We’ve been in the website business for quite some time. Ten years, in fact.
In that time, we’ve seen plenty of potential clients meet with us, then decide to get one of the cheap websites from our competitors.
After all, it’s “just a website,” right?
While not everyone has the marketing budget to spend on a new website, it’s disappointing for us to find out that we can’t work with a really awesome business because they think we’re not worth the cost.
People simply hate paying more than they need to, so they shop around for the lowest price and go with whatever option has the fewest zeros.
But with websites—as with anything—you get what you pay for.
What’s Your Website’s ROI?
Instead of thinking about how much that website is going to cost, think about how it’s going to pay off.
That’s your return on investment, or ROI.
The problem with cheap websites is that they check off the box (“Now I have a website!”) but don’t deliver the goods. Is your site targeting customers? Do people take one look and then “nope” out as fast as they can? What’s the user experience like?
Most importantly: how is your website making you money?
Yes, there is a cost to building or redesigning a small business website. There’s also a cost to renting a storefront, paying employees, and buying inventory. But you don’t balk at those prices, because you know that they are necessary to attracting (and keeping) paying customers.
A website is no different. In fact, a fully optimized website with valuable content is better than an employee, because it works 24/7.
How to Spot a Cheap Website
But what if you’ve already spent the couple hundred on a new site?
Maybe you’re fairly happy with it now, but how can you know whether you got a good deal?
Here are some red flags to watch out for.
It was cheap. Ridiculously cheap.
Websites have one of the widest price ranges of any product you’ll ever purchase. Your final cost will depend on everything from the agency you’re using to the type of industry you’re in.
There’s no cut-and-dry formula we can give as a benchmark for you. But if—after you’ve gathered proposals from a good variety of companies—you find that one estimate is way waaaayyy lower than the others, steer clear.
Maintenance isn’t included.
Maintaining your website is just as important as getting the oil changed in your car. If you let it go without any attention, one day you’re gonna come back to a mess.
A basic website proposal should include the base price of the site, as well as a monthly service fee for hosting (that’s your site’s digital street address) and any issues that pop up over time.
Sites can go down for a number of different (unavoidable) reasons, and you sure don’t want to deal with that on your own.
You don’t see any increase in customers.
Here at Clarity Creative, people will sometimes refer to us as a “website company,” but that’s cutting us woefully short.
We’re actually a digital marketing company.
Because (believe it or not) your website falls under the category of “digital marketing.” And what’s the first rule of marketing? The more people who hear about you, the better.
If your website isn’t getting out there and reaching your demographic, each of your 600 dollars was wasted, son. Make sure your web plan offers some kind of SEO (search engine optimization) to get your website seen by the people who need to see it.
Cheap Websites Are the Real Risk
It’s important that you stop looking at your website as just as another product that you need to buy (or, worse yet, a risk that could cost you). Rather, look at it like a hardcore robot employee, one that works non-stop at attracting your target audience.
Why wouldn’t you want to invest in that?
However much you’re paying for a new site, you’d have to pay way more every year to get an employee to do the same thing (and even then, it would only be for 40 hours a week).
Cheap websites are the equivalent of a minimum wage employee. They don’t care about you, they don’t care about your business, and they don’t care about doing their job.
Do they still seem like a good deal?
A good-quality website will include things that a cheap website won’t. Things like functioning plug-ins, server space, optimized content, proactive maintenance, security, and analytics.
Customers don’t usually notice this kind of stuff, but they can tell when it’s not there.
Websites that crash or get hacked are as frustrating to use as they are to manage. You’ll have your fair share of headaches dealing with one of those cheap websites or you can avoid all of that by spending more for a quality product.
Invest In Your Web Presence
It’s no longer 2002; you can’t get away with not having a web presence.
Having an attractive, secure, easy-to-navigate, well-maintained website is just part of owning a business these days. And if your competitors are doing it well, who do you think people will flock to?
You wouldn’t half-ass your business, would you? So why would you half-ass your website?
Cheap websites are like slot machines: you’re gonna spend a lot of time for some really shaky returns. But if you treat it right, your investment is sure to pay off. Before you know it, you’ve turned $6,000 into $60,000.
Good ol’ robot employees. They’re worth every penny.
Clarity Creative Group is a web-based solutions company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We’re currently saving for a real robot employee, because it sounds awesome. We’ll name it Roi.