Alacrify Ltd

Cheap Websites - What's the Cost?


6th October 2011

Cheap Websites - What's the Cost?

Having created websites for over 15 years I've noticed the current trends in pricing seem to have polarised like never before. As one of the big hosting companies has begun to push out the cheap "self-build" website principle on national UK TV and "app" building companies are charging upwards of £10,000 for custom app development the divergence in the cost of being online has reached a dramatic state.

But what is the comparative value of each end of the spectrum? In many respects this is an almost daily question for us as a web design agency. In every case where we provide a quote we wrestle with putting a tangible and intangible value on the money we charge for our services.

There aren't necessarily easy comparisons in other sectors to draw on either. Web design isn't yet (and probably never will be) a professionally regulated business; so you can't compare it to solicitors or accountants or doctors. It's not even directly comparable to traditional PR and marketing as there's a whole technical dimension to the web design process that has a real impact on performance in a way that is not replicated in print or other media. (If your server isn't fast enough, or if the code is buggy or not optimised then your site won't work fast enough and will plummet on the search engines and irritate your customers. There's no equivalent to this in print media. (As far as I know.))

So then how do we differentiate ourselves? What makes us "worth it" when compared to a cheap, self-service option?

You're Worth It

Well I think it comes down to three key things:

  1. We know what we're doing and how to do it. This means we know, technically, how to build a site, how to get it running quickly and properly on the web; from design to implementation to hosting we know what we're doing and the best solution for any given requirement.
  2. We know how web marketing and advertising works. The many years of experience and continual immersion in current writing on theory and practise of web marketing is brought to bear on all of our work. Our understanding of niche and mainstream web marketing is thorough and tested and proven. This saves lots of time in trial-and-error testing, and means we can usually provide a site that will "hit the ground running" and start performing from week one for our clients. We can also tailor our approach to the specific needs of our clients' business - marketing apples as apples rather than trying to pretend that they are just green oranges.
  3. We know how to ask "obvious" questions about our clients. This is not as daft as it might sound. What I mean is, we don't start with lots of assumptions about what our clients should be doing, or indeed what they are doing. Instead we spend time asking lots of questions to get at the company's real value and their real ambitions, and find real answers to real questions that their customers might be asking. This means we can then draw up a design and structure and content-requirement for the website that will properly express that business' activity and aspirations on the web, and connect with their potential customers in a direct and meaningful way. (This "overlooking the obvious" is a frequent characteristic of self-build sites, where the business hasn't really understood or articulated the real value of their services.)

These three dimensions are what distinguishes our services from the cheap, "self-build" offerings that are available. It is undoubtedly possible to build a successful site yourself from a position of innocence. But if your business is in a competitive market, or has very specific advertising and marketing needs then it's unlikely that you'll get it right first time without considerable research or a mighty dose of luck.

Real Value and Confidence on the Web

This personal and personalised way of working is what creates the real value of our services to our clients. They can be reassured that their website isn't going to be reliant on luck for its success, but rather on skill and insight and understanding. And because we share this information and knowledge with our clients, they can carry on the content development of their site with confidence that they know what they're doing and how to do it effectively.

In the light of this, the cheap cost of a self-build site may in fact mask a performance cost in the future, whereas the modest (£700-1,200) cost of a custom built site from Alacrify will bring tangible rewards to a business in terms of PR and sales, and has the potential to continue to increase the business' value significantly into the future.

If you'd like to talk to us about your ideas or ambitions for promoting your business on the web then please give us a call  01300 320076, or email

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