Cheap Versus Affordable Web Design, Which Are You Really Looking For?

Many customers want to pay as little as possible, and receive as much as possible, from their web design project. They often search online for the keywords: “Cheap Web Design”, “Affordable Web Design”, “Web Design Quotes”, “Web Design Prices”, or “Web Design Costs.” While on search engines the keywords “Cheap Web Design” (CWD) and “Affordable Web Design” (AWD) each give you a list of providers, but the providers on both lists often not represent the same kind of services you are looking for.

Recipe for Avoiding a Half-baked, Unprofessional Website

Customers often assume that “cheap” and “affordable” web design are the same thing, but in reality many times this is not the case. Before going any further, let me clarify what “Cheap Web Design” and “Affordable Web Design” mean to each specific group of people who search online for web services:

Cheap Web Design (CWD Group): is the keyword most often searched for by a group of customers who select providers primarily based on price. The quality aspect of the website development is not (at least, not initially) taken seriously into consideration. These customers may have very small budgets to build a professional website, they may just want a simple brochure-type website to join the crowd online, or they may not yet realize the potential gains that a professional website could bring to their organization in today’s environment.

Affordable Web Design (AWD Group): is the keyword most often used by customers who select providers based on both price and quality. These customers understand the importance of web-based marketing to their business’ success and want a professional website to help them establish a strong position among their online competitors.

To your surprise, many customers in the “affordable web design” category are those who moved from the “cheap web design” group because the initial cheap website they had developed didn’t meet their needs or the results they expected. At this point you probably know which of the two groups you fall into, which is very important because knowing this may save you time and disappointment while you are looking for web design quotes and results to meet both your budget and expectations.

If you still identify yourself with the CWD group, it is very easy for you to find your ideal providers just by searching for the keywords “Cheap Web Design.” There are gazillions of cheap web design companies out there waiting to take your money, and make you many “promises.” They only charge $5 to $15 per month for both web design (duplicated, template websites) AND hosting (through a cheap, shared host). Please keep in mind, these services are cheap for a reason, so don’t be surprised when you end up with “you-get-what-you-pay-for” type results.

However, if your budget is small but you want to be in the AWD group, then continue reading the advice below and contact a few professional web providers to see if you can work out a payment plan for your project. It will not cost you anything to ask. You have a 50% chance at it if you ask, if you don’t ask, you have a 0% chance. So, just ask and take advantage of that 50% chance.

If you identify yourself with the AWD group, here are some important steps you should take in order to find a reasonable web design provider who is committed to professional work quality:

First, you have to know what the needs of your website are. What is the purpose of your website? How many pages do you need on your site? What design layout do you want for your site, simple or complex? What kind of website do you want, Informational, Blog, or E-commerce? The more you know and share about the details of your dream website, the more accurate quotes web design providers can give you on your project, which will help you narrow your choices.

Second, Google search for the keyword “Professional Web Designers.” It will help you move closer to web design providers who value professional work. Then write down the domain names of the first 10 companies on that Google organic listing. Next, Google search the keywords “Web Design Prices”, “Web Design Costs”, or “Web Design Quotes” This will help you find providers who are upfront about prices to give you a general idea of your project’s cost.

Again, write down the domain names of the first 10 companies on that Google organic listing. Now, look at both lists that you have written down and see if there are any providers who appear on both lists (the more local the provider, the better). If there are, you should contact them first for web design quotes. Remember to tell them that you want a quote on a CUSTOM website design (no templates) and ask them whether they have an official Service Agreement Contract for each of their clients, or not. If the answer to both questions is a yes, that’s good; but if the answer to either of these two questions is no, then run away, don’t walk…

Before you make the initial payment to any provider, you should ask to see their Service Agreement Contract first. The contract should state clearly that once you’ve made your payment in full, you own the copyright to your CUSTOM web design and your domain (in case you ask the provider to register your domain for you in the beginning or you transfer your domain to them for the ease of managing your website and hosting). The contract should also show a clear and realistic time frame to complete your project on time.

Third, if you don’t see any providers show up on both lists, you have to manually contact each provider from both lists to request quotes. I would start first with the list you get from the keyword “Professional Web Designers.” It will help you start comparing quality web designers first instead of prices. And remember while you are reaching out for quotes, also ask whether they provide CUSTOM website design (no templates) and a Service Agreement Contract for you.

After you have the price ranges of web design quotes from both lists (up to 20 providers), select the 10-12 that quoted within the middle of the price ranges, then go to those providers’ websites to view their work portfolio. This will help you filter out providers whose quotes are too low, which should raise a question as to whether they know what they are doing, and filter out providers who charge too much for what they provide. Looking at providers’ portfolios will also help you decide which designers’ styles  match your taste.

These are important steps to help you avoid the mistakes many people make when they first select web design providers because they don’t have enough information. I hope you find this article helpful; if you do, please feel free to share it with your friends and others so they can save the same time and money you will. Thank you!

ProWeb365 is a Minnesota web design company providing affordable web design and digital marketing services to businesses. To establish a strong web presence online for your business, call us today at (612) 590-8080.


Phong T. Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."