When planning a website redesign, budget is top-of-mind for many companies. Resources are limited, and you want to launch a new website without completely exhausting your marketing dollars.
As you evaluate proposals, it can be tempting to pick the cheapest online marketing firm in the bunch. But, before you do, weigh the pros and cons of going with a cheap website design solution. Make sure you know what you're getting for the price you're paying, and make sure you'll be happy with your decision. A cheaper website might seem like a good idea right now, but it might cause you more problems--and cost more money--in the long run.
1. Lower costs upfront
An obvious plus for a cheaper website is that you'll spend less money upfront. Businesses can spend anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 on a website. If you're worried about "sticker shock," a web design proposal with a smaller price tag can be pretty appealing.
2. Quicker turnaround
Chances are, if a web designer or online marketing firm comes in with a low bid, they don't have a lengthy timeline or a lot of project hours in mind. They probably anticipate that the website won't take very long. They may be able to get the job done in 2 months, while a firm with a higher price tag might propose 4-5 months.
1. Lower quality
With a firm that doesn't cost very much, you run the risk of getting a cheap-looking website. Higher quality websites usually come with a higher price tag. Now, that's not always the case, but it is something to think about. Will there be a trade-off between price and quality? Or will it be worth the extra investment to end up with a website that looks as polished and professional as possible?
2. Less originality
To save you money, a web designer or online marketing firm might suggest that you use a pre-made website template. These pre-made templates can be very cost-effective--some are even free--but they're just not worth it in the end. You run the risk of having the same exact website as someone else (or lots of someones, if it's a popular template).
Plus, a template is just that--a template. A cookie cutter. You want a website that reflects your brand, your personality and your story...as well as your online marketing needs. Pre-packaged designs may not have flexibility in terms of where you add or how you style your calls to action, for example.
3. Not a lot of research or planning
Look at the steps that are proposed for your website redesign. Is there any mention of an online marketing assessment? Will the firm research your firm as well as your industry? Will they interview you and other key stakeholders to find out how your web marketing works now and how it needs to improve? How will they make sure that your new website will be effective at generating leads?
A cheap website design solution may not include extensive research or planning. What good is a website that doesn't have a sound strategy in place that will help your business achieve its goals?
4. Limited expertise/resources
One perk of hiring an online marketing firm is you get access to a wealth of knowledge and resources. One firm can help you with everything website-related, from web design and development to copywriting to inbound marketing strategy and beyond.
But that expertise and those resources come at a price. A cheaper website alternative may not have very much breadth; they may not be able to offer additional services in-house.
5. Not as much customer service
With an online marketer that costs more, you'll likely get a dedicated, knowledgable resource in the customer service department. It's similar to when you pay extra for "white-glove service" for furniture delivery. When you pay more, you get the royal treatment.
Plus, if you opt for the cheap website, your web designer might be hard to find next time you need changes. Lower-cost options often come from freelancers that are in between jobs, or firms with high turnover.
6. More expensive long-term
A cheap website might seem ideal today, but will that website still work for you in 6 months? 1 year? Will the website hurt you, because there isn't a lot of flexibility to add calls to action? Could more careful planning resulted in more qualified leads and higher conversion rates? What happens when you have to redo the website because it just isn't effective in meeting your business goals or you can't find your website in Google? We know of a company that's overhauled its website 3 times in the last 2 years, because they keep opting for cheaper website solutions. Think of the time and money they could've saved, if they'd just invested in a strong website the first time around.
Are you one of those folks who claims to have worked with several web designers only to be left high and dry? Perhaps it's time to consider making an investment in your website that's designed to get real business results.
As you plan your website redesign, carefully evaluate your budget. Think about what you might have to sacrifice if you go with the cheapest option possible. A more expensive website might be more of an investment now, but it will ultimately provide your business with a better return.
Photo credit: 401kcalculator.org