Ever had that feeling when you bought something that was cheap only to discover later that there was a reason it was cheap! Yeah, me too - and that's why if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This is especially true when it's a cheap website!
In this article I want to share with you a few reasons why you don't want to cheap out on our your website project and help you to understand what a website can provide for your business.
The problem is that web developers can very quickly get into 'tech' speak - it all sounds very complicated and you're not actually sure what you are getting for your money. So here are a few reasons why you should avoid those 'budget' websites.
1. Understanding your website requirements takes time
If you want someone to understand exactly what it is you are trying to achieve in your business, it is going to take a lot longer than a couple of introductory meetings. A lot of website projects fail to deliver because the developer and the business owner are not on the same page. This is bad for the business and it's also bad for the developer because they will be running around like a headless chicken try trying to make you happy and getting it wrong!
If you don't know what you want from a website, your developer won't either! This is why our discovery process takes time. We start by asking you some fairly detailed questions about your business so that we can understand exactly what you need. If you struggle to answer those questions for yourself, we offer discovery workshops where we help you get right down to what it is you are trying to achieve. This all takes time and I guarantee that if you are looking for a budget website, this will not be factored into the price. We then take time to research your business to understand your competitors and what will help to give you the edge.
2. Your site should be optimised for Search Engines
This goes without says, but launching your site is a thorough process, ensuring that you are registered with search engines and that everything from your hosting, to your page content to the performance of your website is optimised to ensure it has the best chance of earning high search rankings. Without a systematic process to developing and launching your site, you will be left with some pretty webpages that hardly anyone looks at.
3. You should be measuring the progress of your website.
Want to know if your website is working? Well you should be measuring it using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics. This will provide you with basic stats such as to how many visitors you get to your site. More than that, your developer should be configuring analytics to track events on your website. This could be when a user makes a purchase, signs up to your mailing list or completes an enquiry form. Specific targeted data will help you to see how effective your website really is. This is why we have completed the Google Analytics IQ exam - to ensure that we know how to provide you with vital information about the performance of your site. This is often overlooked in a budget website, but I'm sure you'll agree that this is key to your success. Otherwise, how else can you decide if your website was a good investment?
4. Your website should be built on best practices
Did you know that there are loads of free themes available for WordPress. You can pick one that looks pretty and install it on your site. Well a lot of web developers know this too - in fact it's a great way of churning out cheap websites without doing much development. The problem with this approach goes back to what we said earlier - if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Free or cheap themes are ofter badly coded, opening up security problems with your website - allowing hackers to get into your information. Also, they may not use best practices for building the site and your site may be penalised by search engines like Google. Best case is that the developer makes a few mistakes, but the worst case is that the developer has deliberately put some nasty code in there for later.
At Perspective Design we don't use free themes and we have spent a lot of time researching what we will and wont use on your WordPress website. We take security very seriously and this is show in our attention to detail when building your site. All of our custom themes are built upon reputable theme frameworks which have been independently audited for security issues.
5. Communication is key
For a website project to succeed, there needs to be a system in place to help the developer and the client communicate effectively. This helps to keep everyone on the same page and helps projects to run smoothly and be completed on time. All of this takes time to plan and manage. Maybe you have experienced this before when deadlines have dragged on and you feel like you're not actually getting what you thought you had paid for. You are not going to get this level of project management on a £500 budget.
6. There are only so many hours in the day!
Here's a little plea from me. If you are paying £500 or less for a website, there are only 2 possible scenarios. 1) Like we've already talked about, your website is probably not getting the attention that it deserves and you will end up paying out later when you realise that. 2) Your website is being built by an awesome developer who take pride in their work and is doing all of this stuff already. If that's the case, I guarantee that they are overworked and underpaid because managing a project like this properly will be working them into the ground! If you value what they are doing, maybe buy them a beer or rethink your budget! I know this from past experience of trying to cram all of this value into a low budget. Something will eventually give!
If you are currently planning your next website project, it will help you to set a budget and stick to it. Tell your developer what your budget it is. Have a set timescale and talk it through. This will help them to work out what is possible within your budget and also so that your site can be launched on time!
If you're interested in contacting Perspective Design about your website project, the best place to start is by checking out our development process. We have systems in place to ensure that your project is given the attention that it deserves. We'll need to ask some deep questions to get to grips with what you need for your business so be prepared, it's an awesome experience!