Your Website Should Offer Long Term Value To Your Business, So Avoid Taking Any Shortcuts That Will Hinder That Growth.

Throughout the years, I have noticed a growing trend in the “$99 Web Design” offer, which I believe undermines the true value of what it means to have a website and a professional web designer by your side.

If you are looking to establish a strong online presence, creating an optimized and stimulating website is the first step. I understand that sometimes paying $5,000 for a website might not be ideal for a business that is just starting out or on a limited budget. But when you look past the initial cost, you will see the true value of what you are investing in.

A Standard Template For All

If you decide to go the “$99 web design” route, you will most likely be picking from a handful of generic templates that the developer has created. Once you have chosen your template, you may have the ability to change the colors and font of the template. Other than that, it is likely you will end up with the same standard layout as hundreds of other websites out there on the internet.

The majority of these templates are not designed for conversion purposes – which is the main reason for creating a website. Whether the goal is to have a prospect call you, fill out a contact form, or sign up for your newsletter or blog, you are looking for some sort of interaction. Without the flexibility to move items around and create a customized layout, you are truly limiting your business growth. If your current website can’t help you reach your online business goals, you will end up spending more time and money in the long run. Your website should work for you, so make sure to invest in it exactly what you need the first time around.

A professional designer and developer will..

You need a flexible and customizable website layout that helps you stand out from your competition and give your visitors a great first impression. A quality web design professional understands the conversion process and knows that creating a unique user experience will lead your visitors to the established conversion goal.

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Lackluster Content

Content plays such an important role in the strength of your website. Through the use of words, you have the ability to convey your company’s message and mission to help you gain leads and increase your revenue. Cheap website developers offer standard web copy that offers no individualized style, voice, or point of view to help you stand apart from the competition. What’s worse, you may even be given duplicate content. I have personally come across many websites that have the same layout and content with just the business information changed.

beware of duplicate content

Along with making your company look bad, duplicate content will present problems with SEO optimization. It affects your rankings, which affects your traffic and, in turn, affects your online conversion and leads. Perhaps your goal isn’t even to rank right away but simply to establish some sort of online presence. Once you learn and understand more about the importance of online marketing, you will want to eliminate that duplicate and lackluster content. Rather than having to pay an entirely new company to rewrite your existing content, invest in a company that will provide you with unique, quality content from the very beginning.

Now, let’s say that you have the ability to collaborate with these “inexpensive” website developers on the content that will go on your website. How can you be sure they will be able to properly optimize it with on-page SEO factors? If your goal is to get your pages ranked for specific keywords, then on-page optimization is crucial. With these type of developers, you are often charged an additional fee for this service, which means your $99 website is now increasing in price.

A professional design company will…

A quality web design firm will have a content editor on-site who is up-to-date with the latest and greatest techniques of content marketing. This includes writing in a tone that works well with your brand, writing engaging and informative content to keep your audience on-page for an extended period of time, as well implementing SEO techniques that will get you page ranked.

Content is an incredibly important component of your website. Don’t sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks.

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Will You Own Your Website At The End of The Day?

Don’t forget these “cheap” or “affordable” website builders have to make their money somehow! Most often, they do it through add-ons and web hosting. In order to get a $99 website, you will usually have to host your website through this developer – see image below.

monthly hosting costs

If you are going to invest money into your website, be sure that you will own the rights to everything at the end of the day.

This includes:

  • Your domain (if purchased through them)
  • Your website (template included)
  • The content on the website
  • Any images included
  • Any analytical information

There are times where you have to meet a timeframe criteria before all rights are handed over. They may require that you have to host with them for a minimum period of at least a year or two. From what I have learned through the experiences of my clients who have taken this route, the majority learned the hard way that they, in fact, did not own their website. This means they had to start over from scratch because they wanted to upgrade their look to a more flexible design, which ended up costing them more in the end.

With a professional design firm…

You will have the rights to your investment at the end of development. This includes the rights to quality content, high resolution stock images that are used on your website and any Google analytics that are added in the backend.

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Don’t Look At The Cost, Look At The True Value

A website that costs thousands of dollars might not seem like an ideal path for new businesses, but it is important to understand that you are not just paying to have a website designed. With your purchase, you are receiving professionalism, knowledge and guidance within the design world.

Consider and look for the following when hiring a web designer and developer:

  • Is the company/individual timely with their responses and project delivery?
  • Are they knowledgeable and experienced in their field where they can guide and educate you throughout the project?
  • Do they have the knowledge to create a website that will help you reach your online goals?
  • Instead of always saying “yes”, do they offer professional insight that will help you challenge your requests which will, in turn, offer a better design and user experience?
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In Conclusion

While the $99 web design route is a tempting choice, especially for new businesses and individuals who are on a tight budget, consider what your long time goals are. Why are you looking to design a website? What are you looking to offer? Consider that where you are now in your business might not be where you are in a year so your website will need to be able to adapt and flow with any changes.

If you are going to invest in your company, do not go the cheaper route. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Take the time to plan out your online goals. If you find you cannot afford a higher end custom website, hold off for a bit till you can work with the company to establish a payment plan. Keep in mind not all web design firms are created equal. There are plenty of companies that offer web design services, but not all of them will be able to provide you with exactly what your business needs. Take the time to look for the one who not only fits your budget but can offer you long term value as well.

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