Figuring out how to keep your website design costs as low as possible is one of the many important issues that new business owners will face. After all, a professional business website is pretty much a requirement if you really want to up your chances of success in today’s business environment.
Like any prudent business owner, you don’t want to spend too much money on website design costs unless you’re sure it will give you a positive return on your investment. Needless to say, knowing how to reduce website design costs without cheapening your website can be a daunting process.
To make things even a little more confusing, website prices range from the free (and do keep in mind that there really is no such thing as a 100% free website, even if it advertised as such) to the ridiculously expensive.
As a new business owner, you shouldn’t try to shoot too high for something you don’t need at this point, but you don’t want to aim too low and end up with a cheap website that does nothing for you either.
Fortunately, there are some smart and practical steps you can take that will help reduce your website design cost without having to sacrificing the quality of your website.
Cut on Costs, Not on Quality
Let’s discuss some of the ways you can reduce your website design cost in a way that still allows you to show off your high-quality business website to the world.
Responsive design looks great and helps reduce website design costs
To ensure their websites look good on various devices, many business owners pay web developers to create multiple versions of their same website for desktops, mobile phones and tablets. That’s one separate website for EACH device!
With so many different devices and screen sizes currently available in the market these days, the website design costs can be quite prohibitive, especially if you’re just starting out.
The reality of today’s world is that that more people are using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets than ever before. In fact, mobile devices now outrank desktop computers as the preferred method of accessing the Internet.
So if your website looks terrible on certain devices, you risk being perceived as being out of touch with today’s generation and losing sales opportunities to your competitors with mobile-friendly websites.
Furthermore, websites that are not mobile-friendly are now at risk of losing search ranking effectiveness. Yet, many small business websites in Australia are still not optimised for mobile devices.
Fortunately, responsive design does away with the multiple website stuff by allowing developers to create a single website that looks great regardless of the mobile device and screen size being used.
Responsive design and online marketing
Another way that responsive design helps lower your overall website design costs is by also streamlining your online marketing campaign. For instance, if a business has multiple website versions created for different devices, they would also need a separate SEO campaign for each website they have.
Not only does this make your online marketing campaign a real headache to manage, it can also make your costs skyrocket. Fortunately, implementing a responsive website allows businesses to focus their SEO campaign on a single version of their website.
Mobile-specific SEO strategies such as local search optimisation, uses high-ranking keywords that a mobile user is more likely to search for on their mobile device. The better the experience you offer your customers, the more likely your sales and online traffic will increase.
Get a website with a content management system (CMS)
A content management system (CMS) is a great option for business owners as it allows them to take greater control of the content of their website. This also gives web designers more time to focus on the things they are better at such as the technical and design aspects of your website.
With a CMS, website owners are able to add, create and publish their website content themselves instead of having to contact their web designers to make the updates and then get charged for it.
Populating the site with great content doesn’t require any coding skills. Platforms such as WordPress include a content management system app that make this process very easy and lets you update your content how you want it and when you want it.
Small steps DO count
One of the most exciting aspects of starting a new business is the launch phase. Don’t halt the process by thinking you need the latest technology and design trends implemented in your website right then and there.
Starting out with a small but effective website is quite often the most recommended path to follow. A small website can still promote your business, drive visitor traffic and best of all; it can still grow as your business grows over time.
Not only is starting out with a 10 page website full of the latest bells and whistles unnecessarily expensive, it also makes it much harder to provide a great user experience and can potentially cause more confusion to your visitors than anything else.
Focus on promoting the products you already have and the features you need to provide a great user experience today. That will give your website the flexibility it needs to evolve according to your target market’s needs and business environment.
Common Mistakes When Trying to Reduce Website Design Costs
Just as there are steps that help you reduce website design costs, here are also some of the common things you shouldn’t do when looking for affordable website design.
Being cheap is not the same thing as lowering website design costs
Of course, everyone likes to save money, but trying to be cheap instead of trying to efficiently reduce website design costs can be the wrong strategy to follow in your business. For starters, setting up a free Facebook web page for your business is NOT the same thing as having a website and, NO, those cheap DIY website builders you can find online by the thousands are really not a good deal.
As a business owner, it can be misleading and harmful to your business to think that you’re losing money if you are spending thousands of dollars on a website design. Similarly, don’t automatically think that it must be a great deal if you buy a really cheap website that only costs a few hundred bucks.
More often than not, these “great” deals turn out to be disastrous, wholly ineffective and can cheapen your business image and reputation. In the end, you’re also likely to be spending more money and valuable time than you ever intended by having to rectify these missteps and getting back up to speed.
Many small business owners also try to outsource their website designs via freelancing websites as it offers the potential for getting a complete website built at a low price. While it may sound like an appealing option for business owners on a tight budget, the end result can disappoint.
Outsourcing your website design is really a hit or miss situation, and with the large pool of freelancers (millions of them) with questionable backgrounds and experience to choose from, the odds of making a successful hit are really stacked against you.
In addition, freelancers are not your employees, so you have very limited control or supervision of their actions and their schedules. There are tons of stories of freelancers who have abandoned projects midway through the process, forcing the website owner to start the process all over again.
Remember, your business website is like your virtual storefront for the whole world to see. Hiring an established web development agency to showcase your amazing products and professional website will give your business the best bang for your buck.
The bottom line is that your business needs a website to help it make money and grow. Getting some cheap website without the professional design and development services that websites need to be competitive in today’s world will hurt your chances of success.
Don’t buy into the overly-hyped website design
Many unethical web designers may try to give business owners a lengthy sales pitch about why their services and abilities are unique to their competitors. They persuade their clients to pay above-market rates for what amounts to be mediocre website jobs.
A professional web developer will spend less time talking about them and more time discussing the many ways their expertise, resources and insights can help add value to your new or existing business.
Most professional developers prioritise the cultivation of long-term relationships over single website design gigs. Therefore it isn’t surprising that the best ones are willing to discuss their qualifications and past projects.
Not maintaining your website on a regular basis
Trends in website designs are constantly evolving and it is important to stay on top of the latest design techniques and technologies in order for your website to remain relevant and effective in promoting and growing your business.
Failing to maintain a strong, professional image will eventually leave your website looking outdated and ineffective, therefore leaving you at risk of losing sales opportunities to your competitor’s flashier and more believable websites.
Having a great looking professional website is just not enough anymore. These days, you still need make sure that the technical aspects like website maintenance are in good shape as well.
Common issues that regularly need to be checked include installing the latest security patches, updating your operating systems, backup of your site files and renewal of plugin licenses among other important items.
The relatively small cost of regular website maintenance really helps mitigate the potential risks of getting hacked or working with outdated devices. In addition, most professional web design firms are available to provide phone and email support when you need them.
It can be easy to overlook the importance of a great-looking website for your business, but the reality of today’s world is that if you do not have a professional online presence, your chances of success will be severely hampered.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to not settling for some cheap DIY website that looks awful and will do nothing to bring in the traffic that will drive sales.
On the other hand, you do not want to overshoot your budget expenses by trying to have the fanciest website on the Internet. If you focus on the right things and keep your website design costs down, your business will have a much better chance to grow and prosper.
Following these practical tips will help you enjoy a website that looks great, provides a great user experience and draws a steady stream of visitor traffic. Best of all, you don’t have to decimate your company’s budget to enjoy it.
web design photo from Shutterstock