As the demand for an online presence is increasing, so are the options available. You’ve probably already seen adverts on TV, Youtube or even Facebook for various website builders or even oversea developers that can give you an amazing website for pennies.
In this post, I am going to cover the pros and cons of these cheap website options and why they aren’t always the best thing for your business.
Cheap Website Developers
If you want an online presence but don’t have much budget, you might find yourself tempted by a cheap developer. With there being many freelancing websites for you to browse, you will find many developers available for as little as $6 an hour.
So the important thing to ask yourself is, why are they so cheap?
My first thoughts are that cheap = poor quality. I have seen so many examples of really bad, messy coding by a cheap developer that hasn’t given the client the desired outcome. This often results in the client having to pay even more money, to hire a new developer to fix the mess left behind.
Secondly, many cheap developers try to cut their costs in any way possible. This can mean spending little time on your website, using the cheapest (or even free) resources, regardless of their suitability / quality and by not giving you the basic tools and support you need to get started.
Why does a good developer cost a lot?
I believe a lot of people don’t always understand the time and skill it takes to build a website. As a result, people don’t understand why they have to pay as much as they do for a quality developer.
A fine example was when I was approached by someone who wanted me to build a bespoke website for £45. When you take into account that a bespoke website can take at least 5 days to build – I would have been getting £9 a day which is obviously unrealistic.
According to my research, the average day rate for a developer is between £100 – £250. However, these rates come with higher quality work and a more experienced developer. You can also be rest assured that someone who is receiving a good day rate from you, will care a lot more about the work they are doing, than someone who is receiving £9 a day.
Cheap Website builders
A website builder is an online system that allows you to build your own website without any coding knowledge. They often use visual editors so you can easily see what your website will look like as well as using a drag and drop interface.
Lots of people use these cheap website builders and swear by them. Personally, I believe that if you want to take your website seriously and want to take it to a professional level, you need to step away from these bad boys.
Why do you not recommend them?
Quite often, once you have selected a template for your website, you cannot change it easily or not at all. This can often result in you having to start from scratch if you fancy changing the look of your website.
Website builders often output very messy code. You might not be able to see it when you look at the website but it could effect your ranking ability and the loading speed of your website.
Several clients have reported to me that despite taking all the right measures, their websites simply are not being ranked by Google. The main cause of this seems to be the code being outputted not being valid and there being no way to correct it within the builder or the template.
Some builders are restrictive and don’t give you full control over the look and feel.
Not all builders offer the most important features such as e-commerce or even the ability to blog. If they do, you will likely have to pay a fee for it.
What about pre-made templates?
I often get a lot of interest in WordPress websites using a pre-made template found on places such as Themeforest. These themes are great because they offer so many options and give you a lot of freedom to customise them to your liking. You also get support and regular updates from the theme authors.
Purchasing a pre-made theme can reduce your costs dramatically whilst still allowing you to have a nice looking website with lots of functionality.
If these pre-made themes are great, why would I consider a bespoke website?
Whilst the pre-made themes are great, you can only edit the options they give you. If it’s something more complex, you most likely need to hire a developer to help you.
Also, because these themes offer so many different options – they can bloat your website with plugins and files you simply do not need.
Is a bespoke WordPress website the best option?
If you want to take your website to the next level, bespoke is most definitely the best way to go.
You can tell your developer exactly how you want your website to look and feel and they can recreate it for you. Good developers will ensure your website code is high quality, W3C compliant, clean and effective. They would also make sure all content areas can be easily edited with minimal fuss or coding knowledge.
As the website is built to your needs, it will be free of unwanted coding or plugins which will of course, help your website longterm with site speeds and SEO.