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Web design: there’s always someone who will do it cheaper

Posted on January 27, 2017

 

In whatever industry you work, the old adage that “there’s always someone who will do it cheaper” rings true. The idea being that, when someone shops around based on price, the quality of the service they receive may not be what they were expecting.

There’s even a famous meme for it, featuring a tattoo ‘artist’ attempting to draw the winged horse Pegasus on a man’s back. The image the man is holding, and is expecting as his tattoo, isn’t quite what he’s actually having permanently inked onto his back.

If price is your deciding factor, you’re not going to get the best quality.

The same goes for website design. Heck, you can get a website for free if you use a self-builder service like Wix, so you don’t even need to pay a penny if that’s what your website is worth to you.

Let’s imagine for a second, though, that you do want to pay someone to build your website. What exactly does a website cost? How much is it to build a website?

I’ve seen people advertise their ‘web design’ services in Facebook groups for as little as £35 for a single-page website. The same person had a sliding scale of prices for three-page sites, five-page sites and so on – maxing out at somewhere in the giddy heights of £65.

Really, £65 for a website? Where the number of pages you have somehow affects the price? I wonder what sort of quality you’d get for that? Actually, I don’t wonder. I know.

For that sort of money, where the number of pages dictates the price, you’re getting a static website put together from a template. There is no content management system, there is no capacity to add more pages yourself, and there is no design.

What do I mean by ‘no design’? Well, this person is charging £65. Do you think, for that money, they’re going to sit with you and go over your business goals and objectives? Do you think they’re going to look at what you need from the website, how it will integrate into your business and how it will fit in with your marketing strategy? Do you think they’ll have a decade and half of experience working with some of the biggest names on their websites, having built ecommerce sites, gaming sites, entertainment sites, government sites? Do you think they’ll have endless experience of what works and what doesn’t work?

Or do you think, for that £65, they’ll have a template they’ve found somewhere and they’ll give you that – whether or not you want it?

What if we go up a level from the £65 for a five-page website of some characters touting for business in Facebook groups, and look at the £200 for a website guy who saying they can build you a website with a content management system so you can add as many pages as you like? That sounds more like it, doesn’t it?

Still, £200 for a website? That doesn’t translate into a lot of hours spent ‘designing’ your website. In fact, it probably translates into zero hours spent designing your website. What this person is (in most cases) doing is installing a version of WordPress (nothing wrong with that, we use it all the time) and then choosing one of the free, or cheap, themes from the WordPress theme directory for your website. With a simple click (two clicks actually: ‘download’ and then ‘activate’) your website is finished. The whole process takes a few moments and, unless you happen to spot one of the many thousands of websites which will have your exact same layout, you’ll most likely be very pleased with it.

Rest assured though, that website was not designed for you. It was designed by a theme developer so other people could use it, and your web designer just picked it because it looked nice – not because it solved the needs of your business.

Now, don’t get me wrong because there’s nothing at all wrong with WordPress. It’s used by 25% of the internet’s websites and it’s a great content management system. This website you’re on now is built using WordPress.

There’s also nothing wrong with the themes available on WordPress. There are some great free ones, and some of the paid themes are exceptional. Sometimes even, when we’re building an ecommerce site using WordPress, we’ll use a premium theme as a starting point because it will have a lot of the components we need already included.

Where the issue lies is when people choose a theme (either free or paid), swap the logo and then call that a web design. We saw it recently with a business contact who had their website designed by someone on the cheap, and they even received match funding for it. It wasn’t a web design at all. It was a downloaded theme. It even has elements left in the website that aren’t relevant to the business because the person who ‘designed’ it hasn’t even bothered to customise it properly.

There’s always someone who will do it cheaper. Remember that!

Darren Jamieson

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 15 years’ experience in these fields.

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