8 Pitfalls of Cheap Websites for Small Businesses

Creating a new website for your business is a time-intensive and resource-demanding process. Few (if any) small business owners have the time or capabilities to develop a website from scratch. That means turning to a professional designer or agency for help. But, with limited resources, many people fall into the trap of cheap websites for small businesses.

What’s the trap? Thinking your website is a secondary concern – or you can get a fully functional, SEO-optimised, revenue-generating website on a shoestring budget.

In this article, we cover why cheap websites for small businesses aren’t just a waste of time and money but potentially damaging for your company. 

1. Poor Quality Design

According to GoodFirms, almost three-quarters of web designers say a non-responsive design is the top reason why visitors leave a website. It’s not just the web designers – half of consumers also believe that brands should prioritise web design.

Isn’t that just style over substance? Not at all – appearances matter. Your website is the modern-day storefront – it’s window dressing. The photos and images, colour scheme, page layout, fonts, and even navigational links all convey a message about your brand’s ethos, capabilities, and service.

If your design is poor quality, why shouldn’t consumers assume your products or services will also be?

Plus, good design is part of a website’s user experience (UX), helping visitors understand how to navigate the pages, what information is most relevant, and what your brand does.

2. Limited Functionality and Terrible Website Builders

Some websites are little more than glorified business cards, and some of the free website builders out there are no better. For certain businesses, that’s all that’s needed. However, too many cheap websites for small businesses lack functionality because the designers don’t have the capabilities.

Without these functions, your business performance is impaired. For example:

  • No search functionality. 
  • Limited eCommerce capabilities
  • Poor navigational structure
  • No contact forms or broken forms
  • Broken links 
  • No tracking or analytics
  • No customer support or chat functionality

3. Harmful SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the art of boosting a website’s ranking in search engines (e.g., Google). Unless customers can find your site, you’re unlikely to generate any traffic.

Poor-quality websites often have lacklustre or harmful SEO. That could mean poor keyword research, confusing user interface, slow loading times, or disorganised internal linking structure.

Small businesses need every advantage they can get. With 93% of all organic traffic coming from search engines, not ranking in Google is catastrophic for businesses. Worse, some web designers or so-called SEO experts will use ‘black hat’ techniques that not only impair your ranking but get your website penalised by Google going forward!

Speak with our team by booking a free consultation.

4. No Mobile Optimisation

It’s hard to understate the importance of mobile optimisation. Gone are the days when consumers solely sat down at their desktops or laptops to browse products. That’s still important; however, an increasing number of visitors are surfing on their phone or tablet.

In fact, at the end of 2021, mobile devices generated 54.4% of global website traffic.

Smartphones, therefore, are a pivotal part of any website’s functionality. Yet, cheap websites for small businesses are often little more than static (not dynamic) pages. Shrink down the screen size, and the website doesn’t change.

If you’re a small business owner, you’re missing out on the 55.4% of internet users who use smartphones to buy online.

5. Security Vulnerabilities

Cybercrime is on the rise! Cheap websites for small businesses lack the necessary security features to protect the company (and consumer data).

Data breaches are a double whammy. First comes the initial hack or breach; second comes the complete loss of consumer trust.

Nobody will forgive you simply because you want to get a website on the cheap. Security matters. When consumers entrust you with their information or when you launch a website online, there’s a risk – it’s your duty to mitigate that risk with adequate security measures.

6. Unable to Scale

Your business today isn’t the same as your business tomorrow. Almost all major companies started life as small-scale operations.

That’s why you need a website that can scale as you do – containing the necessary infrastructure to support your growing clientele. Whether that’s a fully functional eCommerce store, a complete content hub, or a shiny, glossy website that sells your services to even the highest bidders, if you go cheap, you’ll only have to get another site.

7. Minimal Customisation Options

Going cheap means going pre-designed. Little to nothing will be tailored to your industry or company, as designers use a generic template or font pack to develop your site. There’s nothing to separate you from your competition. Nothing to help you stand out.

Consider this lack of options:

  • Fixed colour schemes
  • Limited font choices
  • Inability to add custom features, e.g., custom forms, calculators, or interactive elements
  • Restricted page layouts
  • Restricted media upload
  • Minimal eCommerce capabilities

8. No Ongoing Support or Maintenance

Perhaps the most critical pitfall of cheap websites for small businesses is the absence of any long-term support. Once completed, you’ll receive little to no assistance – e.g., technical issues, updating content, or evolving the site alongside your business. Affordable and effective website maintenance plans are out there, and whether you buy a website package or not, the bottom line is your small business website needs one.

Websites, like the stores they replaced, are living, breathing virtual spaces. Constantly updated and changing to the consumers’ needs, a good web designer should offer ongoing support (or point you in the direction of someone who can help).

Closing Thoughts

Did you go with a cheap website designer offering ‘free or affordable web design’? Or are you pricing up your options? Our recommendation is to do your research on what good web design is and why it’s worth spending a bit more to go with a professional design agency with a track record of results.

Choose functionality, customisation, scalability, security, and searchability. Choose crdoneor don’t. Whilst we are a proven boutique website design agency committed to helping small businesses get value for money, we understand that we’re not for everyone. However, over the last year, we’ve pushed to create lots of content designed for small business owners to understand web design, the different parts and what you should be aware of when looking for an affordable website. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Web Design or book a FREE consultation today to explore how we can revolutionise your business’s web design.

Having worked with the team on a UK website build, maintenance and reporting, as well as regular mangement of Google Adwords, and an international SEO project for a global website, I couldn’t recommend enough. I’d recommend over many of the larger agencies I’ve used over the years.

Gerry Johnstone, Service Express
Was this article helpful?
Contact the author
Jodie Darnell
Account Executive

I have a passion for small businesses. I believe every business has the potential to succeed online, and I’m dedicated to helping owners and startups leverage digital marketing to grow their businesses.

Specialises in: Social Media, PPC and Content

Jodie Darnell
Account Executive

I have a passion for small businesses. I believe every business has the potential to succeed online, and I’m dedicated to helping owners and startups leverage digital marketing to grow their businesses.

Specialises in: Social Media, PPC and Content

Related Posts

Subscribe for the latest updates