How a Cheap Website Can Cost You

Kurt Steigleder
October 4, 2019
Inexpensive website options are attractive - but they can cost you. With poor optimization, bad SEO, and nonexistent responsiveness, a cheap website can cost your more long-term.
Computer monitor showing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code
Photo Credit Ilya Pavlov/Unsplash

It’s 2019, nearly everyone understands that for their business to succeed they need a website. But how much should you be spending? Services like Squarespace and Wix can be used for as low as $12 a month, or even for free, and freelance web developers sell their services for next to nothing on Upwork and Fiverr. Using a cheaper option is hugely attractive to small businesses, and for good reason - it’s far easier to swallow paying a freelancer on Fiverr $600, than it is to work with an agency and pay potentially thousands. However, using one of these more affordable options can actually cost your business more in the long-term.

The biggest reason we caution against using something like Squarespace or Wix is simple - performance. Both services use highly proprietary code, which allows them to create a product that is wonderfully intuitive to use for the average consumer. Unfortunately, this has a serious drawback. Both Squarespace and Wix’s websites perform significantly slower than a website created with traditional HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; and your website’s performance is everything. If your website is slow, the user experience will suffer. The average attention span is as low as eight seconds, so every second that a user is spending interacting with your website - instead of waiting for it to load - is beyond precious. And speed isn’t just critical for your user experience, but also your ability to rank well in search engines. Google, Bing, and Yahoo all use the speed at which your website loads as a key ranking factor. That means if you want more web traffic without increasing your online advertising budget, your website needs to be fast.

Securing the services of an inexpensive developer through Fiverr or Upwork is, as we mentioned before, obviously attractive - and it can work out! However, it’s far more likely that the reason the prices of the developer you’re working with are so low is because their pricing is their entire value proposition. We’ve worked with a number of clients who went with the cheapest option available to them, only to get a final product that barely met their requirements, ran poorly, and was often delivered late. The website they ended up with was based on an inflexible template, with little to no individuality. Further issues were simply poor customer service, and no ongoing support - less than ideal when web standards are changing regularly.   

These are just some of the reasons we caution against cheap websites, and that’s without mentioning bad back-end SEO, nonexistent accessibility features, and often poor design responsiveness. However, we’re also not saying to run out and work with the most expensive developer you can find, racking up an invoice in the five- to six-figure range. What matters is that you choose a website solution that makes sense for you. If you’re starting a small side-business and getting all your business from referrals, Wix or Squarespace should be more than good enough for your needs. But if you’re serious about your business, and you want to embrace digital marketing, cheap websites can cost you long-term. The number of potential clients you can miss out on in a single calendar year will more than make up for the money you manage to save.

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GLX Consulting
PO Box 3051
Carefree, AZ
United States of America