You can get yourself into a lot of trouble trying to save money on a website, but it isn’t really the price that causes the problem. Plenty of small businesses have launched themselves and done all they needed to do online with a free or low-cost website.
What doesn’t work is trying to pass off a cheap website as a more expensive version. A $2,000 website may be great at presenting the simple content and image your company wants to put out there, but when you start trying to make it look and function like the competition’s $20,000 website, things are going to fall apart.
Sure! As long as your visitors don’t move or touch anything. Think about a movie set. Movie exteriors are often shot using a façade, without the attached building. According to Wikipedia:
On a film set and within most themed attractions, many of the buildings are only façades, which are far cheaper than actual buildings, and not subject to building codes (within film sets). In film sets, they are simply held up with supports from behind, and sometimes have boxes for actors to step in and out of from the front if necessary for a scene. Within theme parks, they are usually decoration for the interior ride/attraction/restaurant, which is based on a simple building design.
From the right point of view, and during the period of the shoot, the façade can look as attractive, grand, or threatening as a real building might. Take the famous house from Psycho, for instance.
But pick a different angle, or start using it more heavily, and the illusion fades.
A good WordPress or Drupal template is going to look okay out of the box, and have much of the basic functionality you need. Hiring a designer will add a much more custom feel, and possibly help match the functionality to the needs of your visitors.
Over time, things change, though. That competitor site will continue to hold up when the owner decides to change this or that content, layout, and even some of the design. It will provide full functionality to visitors who insist on doing things wrong, or using dated browsers, or showing up all at once. It won’t be so easily compromised when hackers are looking for spam platforms. And it won’t break every time there’s a version upgrade. But to keep up with those changes, you’ll need to spend many times more than the competition website is spending. Saving money upfront often costs a lot more down the road.
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