Why free websites are a good idea but using an expert is even better

March 26, 2021

There are many website suppliers out there that offer very cheap, or even free, websites to their customers. Often these are domain suppliers who also throw in cheap emails and other services as well and claim to make the process as easy as possible, with intuitive website builders and designs on hand to help you. Great right? Well maybe not.

What are the benefits?

There is no doubt that for a fledgling or startup business keeping costs down is a key consideration. And when it comes to something as critical as your website, which is the most prominent representation of your business online, this is definitely true when many suppliers will charge thousands of pounds to develop a good website for you. So the prospect of a cheap or even free website design service is obviously attractive. The main benefits could be:

  • A low or no cost solution, meaning little investment is required
  • A good website that will promote your business and brand well
  • Reduced stress as you don’t have to worry about something that you may not have any experience or skills in
  • You can get on with building your business rather than building your website

But do these play out in reality? The experience of our customers suggest not. In fact many say that it starts off well but within a very short period of time they realise they haven’t got what they needed at all and the benefits fail to play out.

The difference between affordable and cheap?

The main problem is that there is no such thing as a free meal. Taking a step back for a moment it is easy to start applying some sense to this and ask the question how can these companies actually provide services they are not actually being paid for? The answer is that they can’t. The way they provide the services are a mix of automated solutions, off the shelf templates and minimal or no face to face service (as employees are one of the biggest cost overheads for businesses) and the service they offer is the ‘bare bones’ and doesn’t cover off the myriad things you really need to do for a successful website. So in reality the challenges you face with this sort of offering are:

  • You are given a template site that doesn’t actually understand your brand or promote your business the way you might want to and your site could look the same as hundreds of other businesses
  • You are left to sort most of the site yourself, meaning you now need to try and understand how websites work and what is needed to optimise the experience and the performance
  • You don’t actually have access to website design experts as these suppliers don’t do this as their primary business and that kind of experience comes with a price tag, so you don’t get a website that is designed by an expert
  • You don’t get any support with the wider things that matter with websites, such as technical maintenance and security, support for optimising for search engines, user experience, setting up advanced functionality and accessibility – all the things that an experience web designer knows about and that come with experience

What is more, you don’t get arguably the most important thing and that is ongoing support to help your site grow and evolve as your business changes. And you will face the same problems with so called ‘cheap’ suppliers who charge you only a few hundred pounds upfront and then next to nothing for hosting ongoing. The reality is that if you are paying only a few pounds a month for hosting then your web supplier is not making any profit and common sense shows that even a year’s worth of those monthly payments are not going to cover even half an hour of support time if you want to make changes. You either aren’t going to get that support or your supplier isn’t going to survive because their business model isn’t sustainable.

In reality, with cheap suppliers you often might get a very good website upfront but then you will be left to your own devices to run that and within a couple of months it will need security updates that you don’t understand, any changes you want to make could cost you a lot more money and no one is looking after the technical aspects of the site. This leaves you open to risks and ultimately places the stress back on you.

The key lesson here is that you always have to make an investment if you want a good service. The question you need to answer is whether you want that to be in money or in your valuable time and amount of stress you’re willing to bear.

But all is not lost, because affordable is not the same as cheap and much like other industries, such as mobile phones, we have proved that the right model makes a world class web service just as affordable as that nifty piece of Apple or Android technology you have in your pocket. How are we able to do it? It is quite simple really. We operate as a modern cloud agency without the overheads of expensive offices and a large employee base that are co-located. Instead our business works within a network of similarly minded suppliers who supplement our in house team and allow us to scale up and down as our work load suits us.

You get what you pay for?

There is unfortunately a reality in the saying you get what you pay for. But it is important to see this in the context of the current technological world. Whilst paying next to nothing is not going to get you very much in return – of course not because you aren’t actually paying for any time from a skilled professional – it is also no longer necessary to pay huge amounts to get a world class website. We work with clients that range from startups, charities and small businesses, right through to big corporations and the consistent thing with all those clients is that we charge affordable prices. It is part of our DNA and at the core of what we believe in.

One of the questions some of the bigger clients we work with have levelled at us before is ‘surely you are cheap and therefore you aren’t good?’ – well the term cheap is relative. If you are used to paying a large urban agency tens of thousands of pounds to design your website then our prices might seem cheap. But in reality they are reasonable. We have worked in the big agencies before and the amount of money that is charged for the work is quite frankly obscene and completely unnecessary. But big agencies charge big prices and the big corporations pay them because it is a close knit club and which ‘brand’ delivers your web services is a bragging right.

We have no interest in being a part of that but what we do want to do is work with dynamic companies who want to create great user experiences online without paying the price tag. That is why our model is affordable whilst bringing you the world class experience and skills that those same big agencies have.

Working with a partner, not a provider

The key thing about what we do is that we believe in working as your partner and not your provider. What is the difference? A provider works on a project by project basis and once they have finished your project they will move on to the next one. They are not invested in you for the long term, they are only interested in where the next project fee comes from. Our model is completely different. We engage with you as a long term partner and that is why our packages are structured that way. Why do we do this? Because our experience from many years of working with thousands of small businesses is actually that is what they need. You shouldn’t have to pay large fees upfront which simply aren’t justifiable and you should have to pay every time you want any sort of changes made to your website. Similarly, you shouldn’t be left to your own devices to care for your website when that is not what your skillset is. That is why our service is completely managed as your web partner.

How do we do it and keep it affordable?

  • We embrace the latest technologies and software, so that we don’t need expensive developers writing bespoke code and instead we can design and build as the same process, reducing the process time and the people that need to be involved
  • We reduce our cost base so that we don’t have lots of expensive and needless overheads such as offices that mean we have to have higher prices (Covid-19 has shown the world this but we have been doing it since before then)
  • And finally but most importantly – we are not greedy! – We believe in charging a fair price that allows us to make a fair profit but keeps the service affordable for you whilst still guaranteeing you get a quality service.

Be with the right provider

We believe that what we do and the way we do it is the best approach to help your business. That is why Idio exists and why we now have a full range of services to cover all the areas of website and online that you need to consider. And the consistent thing about these services is that they are all affordable and structured to be a fair price with a high quality. With us you will not need to worry about your web services because we are here to do that for you.

Our message to you is make sure you are with a supplier that puts you first and works with you as a partner and not a provider. That way your business can thrive and you won’t have to pay through the nose to get a excellent website.

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