Every small business wants affordable website design. The trouble is that “affordable” can mean:
- As cheap as possible
- Less than your current disposable cash and/or short-term savings
- Whatever it takes to create something that will pay for itself, minimise risks and maximize profits, even if that needs finance.
The first of those definitions doesn’t really help at all. The hidden costs of cheap websites generally make them more expensive than professional ones.
There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. … When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The Common Law of Business Balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. — attr. John Ruskin
Meanwhile, many small startups prefer to be self-financed (aka “bootstrapped”). So whilst the third definition is actually the most sensible approach, some feel it stretches the concept of “affordable”.
Cost-Effective Beats Cheap
Still, the point is that truly affordable website design pays for itself. Business web design is an investment, not a cost.
Beyond that, the more you invest in it, the more can be done to increase the rate of return. Even better, that return is ongoing, growing over time.
On the other hand, underinvesting increases the risk of failure. That turns a potential investment into a pure cost. Investing slightly too little just maximizes that waste. That’s all too easy to do accidentally if you treat an investment as a cost.
So focusing on cost is the wrong approach. You need to focus on cost-effectiveness.
In other words, you need the best solution you can afford. Whether that includes external finance is still up to you, but you do need to invest enough to minimise the risk of failure.
So What Is Cost-Effective Website Design?
Ultimately, website sales depend on how many visitors it gets, and how many of those convert into customers. The quality of design can affect both of those.
Traffic is either paid or unpaid (aka “organic”). So the more free traffic your site earns, the more cost-effective it can be. This aspect of site quality has very little to do with how your site looks, but without it, the prettiest visuals are a waste of money. Unfortunately, it’s easier to sell pretty visuals, so site quality and performance often get overlooked in low-cost web design.
Still, once you have visitors, effective design can improve conversion rates. Again, user experience design goes beyond visual elements. However, conversion rates also depend on your offer and audience targeting, so there’s no silver bullet.
Both these design tasks involve applying guidelines, best practices and experience, watching website stats and testing. The more of that you can afford, the more effective your site will be.
In short then, cost-effective web design prioritises performance over “pretty”, but neglects neither.
Choosing Cost-Effective Web Design
That’s all very well, but how does that help if finances are tight? How can you identify truly cost-effective website design?
Look at what the designer is talking about. If they focus on looks and don’t talk much about performance, beware. You may well learn the hard way that “pretty” is pretty useless at the bottom of Google.
If they focus on performance first, they’re considering what you really need instead of just trying to make a sale. That’s more likely to be cost-effective in the long run.
Of course, you don’t have to look far. My Simple Site packages are designed to provide cost-effective web design for small businesses.