Cheap websites - What to expect

A cheap website could save you money and be perfect if your needs and expectations are low and you want something simple. But...

Why are some websites so cheap?

You'll find plenty of web designers who will happily produce you a cheap website for between £200-£400, and for some people this will be acceptable.

But there are many reasons that it won't be.

Are corners being cut, or are you being ripped off by more expensive web designers?

Cheap websites

Setting your expectations

Usually one of the first questions I'm asked by a new potential client is How much is a website?

It's perfectly understandable for any web designer to be asked how much a website costs, but it's not always easy to answer.

Here's why...

There is no shortage of ads on social media, YouTube and TV for cheap web design, and in a lot of cases the emphasis is on The cheaper the better!

In some cases that is exactly what people want to see, and they'll make a shortlist of low cost web designers who they'll contact and try to negotiate a better price by saying that they could get it done cheaper elsewhere.

I can get website built for less than half that price!

But what exactly will it be?

Do you know what each of those competing web designers will produce for your rock bottom price website?

Do they even know what you need?

Being clear on your requirements

So besides wanting to know how much, the underlying questions should include:

  • What do you expect from your website?
  • What do you need the website to do for you?
  • Who will be using your website?
  • How will you be making people aware of your website?
  • Who are your competitors, and what kind of website are they using?
  • Do you have content and images which can be used on your website?
  • Do you plan on adding and updating your own content after the website has been built?

There are many more possible questions, but the above examples should help you to be clear on what you want, and will help to get the conversation with a web designer off to a good start.

Some people are cautious that if they ask for too much, it will cost them a fortune. That isn't necessarily the case, but if there are specific things that your website absolutely must do or have, then ask!

But then what?

Think beyond the website

In most cases the website is just a part of the overall picture.

If you're expecting a ball park figure for the cost of a website, and plan on negotiating on price based on other web designers being cheaper, you're likely to be thinking in terms of the thing in the centre of the diagram below... the website ... and nothing else.

The reality is likely to be a cheap unsupported website, with little planning or strategy, a lack of customer focus, and hoping that it will magically attract visitors who will arrive, like what they see, and stick around long enough to become customers.

Is that a chance worth taking?

You'll find plenty of web designers who would be happy to produce a website like this for between £200 and £400 over 2-3 days, and for some people this will be acceptable. But for most businesses it won't be.

Website mind map

Surrounding the website you'll see that discussions, planning, competitor analysis, and other things usually come before design and coding. Further along the process will be implementing ways to get visitors to the website, measuring the number and type of visitors, monitoring what strategies are working and what needs to be improved.

The actual website could be anything from a few pages to a several hundred pages... even more... and you might require functionality to handle anything from tailoring the customer journey based on their characteristics, preferences, and selections made.

You might want to sell products, offer discounts or free delivery for orders over a certain quantity or value. Do you also need order tracking, cancellation and returns capabilities?

What about getting people to sign up to a mailing list for news and promotions? Do you want methods of allowing people to share your pages on social media with a simple click of a button, or have some of your social media posts display within the pages of your website?

I could go on with many more typical examples of requirements, and all aspects of website's design and functionality will require different types, methods and levels of testing.

So... let’s ask again, How much is a website?

This is not intended to scare you into thinking that a website suitable for your needs will be expensive. As long as you have realistic expectations, and don't set out to negotiate between web designers until you find one who will give in and do it for rates far below minimum wage, and then complain that it's slow, won't work on mobile and doesn't get any visitors!

And there are options within a manageable budget...

Who can build a cheap website?

As previously stated, is no shortage of people offering cheap web design, but why or how can they be so cheap?

Let's look at who is more likely to build a cheap website. They could include:

  • A beginner with limited knowledge and experience, and finds it easy to drag images and text into pre-built templates.
  • A part time web designer who wants to earn some money from their hobby.
  • Designers who is only able to get business by being cheaper than everyone else.
  • Someone who might be based in Eastern Europe or Asia.
  • A web designer who will uses pre-built templates to produce many cheap websites.
  • Someone using AI to generate web pages. However, AI generated websites, pages and features often need developer experience to tidy things up, make things look and behave how the client actually wants them and not how the AI determined, and also to make sure that things are compatible with each other (especially in the case of JavaScript functions, CSS, etc)

Let's face facts...

No solution is completely risk free, but you're more likely to get reliability and have success by using someone with experience, knowledge and commitment to providing a professional service.

Cheap website horrors

Levels of service and reliability

Cheap website designers are also unlikely to provide the level of support which most people expect, because they might need to produce several new websites each week to avoid going out of business. Handling so many clients with cheaply built websites can result in lower levels of service, and high instances of reliability issues.

So you might now be asking:

  • What will happen if I want to have my website updated?
  • What happens if something on my website breaks or it stops working?
  • What will happen if I can no longer contact the person who built my website?
  • Will I actually own my website, or will it belong to whoever built it?
  • Will the web designer be able to handle SEO work to get more people to visit my website?
  • Will the web designer be able (or even willing) to build landing pages for promotions that I want to run?
  • Will my website be legally compliant where GDPR, cookies, etc, are concerned?
  • Will the web designer submit my web pages to Google, Bing and other search engines?
  • Will the web designer be able to set up Google Analytics so I can see how many visitors I get?
  •   and so on...

Could I build you a cheap website?

Sure... but what corners would you like me to cut?

I could produce you a really cheap website and then quickly move onto the next, and the next, and so on. But the main thing that stops me from doing that is that I know I would need to heavily compromise on what I produce you, and on the level of service you get before, during and afterwards.

I also know that you'll be coming back asking if anything can be done to make your website load more quickly, display properly on your mobile phone, and attract more customers because it's not performing well on the search engines and you may be losing business as a result.

But Targa does provide a number of solutions which will not blow your budget...

Putting you in control of your website budget

Targa offers a number of budget-friendly fixed price website packages which go beyond the website and also has a really easy-to-use website cost calculator which you can use to work out what your next website could cost.

Explore that additional information at your leisure, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions

Website Cost Calculator Fixed Price Websites

Daron Harvey

I'm Daron Harvey, founder of Targa Web Solutions, specialising in AI chatbot implementation, website testing, auditing & consultancy. I am now in my 28th year of professional website production, testing and eCommerce best practices, and excited about the opportunities that AI chatbots and digital assistants can bring to ourselves, our customers, and our customer's customers.

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Daron Harvey

I'm Daron Harvey, founder of Targa Web Solutions, specialising AI chatbots, testing & consultancy.

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