
Because we don’t do cheap work. We built our company by providing value-added services that help our customers be more successful with better-functioning websites that attract more traffic and in many ways wind up as actually less expensive than renting from cheap website builders.
Tag Marketing has the experience and expertise to design and develop the perfect website to match your needs and accomplish your goals, now and in the future.
Like my parents always taught me, the cheap comes out expensive and you get what you pay for. I would never buy a cheap $200 website. The difference is extremely obvious when comparing to a professional site. What kind of investment is that in yourself? If you won’t properly invest in your own business, how could you expect others to?
By the way, love your banner image! Creative.
My parents said the same things. It’s really all about how much you are trying to grow and how fast. Your website is often the first impression potential customers or clients have of your business. Like you said, how could you expect consumers to take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously? When done right, the return on investment of a professionally designed website is always well worth it and makes a huge difference. We have re-designed so many websites and a lot of clients see a big improvment in traffic, leads, sale, and customer feedback. If you only change the website and maintain your SEO or marketing strategy, it is pretty easy to compare the difference and measure it.
And thanks about the image, we wanted to create something memorable that was different from the same old website portfolio piece everyone else uses.