So You Think You Can Get A Great Website For £500?

So You Think You Can Get A Great Website For £500?

Websites come in all shapes and sizes. Some are built from tiny budgets and possess minimal functionality and capabilities, some are high end multi-functional sites built on 5-figure budgets (occasionally even more).


It is a common misconception that websites can function highly when bought on the cheap. Many single-person business (such as some tradespeople) believe that the average cost of a new website is as low as £500!

Common belief is that all new websites are built in a similar way – that what we see online is the actual website and most perceive their website as an unnecessary evil – something that has been forced onto the business rather than the business owner actually wanting one.

Over 83% of SME owners admit to hating paying for a new website, as most find the process of putting one together to be messy and a drain on time, which they feel is a waste of business resources.

Furthermore, here’s a startling fact: Nearly 2 million UK business still do not have a website! Yes, in this digital age we still have many business owners operating without a digital shop window.

Crazy, right?

Why so cheap?

The main reason that websites are bought on the cheap is because we lack understanding of the true value of what a website actually does for a business.

We need one, we get one. It performs a little, it breaks. We spend, it performs a little. That is about the size of it! Most business owners only update their website if they have to and usually it is their competition that stimulates this change, not any internal development need.


Reports suggest that the 1.98 million SME’s in the UK are without a website, which will cost them over 350 billion each year! Introducing a website could equate to an average uplift in revenue of £175,000 per business. SME’s stand to make the largest growth in revenue, so it is hard to imagine a business operating without a website. But they do exist, at least for now!

Most businesses know that they need a website (even if they don’t really want one). This means that naturally they seek to spend as little time and money on them as possible, bringing about the upsurge in the budget website market we see today.

When buying a vehicle for the business, most use a calculating approach. They certainly don’t go out for the cheapest van on the road – so why is that the case with websites?

Despite living in an age where the first action for most people is to search on the internet for what they want, despite the website being that first shop window that people will reach in order to know about your business, many still insist on a cheap build.

Most business owners, if they are honest, do not know the actual process of putting a website together (just being truthful!) and naturally ask people they know or look at their suppliers or clients to get a general feel for what they want. They then consult their team and then get someone in to build it.

Building websites 

When broken down, a website build requires at least four different skillsets.

Firstly a good designer, I.E the person who will ensure your content will function and look good. Poorly designed sites are mostly ignored and thus good branding, content layout and message functions are all key here, this is a creative area and very different to website development dealing with coding, databases, platform function etc.

When you build an extension on your home you realise this will involve different people who specialise in their individual skillset, for example a plumber, an electrician and a builder (at least). Naturally you deal with the project manager, who in turn manages the various stages of the project and those involved.

Website development is no different, yet most business owners will tell you that a single person built their website. This is a fundamental flaw in web development and a major reason for performance issues digitally.

Designers and Developers possess different skillsets, and in addition to these if you want your website to perform well online, it is best to have someone who helps develop, design and deliver the content required for the website. Lacking a true understanding of the value of web page content is where most website builds have issues because poor quality equals poor performance. In order for things to be completed on time you need someone managing these individuals, just like the project manager we hire to build our home extension. We do not expect the project manager or the plumber to do everything, but somehow this is not really understood in mainstream website purchases.

Over the last 20 years of building quality websites and helping them develop and perform online, we have found the best web builds that have become leaders in their industry are not purchased and built by a single web design or web development person, (which to anyone qualified is a recipe for issues) but by a web team. This is why it is so important to educate ourselves as business owners about website buying.

Whenever we consult a small business about building a new website we always use a simple rule, which is to consider how much revenue they want to make through the website. For example, if your turnover is £180k and you want to add at least another £50k on top of that, then the question is “Are you willing to spend 15% of that £50k to get there?”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually spend that figure, but this is how to place a value on what you should be willing to spend.

All decisions to spend are mental, due to how we perceive a value or the desire we have for the thing we’re spending on. The more we desire, the more we are willing to spend. This is why people spend high on homes, cars, jewellery and paintings etc. When it comes to website our desire for one is low, so naturally spend starts low. It is only when we start making money through the website that our desire increases and only then are we willing to do things right and spend will then change accordingly.

Learning process

If you believe that you can buy a functioning website which will perform well on the cheap then you may have to learn the hard way, like most others have, that you will need to spend again and again in order to put it right. For a small business to have to pay multiple times to get something right ( which should’ve been the case right from the outset) is not only false economy, but also a failing by the business owner and digital service providers who continue to flood the market with cheap goods.

To compete in this modern pacy digital world you need the right digital representation. You need more than a web person, you require a web partner, one which has a team of skilled people who can build a website you’ll be proud of. One that attracts, not repels new business interests. One that can work with you to help build up your business.

You do not need to spend high to get a great website, but you do need to stop thinking that you can achieve results with an ‘on the cheap’ website.