The pitfalls of cheap website design

cheap website design

If you’re looking for cheap website design, you don’t have to look very far. A simple Google search will show you umpteen web design companies, making grand promises for just a few hundred euro. So why would you want to pay more?

The simple answer is it’s because you get what you pay for. Those cheap web design companies will build you a website all right, but it won’t be one that will do much for you. To prove that, we’ve conducted an investigation to show just how poor these cheap websites can be.

Cheap website design investigation

We noticed one company doing extensive advertising on Facebook lately for a cheap website design offer. We chose them as the subjects of this investigation. For just €399, they were promising:

  • A professional website design, that would work as well on mobile devices as on larger screens.
  • SEO included – ‘so your site can easily be found by Google,’ they said.
  • Unlimited pages to your site.
  • 7-day turnaround.

Sounds good, right? But let’s look at what they actually delivered for clients. We took the examples of the three most recent ones they had posted about on Facebook.

Cheap website design example 1

This site was for a furniture company in Navan, Co. Meath. They specialise in making bespoke sitting room suites, and re-upholstery of existing suites.

Design & content problems

  • The site features a ‘robotic’ font, more in keeping with science fiction than the elegance of custom-made luxury furniture.
  • The site contains just six pages – not enough to show off the full range of expertise offered by the company. It doesn’t even have a portfolio page of furniture they’ve created in the past.
  • Each page contains just one paragraph of text – not enough for the viewer to learn enough about the company, or for Google to properly index and rank the site.
  • The content contains several spelling and grammatical mistakes. This gives a very unprofessional image of the company.

SEO problems

  • Content, headings, and URLs are not keyword-optimised.
  • Images do not have alt tags, and just have filenames such as ‘1.2 150×150.jpg’ instead of ones that describe to Google what the picture actually depicts.
  • No site map is included, to help Google index and rank the site.

The results of these problems are that the site DOES NOT RANK IN THE TOP 100 for any of the following important search terms:

  • ‘Custom furniture Navan’, ‘custom furniture Meath’, or ‘custom furniture Ireland’.
  • ‘Custom suites Navan’, ‘custom suites Meath’, or ‘custom suites Ireland’.
  • ‘Upholstery Navan’, ‘upholstery Meath’, or ‘upholstery Ireland’.

In fact, we couldn’t find anything the site actually does rank for, apart from its own name. And it’s only number 7 for that!

Cheap website design example 2

This one was for a unisex hair salon in Artane, Dublin.

Design & content problems

  • The site is not mobile friendly – phone and tablet users have to scroll left and right to read across the page.
  • A ‘double dropdown’ menu structure that is definitely not user-friendly.
  • A separate internal page for each service they offer, but no content on any of them apart from a price list.
  • Multiple spelling and grammatical mistakes in the small amount of text content the site does contain.
  • Nothing to indicate it’s a unisex salon apart from a picture of a man on the home page.

SEO problems

  • Slow loading time, due to both coding and sheer size of images used (up to 2MB each, where 100kB is normally sufficient).
  • Content, headings, and URLs not keyword-optimised.
  • Images do not have alt tags, and have file names such as ‘untitled-design-127.png’.
  • No site map included to help Google index and rank the site.

The results of these problems are that the site DOES NOT RANK IN THE TOP 100 for any of the following important search terms:

  • ‘Hair salon Artane’ or ‘hair salon Dublin’.
  • ‘Hairdressers Artane’ or ‘hairdressers Dublin’.
  • ‘Hair design Artane’ or ‘hair design Dublin’.
  • ‘Hair stylists Artane’ or ‘hair sylists Dublin’.

Again, the only thing it ranks for is its own name. This means the site will only be found by existing customers, or others who already know of the salon in some other way. It won’t be found by any potential new customers.

Cheap website design example 3

The third website we looked at was for a commercial cleaning firm in Tallaght, Dublin. They offer five services: carpet cleaning, window cleaning, upholstery cleaning, gutter cleaning, and flood damage cleaning.

Design & content problems

  • The company name is not consistent on the website. It’s called one thing in the URL, but another thing in the logo and text content used on the site itself.
  • The site contains just four pages. There is no content for any of the services the company provides, apart from a label and three pictures.
  • The limited text content on the home page again contains spelling and grammatical errors. Check out this example: We know the value you put in and on your property, and the immence pressure to ensure the integeraty of presentation, safety and cleaneness. Note the incorrect spelling of ‘immense’, ‘integrity’, and ‘cleanliness’. This again betrays a very unprofessional image.

SEO problems

SEO problems were the same as in the previous two examples:

  • Slow loading time.
  • Content, headings, and URLs not keyword-optimised.
  • Images without alt-tags or suitable filenames.
  • No sitemap.

The results of these problems are that the site DOES NOT RANK IN THE TOP 100 for any of the following important search terms:

  • ‘Contract cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘contract cleaning Dublin’.
  • ‘Carpet cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘carpet cleaning Dublin’.
  • ‘Window cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘window cleaning Dublin’.
  • ‘Upholstery cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘upholstery cleaning Dublin’.
  • ‘Gutter cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘gutter cleaning Dublin’.
  • ‘Flood damage cleaning Tallaght’, or ‘flood damage cleaning Dublin’.

In short, it does not rank in the top 100 in its own local area for any of the services the company provides. What use do you really expect that website to be in winning new customers?

Cheap website design – other problems

We also had a look at some of the other promises the cheap website design company made.

  • It turns out that were they say ‘unlimited website pages’, what they mean is you can add more pages yourself afterwards. They’ll only do the first six for you.
  • Where they say ‘7-day turnaround’, they mean only if you accept the first version of the site they build for you. If you want any changes – even to fix their mistakes – it’s going to take longer.
  • We also noticed that none of these three sites had any analytics tools attached to them – so the companies involved couldn’t even see how poorly the sites are performing!

Cheap website design – The alternative

There’s really just one way to say this. The only alternative to being suckered into such cheap website design, that won’t actually do anything for you, is to pay more in the first place.

Come to a professional, reputable, web design company like New World Digital instead, and what you’ll get is:

  • Thorough online market research, to identify the keywords your business should target, and to establish the size of the online market.
  • A professional copywriter to produce your website content and content marketing strategy, in a way that gets results from both customers AND Google.
  • A professional developer who will make sure your website design is attractive, easy to use, and fully responsive.
  • Full and thorough SEO work throughout your site, both on-page and off-page.
  • Regular analytics and reporting on your site’s performance.
  • Optional other services too, such as PPC marketing, social media marketing, and e-mail marketing.


Pay peanuts, and you get monkeys.

Pay a bit more, and you can get the professionals instead. Contact us to talk about how we can do a professional job for you.