I know you've seen them—those neon-colored ads for $500 websites. A whole website for $500. An absolute BARGAIN, right?
The saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it is!’ has been around for centuries for a good reason. It’s freaking true!
As a business owner, it’s important to understand what to expect from a free, cheap, or just plain bad website. Just because you’re not paying much for your website in the beginning, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay in other ways.
If your friend's nephew made your website, the chances are it's not built up to industry standards. If your website was built back in the early 2010s (and hasn't been given any TLC since), then it's definitely not up to standard. A website isn’t just a checkbox that needs to be ticked off the list of business essentials.
Your website is an investment.
Your website is the online representative of your business. For many prospects, it’s the first touchpoint in their journey to hiring you. It’s where you generate your new leads and nurture prospects.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your company is behind closed doors. If your prospects Google you and find a hot mess, you’ve already lost that sale.
Bad websites have a lot of hidden costs that you might not be aware of.
Let's take a look at why cheap and outdated websites are bad for business – and why you should invest in a professionally built, good-looking, revenue-increasing website for your company.
Are cheap websites actually that bad?
Yes. Yes, they are.
Here are five negative outcomes from buying a cheap website for your company.
1. Your website visitors will be frustrated
Nobody wants to use a website that’s cluttered, messy, and a pain in the butt to use. If your audience can’t find what they're looking for due to poor design or can’t understand what you actually do when they visit your site, they’ll just get frustrated and leave.
People don’t like to stick around – they want (and expect) instant gratification. Give the people what they want, or they’ll head over to your competitors.
2. Reduced website traffic
The more your visitors bounce away from your website; the more Google is going to see you as irrelevant. Your site will start getting pushed under your competitors (who have much better, more user-friendly websites) in search engine results because Google knows you’re not delivering what people want. 88% of consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience using it – which means you’ll lose out on potential clients big time.
3. Negative online reviews
Let’s be honest. People aren’t shy about sharing their opinions online – especially when it comes to companies they’ve dealt with.
If your website is incredibly difficult to use or just plain doesn’t work, people can get so frustrated they get angry. Angry people leave harsh reviews online – and negative reviews can do serious damage to a company’s reputation. If you’re planning on using your website to answer customer queries or provide basic customer support, you’ll need to be mindful of how easy (and helpful) your site actually is.
4. Wasted time
Having a cheap website that isn’t fit for purpose means you’ll have to put more hours into customer service, upkeep, and maintenance. If you spend $500, $1,000, or $3,000 on a website, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to get unlimited support and neverending updates in the future. Someone’s going to have to look after your website – and if it’s not you, it’s a team member. Expect hours of wasted time as you try to figure out what the hell you’re meant to be doing.
5. Lost money
Whether it’s lost revenue due to fewer sales thanks to an uncomfortable customer experience or having to upgrade and get a new designer/developer to help fix your website, you’ll ultimately lose money by cheaping out in your initial investment.
Seriously, invest in your website.
Your website is one of the biggest pieces to the success puzzle when it comes to your business.
Along with your staff, your website represents your company. It’s your 24/7 sales guy and one of the main places your audience interacts with your brand. If you don’t have a modern website that’s optimized to turn casual browsers into paying clients, then your marketing and advertising will all be for nothing.
Your website is the most significant and important investment you can make, and hiring the right team to design and build your website is also an investment – in both your time and your money.
For the uninitiated, it can be confusing shopping for website assistance. Why are website builds priced so differently? And what exactly are you paying for?
Many don’t realize that you’re actually paying for a variety of skills, services, and deliverables when it comes to web design services.
- Online strategy, competitor analysis, current website audit
- An experienced copywriter
- Sourcing professional photos
- The expertise, insight, and skills of the website designer
- The actual website development
- A quality assurance process with extensive testing
- A defined launch process and monitoring for any issues
The term “you get what you pay for” is really relevant here. There’s a hell of a lot of stuff that goes into the strategy, design, development, and launch of a website.
An outdated website is just as bad for business
Sometimes bad websites don’t start out as bad websites. They just got old and became obsolete compared to the websites of the modern age.
So if your website was made back in the early 2010s and hasn’t been updated since, it’s probably not doing you any favors.
Here are four reasons why an outdated website could be bad for your business.
1. Poor perception loses you sales
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but people do it all the time. This is especially true for company websites.
The evolution of website design over the years and new technology and social trends have raised the bar for what's expected.
If a potential customer goes onto your site and is met with an old, outdated look, they will react negatively.
They might think that:
- You’re going out of business
- You’re not in business anymore
- You have bad customer support
- You’re untrustworthy
- You don’t offer modern solutions
- You’re technologically incompetent
- You’re not safe to work with
- You just don’t care
2. Your functionality is limited
Having an older website also limits your ability to engage with your audience.
An outdated website can’t support newer functions like:
- Client-only areas
- Online quote generators for projects
- Traffic statistics & reports
Without basic functionalities clients look for, you’ll look redundant.
3. You’re probably not mobile-friendly
Most browsing is done on mobile devices nowadays. In fact, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online with their phone in the last 6 months – people are using their phones and tablets for everything.
If your website can't be viewed on mobile devices, you're going to lose out on many potential clients.
Your site’s users will get frustrated if it isn’t mobile-ready because:
- The site will load slowly – and when it does, it looks a mess
- The text will be too small to read
- The pictures will be either too small or way too big
4. Poor security means more hackers
If you have an old website, you’re more than likely going to have outdated security measures. Outdated security means that if you have client or employee data stored on your site, it can easily be accessed if a breach occurs.
Now, if you’re thinking that you’re too small a company to be at risk, think again. A lot of hackers aren’t after money but information. This includes security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and banking information.
Updating your website on a regular basis is a must because it’ll allow you to upgrade your security measures to protect your data – and help prevent you from getting entangled in any lawsuits.
If you're here (and you've made it this far), you're already looking into what the best approach is to improve your online presence. You're in luck, as we've been helping companies like you do exactly that for over 30 years.
Here at Branding & Beyond, we'll help you find all the good stuff that already exists within your company, clean it up, and bring clarity to your messaging.
Our goal is to align your business offline and online by creating a strong foundation and strategy that supports your website and marketing.
When you work with us, you'll know exactly what's on-brand and what's off-brand and what's best for your company's positioning going forward.
Sounds good? Let's chat!
Tracy O’Shaughnessy Founder / Lead Brand Strategist of Branding & Beyond
Tracy and her team help B2B firms in the construction industry and professional services look and sound credible online and off.
She has been in the industry since the early '90s and is tired of great companies being treated as commodities and competing on price because they don't look and sound as credible as they really are.
You can find Tracy on Linkedin and here on this blog.