How cheap should a website be?

How cheap should a website be is a tricky question to answer in one sentence as it depends on a lot of different factors including how much budget you have and what type of website your customers need.

How much budget can you set aside for your website?

A website is primarily to raise your profile (let people know your business is alive and well) and ultimately increase your revenue. Your website is, without doubt, your 24/7 sales person who is always well presented, has all the answers, offers advice straight away, says ‘thank you’ as soon as an enquiry is made, never sleeps, never takes a ‘sicky’ and never goes on holiday. Hmm, hang on a moment – that sounds like a priceless employee, doesn’t it? How big a wage would you need to pay for that perfect employee?

Whether your website should be an online shop or a brochure site with a blog and gallery, the same principles apply.

Your website is the online version of that ‘perfect employee’. I’m not saying you need to put aside a budget of £120k/year (or whatever the going rate is for your dream sales person/technical advisor), on the contrary because our professional brochure websites start at only £40/month. See our low cost websites, which are custom-built and affordable. But if you decided that you wanted to pay as little as you possibly could (free even – like free opensource websites from Wix, GoDaddy, Website Builder or Yola for instance) then you’re undoubtedly not going to see any success for your website or any return on your investment. If you put nothing in, you’ll get nothing out. And sorry to labour the point but free doesn’t mean free – you will pay for it in the end, somehow, and going for a free website or a cheap open source website with no updates will do your business more harm than good.

Entry-level websites

I touched on opensource websites just now, so I’ll explain why it’s important to choose the right kind of website for your business and the right developers too!

Entry-level systems such as WordPress which, although they serve a purpose of low-cost websites, need regular attention and updates to keep them secure. So what you think is 'low-cost' doesn't work out like that in the long term. They will get hacked if the code is not kept constantly up to date and this can ruin a business.

Having opensource websites and plugins for clever widgets isn’t the problem (although they do use incredibly bloated code which is not good practice – it’s a bit like wading through mud for search engine robots). I know I’ve just said this but it really is so important - you will have to be really on the ball to ensure the code is constantly kept up to date otherwise your website will get hacked. That is a fact. To avoid this ticking time-bomb you will have to either learn how to do the updates yourself (which you might enjoy if you have the spare time), or employ someone to update the code for the core site and find updates for the plugins too (if you have any added to your WordPress website, for instance).

Budget web agencies who sell these cheap opensource systems to undercut competitors don’t necessary tell you that you will also need to keep the opensource code updated (or perhaps they just don’t know or, worse still, don’t care), so be very aware of any hidden charges for those ‘cheap websites’. Don’t be afraid to ask them what kind of software they use. If they are using off-the-shelf (open source) software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, PrestaShop ask them why they use it - do they not know how to code themselves? And if the regular updates to patch up the constant security breaches are included in their price or is it extra per month? This may then highlight that the ‘cheap website’ isn’t as cheap as you thought it was.

If you’d like some more help deciding on which website to buy, contact our website designers in Wiltshire and we can help you.

Written by Kirsty Paget