Cheapest Websites Online

I spent a couple of hours looking at our competition on the web last weekend and one of the categories I looked into was the cheapest websites available on the internet to see what you get for your money. (And see if there's anything we can learn from them.)

Free Website Design?

Cheap Websites from Under £30!

The prices for a cheap website started at under £30 and then stretched up to a few  hundreds. (One person's cheap is another person's expensive after all... it's just a matter of perspective.) Most came in at between £100 and £300.

For this you can get a site with one to ten pages, usually including a contact form.

It's not always clear what you get in terms of hosting and domain name registration in these packages, and whether these are added extras.

Cheap Website Development

The site development offered was remarkably mixed, with some offering free unlimited design and content customisation (how that is commercially viable at under £100 is hard to imagine) but many offered "off the shelf" template packages with photos and text changes as part of the service.

These looked well presented and seemed to have a punchy design concept with glossy photos and dramatic text or navigation elements. Initial impressions were good. 

SEO On Budget Websites

But then when I dug a little further and looked into the performance and Search Engine Optimisation [SEO] of the sites they were often rather limited in what they could offer.

Reliance on images instead of text made the sites rather lightweight for SEO. The image navigation, flash animations or just big images with embedded text reduced the likelihood of achieving very good SEO results.

Some offered SEO guides to help their customers do the SEO themselves. But none talked about understanding their customers' needs or business objectives and whether these types of sites were appropriate to their needs.

In those cases where there were guides available, the assumption was that the customers would know what they were doing. (Which is a big expectation in a complicated and fast-moving world like the internet.)

Unique Cheap Website Design

There was also a bit of a "me too" tendency to some of the designs. Maybe this is bit of a picky comment, because familiarity is definitely a nice feeling and immediately knowing where you are with a site can be reassuring and encouraging to visitors. My only concern is that it can sometimes mean that the unique spirit of the business is lost in the standard-issue templates.

Is Cheap the Best Price for a Website?

Well maybe. We're not that self-obsessed to think that our approach is the only or the best one in all cases (we do recommend other solutions when it's appropriate). There are definite advantages to going for the cheapest option. But as with many things there's probably a hidden cost to the cheaper options that may even things up in the long run and in this case I suspect that it might come down to performance.

To make a website that performs well takes a combination of technology and SEO expertise. While the cost of the technology can be very, very low (and £30 is remarkably low!) the SEO is going to take time to master, and it may be cheaper in the long run to pay a professional to set it all up for you right from the start.

Does Alacrify Offer Cheap Websites?

No. The cost of our sites is from about £700, with the occasional one-pager for very special cases for £100 or so. We do offer great value though.

You get the peace of mind of knowing your site is designed for your needs, and built professionally to the best standard possible. And as a result you can be confident that your website will perform well from day one and continue to benefit you and your business into the future.

You'll also be able to call on us if you ever need any more help once the site's live. Our service is personal. We care what happens to you, your business and your website. We're in it for the long run.

If you're interested in talking to us about what we do and how we could help you with your website then please call 01300 320076 or email jon@alacrify.co.uk

Alacrify: 3rd Nov 2011 09:00:00