Whether you’re thinking about a new website or a redesign of an existing one, there are many factors to take into consideration when choosing the right designer.
I often recommend looking at a designer or design agency’s experience, as well as their reputation. But, an undeniably big concern for smaller businesses is budget. And when considering your budget for web design, there’s affordable…
And then there’s just plain cheap.
The big difference is that affordable web design doesn’t have to be bad design. You can have an affordable website that works for you (at Hudson Fusion, this is a non-negotiable). Cheap design, on the other hand, refers to the multitude of hidden problems that you can be left with when you commission web design services for a song.
The trouble is, it’s not always easy to see how penny pinching or cutting corners now can cost you in the future. So, the team here have put together a helpful list of the common pitfalls of cheap web design that you need to be aware of when considering your new website.
1. Bait And Switch
Perhaps the most common pitfall of cheap web design is the “bait and switch” tactic. If you get sold on an agency’s lower-end (i.e. cheaper) services, you’ll often be passed on to lower level designers or apprentices.
Likewise, some freelancers and smaller agencies talk a big game only to become unreachable during the process or simply fail to deliver what you need (and what was promised). I often speak to clients who are desperate to fix the work done by low-level designers or freelancers who have ‘gone rogue’.
TIP: Don’t get caught out by a flashy sales pitch with no substance; make sure you know exactly WHO will be working on your project and that you’re kept in the loop at every stage by liaising directly with your designer.
2. False Economy
More often than not, you get what you pay for with cheap web design. That is to say, you get a low level of expertise, which results in a sub-standard website. What many people seem to forget is that a website isn’t just about looking good, it’s got to work for your business and it has to be easy for your customers to use.
Remember, a site that looks good on the surface may end up costing you leads, customers and money on re-builds down the line. You’d be surprised how often people have to essentially pay for two websites because the first one didn’t work, was unprofessional or their freelance designer simply left them in the lurch by disappearing with no explanation (unacceptable? of course, but it does happen!)
Agencies offering cheaper services will often use low-grade components like cheap hosting. The unreliable nature of low-cost platforms means that you are likely to experience more downtime and slow load times, inevitably resulting in lost visitors - 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load (Source: Econsultancy).
Poor hosting goes hand-in-hand with poor SEO; if your website isn’t user friendly, your SEO will suffer (i.e. you’ll be ignored by Google, or worse, penalized).
TIP: Familiarize yourself with hosting options and discuss the pros and cons of each thoroughly with your designer.
3. Missed Opportunities
With a poorly designed website comes missed opportunities to turn visitors into customers.
Cheaper agencies and freelancers often can’t charge the same fees as large agencies because they simply aren’t as experienced.
Who pays for their inexperience? Sadly, it’s you.
If you end up with a site that doesn’t perform how you want it to, you run the risk of losing business to competitors with more user-friendly or reliable websites.
TIP: Discuss deliverables with your designer. If your focus is lead generation, find out how your website can support those efforts. If you sell products online, find out what the e-commerce functionalities of your website will be.
4. “Quick Fix” Approach
Many budget designers build something that looks good in the short term, but needs to be completely re-designed down the line as your needs change and your business grows - which usually means more money spent in the long run.
Your website can’t be all flash and no function, so be sure to have a conversation with your designer about your website’s functionality now and how it can change with your needs as your business evolves.
TIP: Even a basic website should have potential for growth (sure, your marketing efforts may be minimal now, but you want to know that they can be easily integrated in the future!) So, before signing your contracts, make sure you discuss your immediate and long-term business goals with your designer and ask them to explain how your website will support these.
5. No Support
Some freelancers charge lower prices because they know that the client won’t expect the same amount of communication and ongoing support as they would of a large agency charging top-dollar.
This ALSO means that they can be hard to reach, miss deadlines and may not be there to scale your website as your business needs change.
TIP: Consider your requirements and the level of support you need from your designer, then have a conversation about what they can realistically offer. Make sure the two are aligned so you’re not left disappointed if your expectations aren’t met.
You always get what you pay for, so be wary of designers who sell their services based on competitive (read: cheap) pricing. After all, if a designer bases the value of their services on how little they are willing to work for, what level of commitment and professionalism can you realistically expect?
Choosing your web designer is an important first step and you should make sure that you work with a designer who understands your business needs and who can support your business as it grows. Be mindful of the 5-hidden costs of cheap web design to avoid your website investment becoming a BIG business expense.
About Hudson Fusion
Here at Hudson Fusion we understand how to make the most of your budget to build you a simple but effective site that can evolve with your business, or a powerful marketing-smart site that works hard to grow your business. No matter what your budget, at Hudson Fusion you’ll always get professional but personal service, supported by our New York-based agency’s 18-years of experience (and no hidden ‘costs’ to worry about!)