Design

Can a cheap website hurt your business?

There are basically two types of website available...

  1. 1. "Template" sites that can be bought very cheaply, but will look like many other sites that use the same template.
  2. 2. "Custom" websites, designed from scratch specifically for your business, to give your business a unique web presence.

The first is very cheap, and for many small businesses that is a very tempting way to put their business online.

The second costs more, but will be unique and make your business stand out from the crowd.

Which should you choose for your business?

Let's compare the two opions...

1. Cheap Template Site:

You don't get what you pay for:
Cheap websites are usually created using an existing template, normally bought off-the-shelf for between $5 and $30 by the companies that offer very cheap websites. These sites are usually bland and impersonal and look just like a lot of other sites that also chose the "cheap" option. The companies selling these sites entice you with knock-down prices in the sure knowledge they will be able to take a lot more money from you later...

No Control:
Cheap websites are often cheap due to having no way for you, the owner, to make changes on the site yourself. So while the initial cost appears cheap, companies selling these template sites make their money by forcing you to pay them a small fortune every time you want to make a change to the site. Such sites can soon become very expensive indeed.

High Hosting Costs:
It is normal practice for Web design companies to ask that their customers use their own Web hosting services. This ensures that if something goes wrong, the designers can fix it right away, without having to depend on getting acccess from a 3rd party hosting company which can cause major delays.

But cheap template website vendors normally offset the initial low cost of your website site by charging above average hosting fees. Before you agree to buy a cheap website, ask about hosting fees! If you are going to have to pay more for hosting than the industry standard, then your new cheap website can soon seem rather expensive.

Little or No Customer Support.
Now you have bought a cheap website the company that sold it to you may well leave you on your own. They are unwilling to spend further time supporting clients that have paid them so little in the first place. So what happens if something goes wrong with your new site?

Cheap web companies make their money by quickly knocking up off-the-shelf websites, then they leave their customers to fend for themselves. They sell these sites so cheaply they literally have no money left over to put aside to cover things like Customer Support or Server Security.

Hostage Domain Names.
When you sign up with the cheap site vendors you will, unless you already have one, choose a domain name for your new site. This domain name then becomes your URL - i.e. our domain name is cms-wales.co.uk.

However, later, when you want to move away from the cheap website vendor, maybe because you have discovered their hosting is a lot dearer than those of reputable hosting companies, or because of lack of customer support, they may then tell you that they own your domain name, not you, and they want a large fee to hand it over...

Cheap Web design companies often use such tactics to trap their clients in an attempt to stop them taking their business elsewhere, because cheap website clients are part of their lucrative "gravy train".

Minimal functionality.
If you do buy one of these cheap websites, it it more than likely that it will only have a few pages, and won't have any of the modern interactive elements that make a website enoyable for visitors. So your visitors will be unimpressed as there is nothing for them to do once they reach your website, so they go elsewhere, in droves, so you lose potential clients every day...

2. Custom Website:

You do get what you pay for:
A custom website, designed with your company and your company image in mind, ensures that your visitors will enjoy their visit because the site is unique, they will not see another like it on the web. This makes your visitors more likely to stay on the site longer to look around and find out more about about your company, its products and services, and hopefully go on to become one of your customers.

Full Control:
We give you full control over the site and can provide detailed tutorials on how to use the site Administration Area to make any future changes to your website pages, Blog or shop products yourself, quickly and easily. If you already know how to use programs like Microsoft Word, you’ll be able to make changes to your website easily.

Competitive Hosting Costs:
Our hosting accounts, optimised for dynamic websites and their databases, range from £8.33/month, and include 24/7 customer support.

Full Customer Support:
We offer full 24/7 customer support for all our clients. This means we can tackle any issues you may have right away.

Domain Names registered in YOUR name:
We always register domain names for our clients in the name of the client, or the client's company. So you always own your domain name and can easily take it with you should you ever wish to change hosting company.

Enhanced Functionality:
We work with our customers to create beautifully functional, fun to visit websites that your visitors will love. You pay a bit more but the results are always worth it.

Summary:

Cheap website vendors can be cheap because they rarely have the normal business expenses such as those involved in running a real office, or the costs of running professional software such as Adobe Photoshop etc. They often operate from their laptops as the work involved in setting up a templated website is minimal.

Professional, custom website designers, charge more because they are experts in their field, and have the real business expenses invloved in running an office with high-end workstations running dedicated top-end software.

The choice of "cheap" or "custom" is of course entirely up to you. But whichever route you choose make sure you ask the vendor about customer support, who would own your domain name, and the hidden costs such as very high hosting fees.

Beware!
Whenever you are approached by a company offering to design you a website, you should, first and foremost, check their email address matches the domain name of their company website, and check their website - i.e. if their website is at www.wesellwebsites.com but the emails they send you are from a free email service such as @GMail or @Hotmail etc., then the warning bells should be ringing - because if things go wrong, once they have your money they can simply "throw away" that free email address and get a new one to target their next customer...

It is, unfortunately, very common for cheap website vendors to 'pretend' they work for a large organisation, so you go and check their website out and it looks great! But because they don't actually work for that company they have no access to the company's mail server, so they have to email you from a disposable email address, like GMail, while they work on parting you from your money. Always check this first, because this simple precaution can avoid you losing your money and getting nothing at all in return.

Finally...
Always remember that a cheap website may well give your visitors the impression that if you are willing to skimp on something as vital as your global online presence, then maybe you also skimp on your products and services and are therefore best avoided...

This is why, if you are in business, you should seriously consider having a unique website purpose built for the business. So it is clean, smart, easy to use, but more importantly, unique!



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