So YOU are finally ready to create a website and are seeking web designers to determine the best fit. Some offer you one price while others offer you something much cheaper. Who do you go with?
Countless times, I have been asked why people charge so little and so much for a website. The most common mistake is going with your cheapest option. Why? Simply put, you get what you pay for.
Cheaper isn’t always better
One lesson I have also personally learned when dealing with freelancers (and even businesses) is that the cheapest option is never the best one. To get quality service, it is important to be willing to pay the price. Otherwise, you may end up paying more later. Through Kijiji especially, you can now find hundreds upon hundreds of website service listings for $250 and under (I have even found some for $50 and some for $100 CAD). These are unbelievably low prices compared to what some creative agencies and quality web designers charge. So much so that I decided to take a closer look and see what you really get.
Putting this to the test
After searching some ads on Kijiji, I found an individual that was selling website development services for $150.00 (A relatively cheap amount) so I decided I would see what he could do. I met with him once in downtown Calgary at a Starbucks and asked him to build me a simple business website for my startup company. I told him I needed a logo, search engine optimization, SSL, and a website. He was definitely confident and told me it would cost an additional $50 for the logo and $50 for the SSL certificate. Since I already had a domain and hosting, he didn’t charge me for either of those services. I decided to go with it and also sent him all the web content I wanted on the website.
Now I am pretty impressed with the initial meeting and at $250.00 it was still quite cheap for what I was asking.
After two weeks, he gives me a call and shows me what he has completed. Being a web developer myself, I knew immediately that this was a WordPress website that was completed using a theme. Not questioning his work, I let him finish and paid him in full once he was done. I was also happy with the logo so I didn’t bother to look at it twice. He provided the login details once I paid so that I would have administrator access to the website. Once I got home, I went online and logged into my site so I could see what he had done.
As I guessed, the website wasn’t very good. In fact, it likely took him less than 3 hours to complete. All he had done was install WordPress, purchase a theme, and create a logo very similar to one I found on Google! Now, lets talk about what he didn’t do.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is very important for a website and through SEO, your website grows in ranking on search engines like Google. There was nothing done off this sort. In fact, there wasn’t even a plugin installed that could be related to SEO. So that was quite disappointing. For those of you with a website and no SEO plugin, I highly recommend Yoast SEO for WordPress.
The theme used for the website was very similar to my actual website. This isn’t very good because other people can literally have the exact same site as mine. Keep in mind that many web designers use themes however by using CSS and theme settings they are able to make it look different and more original. This was not done. It was as if the individual simply installed the theme. Imported demo content and then just changed the text to what content I had sent him.
What does that mean for me?
It will probably cost me another $500.00 – $800.00 to get someone to come in and make the new logo, help with SEO, and also make my site look different. Since I want a website that will rank high on Google, isn’t an exact copy of a template, and carries a simple creative logo that is different from other businesses. I would have been better off spending $600.00 – $1,000.00 to begin with so I would avoid spending more time finding an experienced web designer that would be able to come in and make changes.
If you invest more into your site, you are likely to get more out of it.
If you cannot spend so much money at once, try a monthly website service like Digital Waters ($50.00 per month for everything you need – including a website).
Looking to build a website yourself?
Check out my other post where I cover how to make a website from scratch.