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Top 10 Reasons To Avoid Cheap $500 Website Design Companies

Apr 3, 2008
You need a website and you just found a company advertising the cheapest rates around. This is a no-brainer, right? You're going to save a boatload, right?

Unfortunately, more and more disaster stories like this one are surfacing: "I hired one of those $500 companies to build my website, but they did a horrible job, they never finished, nothing works properly, and now they don't return my calls!"

If you're thinking of cutting corners, be warned! Here's a little preview of what to expect:

1. No Talent. A talented web designer is a prized possession. A web designer with little or no talent works for a $500 web design company, which lacks the artistic creativity of a professional design house.

2. Poor Communication. $500 web designers have no formal education. This limits their expertise and communication skills. So be prepared to expend a much greater effort and more time building your site. Some phrases you'll soon be familiar with:

"Can you please repeat that?"
"I thought we went over this already!"
"You said you'd call last Monday!"
"This is the third time I'm telling you!"
"You said the project would be done by now!"

3. Bait & Switch. Many companies advertise $500 websites just to pull you in. The final bill is often many times that amount. Make sure to see a contract up front and read the fine print carefully. Most $500 websites come with an obligatory 2-year hosting fee of $39 monthly, $49 monthly, and even $59 monthly. So you end up paying for a nice website but getting stuck with a cheap one instead! Not to mention unreliable hosting that you're stuck with for two years.

4. Atrocious Copywriting. A website is only half graphic design, the other half is copywriting, the words used to grab your audience's attention. Copywriting is crucial. Your website has only 6 seconds to captivate visitor interest before it's "Asta La Vista, Baby." And, no, they won't "Be back." Do you think $500 designers work hard to ensure that visitors actually stay on your site? In fact, most cheap web designers charge extra for their atrocious copywriting. But what are their writers' qualifications? Are they university trained? Do they have real-world marketing experience?

5. Irresponsible. What separates a good work ethic from a bad one? The answer is simple--salary! Imagine you worked at a job paying $13,000 a year. Now imagine the boss asked you to stay late every night. How would you feel? But how would you feel staying late for $100,000 a year? Sure, we all like to think we'd go all out no matter what. But if we be honest with ourselves, reality is a bit different. Bottom line? Getting paid less will show in one's work and dedication.

6. Shoddy Outsourcing. Some $500 designers outsource coding, scripting and HTML overseas to third world countries. What do you get? An outdated website that's horribly designed, that doesn't function properly and that is virtually worthless. It pays to buy American.

7. Boring Templates. $500 web companies use dime-a-dozen templates, giving you no control over the finished product, and making your site look like every other site out there. Ask them to change the design, and their answer will be "I can't." Ask them to shift the text, and their answer will be "I can't."

8. No Guarantees. $500 web designers make you sign a contract tipped in their favor. Ask to take a peek and you'll read, "The website is complete only when the designer says it's complete. The client has no say in the matter." They know you won't be 100% pleased with the finished product!

9. Unreliable Resources. Ever notice how some websites download faster than others? Guess who builds the websites that take ten years to download? You guessed it! Same deal with website downtime. Ever notice how some websites you visit often suffer downtime more than others? If you want to ensure that your website will be there in the morning, or that your site will download at lightning speed, steer clear of those $500 designers who rely on cheap resources.

10. Can't Deliver. Most $500 designers have limited expertise. Some don't know flash, others don't know how to create contact forms. Some can't create search functions, others don't know log ins. Make sure you ask the right questions. If not, you risk getting stuck with a company that can't deliver what you need.

Putting things into perspective, when you hire a $500 web design company, you take on all the headaches and frustration of dealing with an inferior staff, lesser quality and questionable service. In other words, you get what you pay for. Sure we all like to save money if we can. But you shouldn't buy a website at a rock-bottom price for the same reason you shouldn't buy a $9 pair of shoes--because you'll be wasting your money and getting what you pay for. Top quality web design and copywriting is a matter of price.

Sometimes your budget is limited and the $500 web design company may seem your only option. Dedicated design houses usually care enough to offer payment plans. Just ask.

The moral of the story is that you get a much better value by partnering with a reasonably priced web design house. You work with a dedicated team of kind and friendly professionals who always deliver what you want on time, within budget, and in a way that's going to make your website impress prospective clients and convert them into paying customers!
About the Author
Richard Cagney heads the SEO/SEM division of the affordable custom website design and marketing firm All Access Unlimited (http://www.allaccessunlimited.com), in Stamford, Connecticut. AAU provides high conversion marketing to companies aiming to expand and grow in the American and world markets.
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