Trying to get things done on the cheap inevitably ends up being the most expensive option, because you have to pay extra to fix the things that should have worked properly in the first place.
Nowhere is this truer than when you’re setting up a website for your company, so let’s look at some of the things that can go wrong.
A good, effective website is not created by a great design. As important as that is, it’s only one of many different components that go into making a good (meaning effective) website for your business:
- The web hosting company
- The server your site is hosted on
- Your domain name
- The coding of your site
- How easily your site can be found online
- Your site’s design
- Your site’s readability
- Your site’s content
- The customer journey – the ease with which they can complete transactions
Skimp on one of those and you immediately reduce the effectiveness of your site. Skimp on 2 or more and you might as well save your money and put it into something else.
Increasingly, websites are being built on Content Management System platforms.
They’re easy for the site owner to update and offer built in functionality that would be prohibitively expensive to build in by hand individually.
Poor server configuration
But if you host a website based on a Content Management System on a server that’s incorrectly set up, poorly maintained or over-crowded, your site will be slow to load in a visitor’s browser (if it loads at all) and will cause you problems at upgrade times, backup times and times when you want to add new functionality.
Poor quality coding
If the coding of your site is inefficient that, too, will cause slow page-load times, which will penalise your site in the search results, so no one will find it.
And if no one can find your website it may as well not be there.
Then, if people do actually find your site but it’s hard to read, they won’t stick around so, again, your site may as well not be there.
Those are important, for sure, but it’s about lots of different elements coming together and working in harmony.
I shake my head in despair when I read about people trying to run WordPress on a server operated by a company offering free or very cheap hosting.
The hosting company isn’t making any money from you so they’ll insert ads into your site, load as many sites as possible onto the same server and will do the absolute minimum of backups – if any.
And that’s before we even start talking about maintaining and updating the server side applications.
Failing to update leaves an open door through which the hackers will enter and do their nasty stuff. And as soon as they inject spam links or malicious code into your site, which is hosted on the server they’ve just hacked, the search engines will find out and blacklist it.
Which is a recipe for disaster if your website is supposed to be bringing you new business.
Cheap web design services
Likewise people offering very cheap web design services.
They will probably be doing a 1-click installation of WordPress (instead of installing it manually with extra security safeguards), using a free WordPress theme (which often contain spam links, let alone poor quality coding) and, if they are installing any plugins, you’d better be sure to check how they’re configured.
My point is this: go for the cheapest options and you will start to find problems on your website. And, if you’re serious about having a professional website for your company, you’re going to have to pay extra to get them fixed.
By the time you’ve done that, as well as dealing with all the hassle, you’ll probably end up spending more than you would if you’d gone to a professional company in the first place!
I manage a site for a customer locally, who has five other sites managed by a different company. Not only do two of those five sites not work, they haven’t worked for over a year and the remaining ones haven’t been updated in that time!
And yet that company has been paid regular monthly fees for setting up and maintaining those sites.
It’s criminal, but it’s almost certainly not the only example of what can happen.
In website development, as in everything, you get what you pay for.
You don’t have to pay the earth. Some of the top design agencies will charge a fortune, more than you need to pay for an effective website. I emphasised ‘effective’ deliberately.
If you want a good, effective website for your company, one that pays for itself by bringing you new business, then don’t go for the cheapest options.
You’ll only end up paying more in the end.