It’s far too easy nowadays to see a website as a product that can be created for a budget price.
It’s tempting to look at quotes from professionals as overblown and overpriced when there are obviously cheaper offers out there, available at the end of a speedy Google search.
When you search 'cheap website' you are bombarded with literally millions of results.
Who would want to fork out 5K, 10K or even 20K for a website with so many cheaper options being dangled in front of you?
Obviously, the appeal of getting something at a lower cost, a bargain price, is thrilling. It's the excitement of seeing branded tech at a market or a designer bag that looks the part.
You know in your heart of hearts the knock-offs won't perform like the real thing, but you still walk away feeling like you got a good deal, like you cheated the system in some way.
Of course, as we've all experienced, 9 times of out 10, if something looks too good to be true, it's because it is.
The fake Apple watch will break, the designer handbag with the cheap material will start to fall apart. The same is true of a cheap website, but the damage can be far-reaching and much harder to rectify.
It's so often the case that a cheaper website may end up costing you more in the long-run when you notice it doesn't deliver as a website should.
Simply put, buying a cheap website could not only be a waste of time and money but a poor business move. The damage that a bad website can inflict on your leads and inquiries, brand, reputation and customer loyalty can require far more time and money to put right.
The pitfalls of cheap websites are often not easy to spot, so we've compiled some of them for you.
Here are some of the dangers of cost-cutting, budget websites...
Did you know that these cheap website providers could disappear at any moment?
And that they are under no legal obligation to tell you if they're shutting down?
Often, these budget website builders are faceless companies, with no port of call for contact or support.
You could be locking down your data with an unknown company that can legally shut down their servers without informing you, leaving you high and dry without a site or the data to transfer elsewhere.
If your template website has issues, who will be on hand to help you sort them out?
Often, companies who create cheap websites won’t include on-going support - you'll be left to fend for yourself and figures issues out. When problems inevitably occur, many companies will overcharge for them. This is how many of these inexpensive website builders are able to make their money.
You'll get a slow site
Oftentimes template websites will come with unnecessary features that make a page slow to load. Or, hundreds of users may be sharing the same server.
Not only does a slow-loading site make for a frustrating experience for your users, but it could have really catastrophic consequences for your Google rankings. A slow website will result in bounces, and bounces spell disaster for your SEO.
Penalised by Google (low rankings!)
If your website isn’t up to scratch, Google will be sure to penalise you for it. Google is constantly prioritising user experience and analysing websites that don’t satisfy the user.
If your website is coded poorly, designed chaotically or shows limited functions, the user won’t want to hang around. In turn, your Google rankings will drop, creating a vicious cycle that will take significant time and effort to rewrite.
Unable to make changes
Cheap template websites are often not equipped with the functionality to transfer web data, meaning you can be stuck with a site you can’t update.
As you don't own your own content, you're at the whim of your host provider. This means you'll be limited in the changes you can make and unable to transfer your data to a new host.
Often a budget web design company will charge next to nothing for a site, but sprinkle in sky-high additional charges.
Additional, and often necessary, services such as email accounts, image hosting and website transfer will add up to far more than you bargained for.
Cheap template designs can be poorly coded, leading to security issues. With a budget website, you run the risk of having your contact details stolen and sold to marketing companies. The content you include on the site itself can also be stolen, as you don't own it outright.
Just like you wouldn’t dream of leaving your shopfront with its doors open overnight, your website shouldn't be left exposed and vulnerable. A site should have the required infrastructure to exist securely, but also have the option of technical support when needed.