Let’s assume you have just had a 15-page website built. You received quotes from a few web agencies and they varied in price far more than you imagined, so you went with the cheapest, after all, a website a website, right?
A month later the website is getting an enquiry every fortnight, so it must have been a success!
Well, not really. What if the expected number of leads was 2 a week, then what you’ve bought would be only 25% as expected. A battery with 25% maximum capacity still provides electricity, but you wouldn’t want to buy one!
The tough part is that the most expensive one may not necessarily have been any better. Yes, you get what you pay for, but there are still web agencies that overcharge as well as those offering fantastic value.
Just to add to the confusion, some businesses can suffice with a less-polished website than others; it all depends on what they sell/offer, who they sell it to, and how much it costs.
So far, this article has likely just confused you more, so I want to explain why there is a difference in quality, and why some websites perform better than others.
This is fairly intuitive, and when you’re not biased with your own company, it’s easy to see which websites have a nice design that suits its need, and which have used a cheaper generic template. Some sectors will need more refined designs than others; for example, a local village hall won’t need a high-end design like a five-star hotel. It’s easy to see why a basic design would be cheaper than something more elaborate, but once you start adding special effects and mobile compatibility it can soon make a big difference.
This is important, especially if the website is likely to expand in the future. Websites are built on a variety of platforms, each with their own benefits. Some simpler platforms offer lower cost websites, but at the cost of having less control with design and limited functionality; others may give users a lot of control, and be completely future proof but cost magnitudes more. The two tricks here are to firstly find an agency that offers a range of solutions and can therefore recommend one without bias, and secondly to ensure that you tell this agency about any future expansion or integration plans.
Attention to detail
If you were to buy a brand-new Rolls-Royce, you’d expect it to be meticulous, and you’d expect every last detail to have been inspected. With cheaper automotive brands this may not be the case. The same goes with websites, and more premium offerings will have far higher quality assurance and have every last detail thought of.
This brings me nicely on to the user experience. A web agency creating budget website may take content provided by a client and dump it on the page, whilst an agency creating premium website should consider every aspect of the content, images, layout and user journey. This is to ensure that the end user can navigate the website effortlessly, and see what they want, when they need to, in order to generate more leads
I have seen examples before where you could replace the business name and sector in the content, and the pages still read perfectly. The content was just generic padding, and no use to the end user.
A website project to us consists of far more than the build itself. An agency can take a brief and build a website quickly, or they can get to know the client, their business, and their end customers, to ensure that the website being produced is tailored specifically to the client. It’s imperative that every aspect of the website is thought of, and this not only means that the web designer needs to do their job, but they need to assist the client in giving them what they need. This all takes time.
Some users may well type in a web address and browse a website from the homepage, but many others may join a subsidiary page via search engines, or pay per click campaign. If SEO (search engine optimisation) is of importance, then this needs to be considered from the outset. Furthermore, if people are likely to join the website on a page other than the home page, then their specific user journey needs to be considered and the web designer needs to ensure that every such landing page contains all of the information that they need in order to turn them in to a conversion.
Maintenance & tie-ins
Often independent of the initial cost, many platforms need a lot more maintenance or have more recurring fees than others. Similarly, some web agencies only support certain platforms, and some web agencies tie clients in with their proprietary systems. Some websites can be moved away to different providers and others cannot be moved. It’s honestly a minefield for anyone who doesn’t have the industry knowledge, and again a multi-platform web agency can advise here, but most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and double check what the web agency are saying.
What you can’t see
I have mentioned SEO, but there is a lot more behind a website that you can’t see that some websites overlook. For example, the load times, the reliability, how well it works for those with disabilities, how pages look when shared to social media, how Google sees your website, cookie policies, GDPR and security. These can all be omitted, often without the end-client noticing, or can be added making the website more expensive.
Place holder or essential tool?
Sometimes clients do not want an ‘effective’ website and it is only there as a placeholder in case someone Googles them to check their legitimacy, but for others it’s an essential tool required to act as a hub for marketing their entire business. Most businesses fall in between, and want as many leads as possible, and each of the points discussed contribute to making it a success.
We could comfortably make a 10-page website in a couple of days; we could grab template for a pre-built platform, quickly add the content that the client provides, put in some images, and off we go. We won’t do this, because we made the decision years ago to take pride in our work, and not to compete at this end of the market, but we could do.
But the truth is we could easily spend that same couple of days just talking and getting to know the client, helping them provide us with what we need, researching in to competitors, discussing design options, and after the site is ready, testing it thoroughly. The same amount of time spent, but without creating a thing.
Similarly, we could rush up a quick design in a few hours, or spend our time making something that's award-winning with custom illustrations and effects.
There are similarities in most industries, with clothes varying from cheap supermarket brands, to high street names, to the likes of Gucci or Dior; with cars ranging from Kias to BMWs to Ferraris; with kitchens, house builds, phones, household appliances, you name it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with buying a Casio over a Rolex, and it is the better choice for many; and there’s nothing wrong with buying a cheap website, as long as you know what you’re buying.
Not all websites are equal!
We are Webbed Feet, we can help you understand what you’re buying