a bad idea…

I’m sure you have either heard or seen the adverts; Get a professional business website for a £1.00, or thereabouts.
Words Darin Higgs • Date 14th January 2020

Whilst we continue to endure this incredibly awful pandemic and the shift to digital working and commerce increases, these types of online products and services are more ubiquitous than ever. Remember the saying ‘You get what you pay for’? Well, this is certainly one occasion where that adage perfectly applies and I will endeavour to highlight the pitfalls of these cheap online offerings in this article.
For those who have not built a website before, the sheer amount of work; planning, technicality, copywriting, image sourcing, design, layout, privacy policies, GDPR compliance, hosting to name but a few, is vast and requires considerable input and time. Online website builders, using ready-to-roll prebuilt themes are a blight for businesses rather than an asset. Would you be happy for your website to look identical to your competitors’? I think it goes without saying that a poorly built website would have more of a negative impact on the business and its branding than not even having a website at all.
To clarify, I’m not imparting an opinion that wholly states that if you do build it yourself it will be bad. Using the comparison that if you were to build a conservatory onto your house yourself, by following some Youtube videos etc, will it be as good as the professional build? It is highly unlikely. Of course, there is the exception to the rule, as some can be very adept at DIY.

Overall, these cheap online website builders are simply inadequate. Here at OTB, we have nearly 20 years of experience in all things website related. Throughout those years, we have come to the rescue of many small business that needed help with their existing websites. The primary reason these businesses needed help, was due to the websites being poorly built, with considerable layout problems, lacking in standards-based design and accessibility. There are limitations with these online builders, as they use templates to build the websites. The template builders have only general features, with very little scope for customisability or flair.
Most of these platforms are also not that easy to use and already require some previous knowledge or technical skill in dealing with website terminology and the building process. Not all business owners are designers, or experts in publishing digital layout, standards-based design and accessibility. Another adage to remember here is ‘jack of all trades – master of none’. Business owners are experts at their own business and should not feel they need to also learn the myriad digital disciplines.
Then there are the overall costs. The advert may say £1.00, but in almost all cases, the monthly/annual fee will be significantly higher than this once all related services are
applied, such as hosting, email, SSL/TLS certificates (which every website should have). There will likely be tiers and data caps on the amount of bandwidth the website is allowed to accrue through visitors. Also, in most cases, these websites utilise stacked, shared server hosting, so your website will be hosted on the same server that, on average, hosts another 1000 – 2000 websites simultaneously. Remember this when you start to wonder why your website is so slow to load…
So I urge you, dear reader, to contact the professionals when you need a professional website and digital presence for your business. You will be pleasantly surprised that in this day and age, websites built by professionals will not cost you thousands of pounds.
We leverage content management systems such as WordPress for our builds, this means we do not have to code from scratch, we do not need to reinvent the wheel to enable our valued-clients to have the best website for their businesses and their budgets. We will take care of everything, from domain registration, email set-up, design, branding and much more. We are very competitively priced and can accommodate any budget.
Please, stay away from the cheap online website building platforms and instead contact one of the numerous reputable digital agencies out there that will help you to truly elevate your business online.