Cheap Web Design: Cutting Through the Pros and Cons

Every business needs an effective online presence – and for most, that means that a high quality corporate website is vital. The problem is that this can be expensive, with some agencies charging very high fees. At the other end of the spectrum, DIY website builders attract users with very low costs, but can be inflexible and unattractive to visitors. A way out of this trap is to use a Cheap Web Design agency, which – when carefully selected – can combine the benefits of affordability and accessibility with those of polish and professionalism. Purchasing services from the best of these agencies can deliver unbeatable value and cost-effectiveness for your business.

Advantages of this approach

Affordability and value for money

The majority of businesses out there today are small, ranging from sole traders through start-ups to compact, fast-moving companies in highly competitive fields – and this is especially the case online. Paying over the odds for web design isn’t just annoying, it can actually make or break some firms. As such, it’s extremely important to be able to set up a web presence quickly and simply, so that it can begin working for you from day one. If you have to spend time worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills, you’re not going to be able to give 100% to your business – which could spell disaster. The best “bang for buck” available is very often provided by cheap agencies, which mix low rates with experience and expertise.

No need to do the work yourself

It’s possible to design your own website, using inexpensive – sometimes even free – templates, tools and services, but this isn’t ideal. It will require some of your staff to spend time working on the corporate site when they would be better employed in their usual roles. Hiring a reputable agency solves this problem, as well as taking away the guesswork involved with trying to do everything yourself. Because employees will be able to devote themselves to the tasks at which they excel and which they’re trained for, you’ll also maximise your business’s earnings during the design period. In fact, for many firms it can actually work out cheaper overall to hire an agency than to try to handle everything in-house.

You will pay only for what you need

Some web design agencies charge high fees and boast about the amount of services they will provide – but, on closer inspection, it can often prove to be the case that you’re paying for functionality that you are unlikely ever to need. For example, a sole trader who isn’t liable for VAT will not need services associated with this, while translation services will be of little use to a company that only operates in the UK. A good, cheap design agency will also not try to pressure you into spending more than you’re comfortable with – this is the best of both worlds, with you saving money and the agency getting a boost to its image thanks to your positive experiences. Make sure the contract you sign is appropriate for what you want from your website.

Professional expertise

Perhaps the largest advantage of using an affordable web design agency is that your company will benefit from the expertise and experience of its professional designers. With their specialist knowledge and skills in communications, online marketing and user experience, they will be able to help you produce a website with the greatest impact in terms of both visual appeal and content organisation. If you are not a marketing specialist yourself, this advice can be worth its weight in gold – and the best cheap agencies, acting as they are in a highly competitive environment, will have had to go that extra mile to stand out from the crowd. You’ll get a website developed specifically for your company’s needs, prioritising those factors that will drive people to your business.

Customised site designs

Most generally available DIY website design tools are template-based and highly generic in nature, which tends to result in sites designed using them having a similar appearance. This is not good when you need your site to catch potential customers’ eyes. Hiring a good, cheap agency for your web design will allow you to request specific features on your site to match your company’s needs. You won’t need to know how to code these yourself, because the agency’s designers will be able to produce them for you. For example, if you need multiple forms of different types depending on the type of request being handled, this may well be beyond the capabilities of a DIY site design package; it would, however, be straightforward and inexpensive for a professional design agency to craft.

Search engine optimisation

No matter what changes Google may roll out each year, one thing remains constant: for a site to succeed, it must be designed with SEO in mind. Professional web designers will have full, up-to-date knowledge and expertise regarding SEO and will be able to make it work hard and effectively in a way that suits your business. The value of long tail keywords can’t be overstated, and this will be uppermost in agency workers’ minds. Hiring a value-for-money web design agency to produce your company’s website will mean recruiting the skills of people who have understood how SEO works for years, and who will be able to anticipate what’s likely to happen in the future. You’ll get a site that not only looks clean and attractive, but which ranks highly in search results.

After-sales support

Just because you’re not paying top dollar for your website design services shouldn’t mean that you’re left to cope entirely on your own once your site goes live. A good cheap agency will be able to respond to queries not only throughout the design process but beyond, as well as providing expert advice and support if you experience any problems. The peace of mind you get from knowing that help is just an email or phone call away is immense, and once you’re freed from such worries you’ll be able to devote yourself fully to making use of your new website to drive up your company’s sales and profits.

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Potential disadvantages – and how to avoid them

As with any other service, Cheap Web Design needs to be considered with care. There are several reasons why it might not work out for you – although, in most cases, problems can be avoided as long as you take care to select an appropriate agency. Here are some of the possible disadvantages, together with some suggestions for avoiding problems:

Cheap doesn’t always mean good value

It’s very tempting, when looking for an agency to carry out web design on a budget, to go for the company which offers the lowest headline prices. However, this can lead to considerable problems down the line. For example, an agency offering extremely low-cost design may have very little experience dealing with businesses in your sector, or may employ low-calibre staff. Cutting corners can lead to serious problems: websites may not have been fully tested with all browsers, for example, leading your firm to lose out on potential customers. Every year, businesses spend millions of pounds hiring services to repair the damage done by unsuitable web design agencies.

How to avoid this
Always look at the big picture when researching web design agencies. Find out how long they’ve been in business, and ask plenty of questions about what experience they have, which services they will provide in their headline rates and what will cost extra. Don’t be afraid to bring up subjects such as what will happen if you’re not satisfied. A reputable agency will be happy to answer these questions and more.

You could miss out on new customers

When websites are badly designed, they make a poor impression on visitors – and the visitors of today need to be seen as the customers of tomorrow. Agencies sometimes charge low fees to make up for their lack of expertise in this area, or expect you to accept a “one size fits all” approach to lead generation, online sales and so on. If the agency you pick doesn’t know how to market its own services effectively, then the chances are that it won’t be much better at helping you to market yours.

How to avoid this
Again, ask questions from an early stage. Be clear about what you want the primary focus of your site to be, and discuss how to achieve that with the project designer. Any reputable company should be at ease talking about factors and features such as e-commerce and reputation management, so be prepared to walk away if you’re fobbed off, or if you don’t feel convinced by the answers you’re being given.

They may encourage you to cut corners

It’s easy to become fixated on the word “cheap” and pay too little attention to the “web design” bit – but this tends to lead to false economies. Some low-cost agencies can encourage a “just good enough” mentality, in which you pick services primarily on price, without considering the wider impact on your business’s reputation – and, by extension, its profitability. You may end up with a website that is unreliable or difficult to use, or which looks unattractive, thus harming your precious brand image. In rare cases, designers may simply disappear in the middle of a job, leaving you in the lurch.

How to avoid this
Never settle for “just good enough”; it’s perfectly possible to obtain good, effective website design services without paying over the odds. You may need to spend a little more time and effort looking for them, but that investment will pay dividends later on. Make sure you stick to your guns – if you’re asked whether you really need a service like expert SEO or the fastest download times, don’t be tempted to compromise.

Conclusion

As with so much else in the corporate world, Cheap Web Design can either be cost-effective and satisfying or cheap and nasty. The key point to take away is that it is possible to have your website designed professionally and effectively, yet without the need for you to the bank. You’ll need to put some work into choosing the right company, but do that and you could well find your advertising campaigns forging ahead of those of your competitors – while paying less than they did.