Knowing where and when to splash the cash is a crucial skill when running a small business. When budgets are tight, it’s important to understand which investments will give you the best bang for your buck and where you can afford to cut back a little. Often, a little DIY goes a long way – we’re big believers in helping clients manage some of the more straightforward PR and marketing tasks themselves, such as tidying up their social media profiles or drafting simple press releases.
But there are some jobs where a bargain basement price tag is almost always a false economy. None more so than a cheap website – and it’s a conversation we often have with clients trying to strike a balance between budget and an effective resource.
A website is so important to your business – it’s the shop window, the place clients and customers go to find out about you and start to gain trust and confidence in your services and products. Sometimes, it’s their first impression of you. If it’s not effectively set-up, then it can actually be counter-productive, turning people away and onto your competitors as they look elsewhere.
A good website will very quickly pay for itself in terms of ROI.
What’s in a £500 website?
We’ve come across prices as little as £500 for setting up a website. It might seem an attractive fee, but we would strongly recommend checking what is included. The likelihood is, it will just be the build, won’t include any copywriting and usually would involve uploading the text yourself.
Essentially, it will be the website name and a template for you to fill in. If you’ve never attempted a website, this could be a real headache for you and many of the cheap ones aren’t that straightforward to use.
Writing for websites with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind is a skill in itself, which we’ve been crafting for many years, keeping up with trends, methods and changes in technology, so not something you can learn easily via a few tutorials. It means that the text is written in a way that search engines like – and it’s a craft!
We also use many tools to enhance rankings on search engines.
A good website needs to be correctly built, functional, future-proofed, hosted reliably and built on a solid platform that is not about to go down anytime soon.
Our preference when building sites for clients is to use WordPress which gives a wide range of customisable looks. Cheaper options often offer very standard and rigid designs. They’re also not very user-friendly when it comes to future updates and some require sign-up to a monthly fee which often offers little value for money. There can also be future hidden maintenance fees.
Choosing the cheap option now usually means spending more in the long run. In fact, we’ve helped many clients who originally opted for a cheap design only to find themselves paying the costs all over again a couple of years later because it wasn’t fit for purpose, wasn’t mobile, the SEO was ineffective, the site didn’t update and wasn’t doing what they needed it to do. Other issues can include not being able to add e-commerce, diary bookings, or plugins for various functions. For example, if you are running a guest house, can your website be linked to the calendar used on Airbnb?
Project-managing the design of a new website is time-consuming, so it is worth paying for the services of an experienced professional who can take this headache away. They will manage drafting the copy, liaising with the designer, testing functionality and ensuring the site is completely ready for going live.
If you’d like to talk about how we can create a shiny new website for you, or update your existing one, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at some of our other websites here.