So, you’ve decided that your company needs a new website, something more user friendly, works across mobile devices and is easy for you to maintain with minimal fuss but you’re not sure how much it will cost or even worse you want to pay as little as possible.

So, you jump onto google and type in “web design Birmingham cheap” – in fact it gets suggested by Google as a popular search term so there are others out there thinking and searching for exactly the same!

Whilst it may seem like a good idea to get your website designed for as little as possible there’s a whole dark side to this and many many pitfalls that you open yourself out to by looking for the cheapest possible solution.

The first thing that would jump to mind is if web design companies offer to design and develop your website for cheaper than they usually would then surely you would still be getting the same quality output?

You would think so, but more often than not when costs are cut, the quality of the output is also cut.

Website design is one of the things that many businesses try to spend as little as possible on – The reason being is that it is a commodity and there are thousands and thousands of web designers out there – but not all have the same quality, expertise and output as others.

Comparing apples to oranges, let’s say you needed a surgeon, urgently, would you waste time ringing round looking for the cheapest one, would price even be one of your top factors?

Which ever web design agency you decide to work with remember and lookout for the following:

Website design isn’t just what you see

– It’s how it behaves, how your users engage, how it’s structured and the journey that it takes your website visitor on. That type of expertise is something you need to look out for. When interviewing your web designer ask them questions about User Journey, User Experience (UX) and any testimonials or case studies that show they understand a website is more than the way it looks and that they have a proven track record in improving website conversions – After all that’s the purpose of your website, to convert visitors into enquiries or paying customers.

Web Development is where your website can really fall apart

– Lets say you have a great looking website, you’ve ran tests and got all the opinions you need and are happy that you have a sound front end, yet your backend can still let you down.

The backend of a website, known as your Content Management System (CMS) is often a neglected area and a big area that many people are unhappy with after they elected to cut corners and pay a cheaper price for their website.

Issues with your CMS can lead you too all sorts of problems even if your website on the front end looks great. Firstly a really bad CMS setup, especially if its plugin heavy such as on WordPress can cause the front end of your website to run slowly which will in turn affect your conversions.

Another downside with your CMS could be that it’s just too complicated to use, although WordPress is typically very simple to use, your web designer may leave you with a very basic set up that means when you are updating things you are messing with code and potentially causing other knock on effects that make it very volatile, difficult and frustrating to update your website.

When cutting corners with cheap website design you also risk further “under the bonnet” issues such as the actual coding of CSS, HTML & PHP being a mess.

If this is a mess and needs to be recoded then you are writing off 50% or more of your website.

Issues with poor coding can give you several issues such as:

  • Poor responsive web design – Your website may not respond to mobile devices correctly and may display with errors
  • Slow load times – Having poor code can cause unnecessary connections and cause your website to load slower which in turn will cause your conversions to drop as slow loading websites cause visitors to bounce.
  • Future updates – If your website is coded really bad then it may stop another web designer from working on it the future without needing to do a full recode which end up costing you even more money to put right what should have been right at the very start. Themes can also have issues, if you’re themes haven’t been coded correctly and a theme update automatically happens through your CMS – very common with WordPress to keep it secure – then your website can be made unusable after that theme update.

What may seem like you are saving £500 on a Monday morning could end up costing you thousands more on a Friday afternoon.

Web Design Prices and website costs

Often we get asked what the average cost of a website is and like anything else that’s bespoke and built to someone’s unique requirements the prices vary, but there are ball park figures that you should budget for.

A Birmingham web design agency will charge anywhere from £75-£150+vat per hour depending on their size, location and experience

For a CMS driven website with around 7 desktop & responsive page templates integrated into WordPress you would budget for around £4,000+vat

An eCommerce website will cost you significantly more, depending on your exact requirements and the ecommerce platform that you choose. An eCommerce website with 2 payment processors would require a starting budget of at least £6,000+vat and more depending on exact requirements and any 3rd party shipping or stock management API gateways that may be required.

App development is another game all together and due to it being such a specialist subject you will naturally expect to pay a lot more as there are far fewer app developers around than web designers – Let alone highly skilled skilled app development experts! Apps are built native or hybrid which means 1 version that works across iOS & Android or 2 separate files one for iOS and one for Android which will vary your cost. For app development you would be budgeting (for a very basic app) at least £10,000+vat and more depending on exact requirements.

Does expensive necessarily mean good?

Not at all!

We had one enquiry from a potential client whose online presence was turning over in excess of £300,000 from their eCommerce store alone.

They had been sweet talked by an agency to spend in excess of £30,000 to “improve” and “re-design” it on the basis that it will increase sales and pay for itself.

The agency whilst very good at sales, couldn’t deliver on their promise and were gambling on the fact that the website was already doing well, it couldn’t possibly do any worse.

But when you remove trust signals, make buy now buttons almost invisible and present products in tiny images and don’t have an understanding of the online buying psychology then it’s very easy.

So, if cheap web design and expensive web design can harm me then what does it come down to exactly?

There’s a number of factors and some of them involve you doing some research:
Check their Trustpilot or Google Reviews – Positive reviews paint a great picture of a business

Check their portfolio of work and contact past clients – Does the style and calibre of their work fit your style, speak to their clients and ask how their website is performing

Meet the team – Is the chemistry there, are they knowledgeable and answering your concerns or even correcting other advice that you have been given with the aim of protecting your online interests?

In summary price shopping for a website is a very very big mistakes and the pitfalls will end up costing you more in the long run, which is something our friends over at Gauchaweb explain well.

If you were offered a Ferrari at a Ford Mondeo price – That would be too good to be true and your suspicions would instantly be raised: maybe its stolen, maybe its got no engine, maybe it’s been in an accident, maybe the wheels will fall off, maybe it doesn’t start – Something would trigger your suspicion so why not with web design as the consequences could be huge and your business could end up spending even more money to put things right.

In summary, there are a number of web design companies in Birmingham, ALT Agency being of them, when doing your research and comparing does price really need to be at the top of your list? ALT Agency excel in experience, client satisfaction and customer service – We wouldn’t like to cut corners on pricing as that would go against our whole ethos.

It’s important when working with your chosen web development company to properly plan your website project in advance.

Whilst you can see and tell a poor website design just from looking at it and flowing through the user experience what you can’t tell, especially if website development isn’t your speciality is just how bad your website is beneath the bonnet.

Website development these days spans into all areas of web design, it’s required to allow you to change images and text on your website, it’s required to allow you to bolt into third party API gateways and have multiple connections between your website and other websites and it’s more than ever today in 2019 seeps into your SEO strategy.

Having a poorly developed website can harm your SEO, your SEO agency will be able to tell you more about this, but in simple terms your website should be developed so that you can easily adjust your meta titles, change your URLS and importantly it must be developed so that your website files are as smaller size as possible and your site is lightning quick on the front end.

With poor website development this may go a miss and cause you even further problems down the line whether that be speed issue or even worse: limitations on what you can change on your website.

Remember, whether its cheap web design or cheap website development it’s likely to be too good to be true and cause you headaches in the long run.

There will always be someone who can design a website for cheap or someone who knows someone who knows someone else who knows a little bit about computers and can knock a website together, but it takes years and years of trial and error, testing and measuring and understanding user behaviour to create a website that truly generates a return on a website and 99% of the time cheap web design does not offer that level of experience.

Choose your web design agency slowly and do your research, check out their Google reviews, view their testimonials and speak with past clients to get a fuller understanding of how the web design company will work, especially if they are charging you a cheap price.

When speaking with others be sure to ask about quality of work, what the objectives were and if they were met, what after care support they got, how any bug fixing was handled and always ask to speak to clients that they had an issue with or the client was unhappy with the agency to get a full warts and all picture of the agency.

Most people think they are making a saving with a cheap website or cheap web development, when in fact it can turn out to be the most expensive thing they ever do in terms of lost time, revenue and business.