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Cheaper websites … why going ‘cheap’ is a bad decision

“The Bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of a low price is long forgotten”

Your website is your online brand, the first impression potential clients are going to have of you and your company – for something so crucial to your business, cutting costs shouldn’t be an option. It is a long term investment on your reputation and therefore you should spend your money wisely on something of high quality.

If you go with that guy who has just finished college and is offering you the R2000 website – that’s all you’ll get. A badly put together website which won’t do anything for your online marketing (in fact it will probably harm it) – you are probably better off having no website at all. We often receive requests to fix websites when people have gone the cheap route and discovered that their sites don’t actually work, and the developers who created their website have either done a runner or have no idea how to fix the mess they have made.

Many of these websites are made entirely of images – i.e. all the text is an image. This is a great disadvantage as for you to perform on Google searches – the content on your website needs to be seen by Google. This does not happen if it is an image.

Another common thing we see is that a template is installed and the client’s content is simply dropped in. But the parts of the original template that are not relevant are still left in. So you have a large amount of pages with dummy text, links don’t work, forms are broken, and there are even menu items to pages that are not even part of your business.

A website we rescued recently had a Contact Form on it that wasn’t working. The reason for this is it was actually a Comment Form – so the kind of form you fill out if you want to comment on a News Article you have just read online for example. So it was essentially ‘commenting’ on a page that didn’t exist – and therefore the client was receiving nothing. This is a perfect example of somebody who doesn’t really know what they are doing offering a cheap website – then using parts of a template to make things appear like they are functional, but in reality they are not.

Why the work we do has value – will your house fall down?

It is difficult for you as a client to understand the value of the work we do, as it is all technical coding and a lot of geeky jargon. So let’s compare building your website to building a new house.

Picture yourself with some cash saved and you need to build a new house…


Firstly to begin you will need to have plans drawn up. You cannot just start throwing bricks together.

At smudge, before we begin a site we discuss strategy with you. What you want from the site, your target market, how you envision it working, user experience etc. These are all very important aspects that will drive the design.


Next up you will need to build a strong foundation, or the house will collapse. We have excellent hosting providers that backup our sites daily, our developers are always on hand to assist if you have any issues with your site. We are always here – giving after sales support to all our clients. We don’t vanish off into the night after you have made your final payment.

To build your house will you choose a random guy standing on the side of the road offering to build your house for R5000? Most likely not, you would rather invest in somebody with a track record, years of experience, and a portfolio of houses that have been built. Also good would be to hear testimonials from people whose houses have been built by said person.
You know that if this person was truly experienced, or a master of his trade – he wouldn’t be selling his skills so cheaply, and most likely has no experience at all.

Let’s start building the house…

You will need to sign off on the plans so that the build can begin. A lot of people do believe that a website is like a Word Document – easy to change colours of words, increase sizes, move images around, but that is not the case. In order to change what may seem like simple things we need to go into a lot of this.

…. then in addition these smallest changes need to be coded for every device that a user may be viewing your site on (computer, tablet, phone) – as well as on various browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari etc) …. So the one small change of moving images around involves a lot more complex work than just a grab and drop like in a Word document.

Imagine your bathroom has been built in your new home. You now decide you would prefer the basin to be on the left instead of the right, and that maybe you would prefer a bath instead of a shower. That means the basin needs to be taken out and the right wall rebuilt, the left wall will need to be broken to fit the basin. The bath will probably not fit into the area provided – so the whole bathroom will need to be extended. This is what making structural changes to your website this late in the game essentially entails.

Why is a one-page website not dirt cheap?

Let’s imagine we now need to paint one of the rooms in the new house. You will need to buy paint brushes, thinners, rollers, drop cloths. Once we have those essentials we can buy the primer and paint. We may decide that we want to paint all the rooms in the house the same colour. This will involve buying a few more litres of paint and primer only.
But to begin the painting – the initial outlay cost is still the same – whether we are painting one or 5 rooms.
This is the same for a website. It needs to have the same amount of hours dedicated to designing how it will look, and building its structure – regardless of how many pages it is.

Well ‘cheap guy’ can offer you the dirt cheap one-pager of course. But that is because it also comes with all the problems that were discussed earlier.

Finally – is your house welcoming guests?

Apart from being pretty to look at, your website should be functional, and create a pleasant user experience.
Does your house have any of these attributes?

  • It looks inviting but is actually a flat cardboard cut-out of a house, the windows and doors are painted on, you cannot actually enter the house
  • The door is flashing and jumping about – the user is unable to grab hold of the door to get inside
  • The colours and logos are exactly like the 3 houses alongside it – there is nothing new or interesting to make anybody want to enter

Paying for quality is an investment

To build an effective website for marketing your business takes a highly skilled firm experienced in SEO, online marketing, the latest design standards and functionality technologies.

Here are some reasons for investing in a high quality website:

  • The website is appealing for the first time visitor
  • The SEO on the site is built for better search engine results
  • It provides great content that will give users all the information they need and answer any questions they may have
  • There is a quick and effortless method for users to contact you
  • The website is easy to use and creates a great user experience
  • You can track the traffic on your website and make any necessary adjustments