Cheap websites are everywhere!
But why shouldn't you get yourself a bargain?

Looking around online for a website developer is extremely easy thanks to sites such as gumtree, freelancer, fiverr and even facebook. But why shouldn’t you grab a website for less than a nice bottle of wine? 

What will you be getting?

I have taken a look across the major sites offering cheap websites and they are ridiculously cheap. on gumtree in particular you can get a 1 page website for less than £20.00. Looking at the ads in more depth often reveals key indications that you might want to look elsewhere. 

The sites I tested and looked at were just a random sampling and although ill be mentioning no names or companies, these are all sourced from one of the various sites mentioned above.

a lot of the compnaies I found mentioned they have created over 1000 websites since founding which sounds amazing, nearly 14 websites a week! thats 2 a day! Thats incredible. So they must be great right? Out of the sampling I have done I found the most common issues were pretty basic and its something a lot of the amateur web site developers get wrong. 
 

Poorly rendered images

Images on your site are 50% of the loading speed which affects 100% of your potential customers. if a site takes more then 3 seconds to load then 80% of people click away. thats like having 8 out of 10 customers literally walk to your shop door and then walk away. how frustrating is that! we measure this with bounce rate and anything over 80% is a bad sign. on average we aim for 20-40% which is an acceptable amount. 

Images which aren’t correctly formatted appear pixelated, overly zoomed in or loads in sections. This gives a poor impression as its a big part of the overall first impression you are giving your client. 

 

Excessive load times

These are caused by not looking at what you are doing, every image, every slider, every piece of jquery written (not a concern with cheap sites as they hardly ever contain custom code) add milliseconds to your site which add up. These sites are often built using a page builder such as Visual Composer, Beaver Builder or Elementor which can be great assets if used correctly, for example rapid prototyping of websites, getting designs right and seeing instant results etc, but I would hardly ever use them on a live clients site purely because of the bloat they contain, if your page contains 1 element of a page builder then you have to load the entire plugin to use that 1 element. We use. page builder here as we are pretty busy so we have made the choice to have a slightly slower loading site for the ease of updating content and adding new blogs quickly and easily so I can spend more time with clients. 

Site updates (or lack of)

The sites we looked at were ancient in the land of the internet (Jan 2017) thats 18 months without an update to content, SEO, plugins and security which is the biggest concern of all, as well as no mention of GDPR notices which as of 25th may, become compulsory by law for all but a certain group of businesses. So it seems a big cost of a cheap website is lack of any updates which could potentially cost you a lot in fines. The security threat is a concern as since January 2017 , wordpress has had a lot of security concerns patched as well as a lot of the plugins used as well, by not updating your site, your essentially leaving the keys to your shop in the door each night. at some point they will get abused. SEO is also a concern as its an organic process which needs constant monitoring, you cannot just set it once and forget it and looking at the SEO integration, a lot more time could have been spent on the site past the usual setting of a keyword and saving it. A lot of potential is being missed out on and each search you do not appear in is a customer your not ever going to get but your competitor will.

Not understanding SEO 

This is something which a lot of amateur developers get wrong almost every time. SEO is the reason you get found online. And there is more to it than just entering a keyword and mentioning it a few times around the site. I personally have spent many many hours on SEO from simple experiments with dummy sites to long term conversions to see what actually works and what doesn’t and 99% of basic websites get this wrong every time.  We spend hours checking your site to ensure it features your keyword and all variations of it, we use long tail keywords to ensure you will be found and set up an array of positive backlinks to your site with provide further weight in search listing. But this is just scratching the surface and its something we cannot go into detail here but be assured, if your website is underperforming then its almost certainly, Load speed and SEO. 

Verdict

Now I cant speak for everyone, It would be unfair to label every developer who offers cheap website services with the same digital brush as it were but in my experience, There are 2 kinds of web developers, “Fast food” developers and “Fine Dining” Developers. With the recent boom in easy website builders, anyone can offer web site “developing” at rediculously low prices and survive purely by offering cheap sites in volume, These are the KFC guys. On the other side if you really want a website to work for you and you want the experience of people in the trade who have the skill to present to you a 5 star service then you want the “Fine Dining” Developers who will work with you at every step, offering you solutions and custom coded solutions. 

If you are looking for a new website and the company your looking at is churning out 2 websites a day then you really have to consider the quality of what they are producing. You don’t go to KFC for a gourmet meal, you go to fill a hole until you get home for dinner and KFC churn out thousands of sandwiches a week. 

Your website can be the most important part of your business as its often the only chance you have of converting visitors to customers. Treat it like an employee who is always working. If that employee isn’t making sales then what do you do? You invest in your employees, provide training and guidance to get them up to speed. 

If your website isn’t making an impact in your business then get in touch with us. We can work out what you would like your website to do, where its failing and what can be improved. In most cases we can turn your web sales around within 6 weeks but this is different for every business. 

Perhaps you have had a cheap website in the past and your now struggling to get support for updates or security fixes then we can help out with that too. Security patches benefit the entire internet so we offer this at a reduced rate.