CS Chris Smith
CodePen Mastodon X (formerly Twitter) Feed

The Cheap Web Design Market

by Chris Smith

A look at what awaits "cheap web design" seekers.

I've been running my own web development business since 2004 and in that time I have noticed a few changes to this market. There's far more competition now than there was a few years ago. If you do a Google search for "cheap web design", "budget web design" or "affordable web design" then there are a lot of web pages out there with those page titles.

What I find curious is that the web design product or service being offered in this market and the pricing structures don't seem to have moved on since 2004.

The vast majority of companies competing in this market still seem to be offering very basic static brochure sites. The process here is 1) the client sends text and images to the web designer, 2) the designer puts them in HTML pages, 3) repeat stages 1 and 2. This means that if the client needs to make a change to the website's information - new products, price changes, news updates, etc. - he or she needs to go through the designer who probably charges a modest (if you're lucky) fee for the work.

Much stranger than the product on offer though is the pricing structure. The majority of these seem to be sold as packages (design, hosting, email) based on the number of pages in the site. This makes no sense to me at all. It's usual for all pages within a website to have a similar look and feel. They generally all use a common template which includes the header, footer and navigation menus along with any styles (fonts, colours, etc.) used throughout the site. Therefore, most of the web designer's work goes into creating this template. Once this is designed it makes little difference whether a website has 1 page or 100. It's very curious then that so many of these companies offering "cheap web design" will offer, for example, a 4 page site for £150 but a 6 page site will set you back £350. That's a £200 jump in price for what I'd estimate to be half an hour's work. Cheap web design doesn't have to mean a small website and a large website doesn't have to cost the earth.

Chris Smith Web Development offers something different. I offer not static web pages but an installation of a content management system. This means that rather than having to come back to me to make changes to your pages you can simply log in and do it yourself, whenever and wherever you want to. No delays and no additional fees. The pricing is based on the template design so there's no limit on how many pages you can have. All you have to do is log in, select the Write Page option, write your content, click on Publish and it's there for the world to see, as many times as you like. You can go back and edit or delete pages, reorder them, change their titles whenever you want to.

Since 2004 I have moved on and have developed a better product. Static sites, charged for by the page, are no match for the flexibility and freedom offered by a content management system.