Practical Websites

Because websites are about so much more than just their design

practical websites,fully functional websites

Cheap web design services usually come with hidden costs

While researching the cost of web design for your new business website, you may have noted that many web designers offer great design work at relatively low rates.

Have you ever wondered why?

After all, their design work seems to be up to standard, but still the prices are notably low…


Usually it’s one of two things:


1. Your web designer ONLY does the design, and nothing more

Several clients who came to me with existing websites, had this problem. Their web designers created beautiful websites, but they left out all of the other important stuff:

SEO – or search engine optimisation – to help Google understand your website, and rank it favourably in the search results.

SMO – or social media optimisation – which involves not only social profile buttons and social sharing buttons, but also what is called “open graph tags”. These help social media sites can understand and interpret your content.

Ideally, when you share any link from your website on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, a large image should be displayed, and the whole post should be clickable. It’s called a “social card”. If it doesn’t work that way, the SMO wasn’t done.

Website security – while nothing is ever completely foolproof against professional hackers, it is possible to block almost all hacking attempts by setting up a decent security system for your website.

Google Analytics – a free but awesome visitor tracking system that offers remarkable insights into how people got to your website, and what they did while they were there. It also provides crucial information like which pages people land on and depart from, how many pages they visit, and how long they stay. This tells you what works on your website, and what needs attention.


2. Your website designer wants you to sign a maintenance contract

Often applied in conjunction with (1) above, the low initial price is often merely a dangling carrot to assimilate you into their “monthly cash cow” – the monthly website maintenance contract.

Fair enough, there are things on WordPress that need to be updated from time to time (new improved version of WordPress, its plugins and themes/templates become available all the time). This is essential not only for improved functionality, but also to fix security loopholes that have been exposed since the previous releases.


In many cases, web designers use paid themes/templates and plugins in order to design great-looking websites. They purchase “developer licenses” – meaning they pay an annual fee, and they can use it on as many websites as they want to.

That means they can – literally – ask what they want to for maintaining the website. Because if you choose to leave, the next designer you employ may not have access to all of those paid elements – and he or she won’t be able to maintain the website unless you pay for individual licenses for those elements.

This can become very expensive very quickly – depending on the original web designer and what he or she used to build your website, you can suddenly end up having to pay several thousands of rands at once – on top of the actual maintenance fee.

As such, the cheapest option is to remain locked in the website maintenance contract.

Unfortunately, if you do the math after a few years…

You will likely find that your “cheap” website actually has cost you a small fortune.

Is it worth it?

That depends.

Do you need a new website, or to rebuild an old, dysfunctional one?