Writer Beware: The 7 Dangers Of Free Or Cheap Web Design Companies

Everyone loves a bargain! There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best possible price. But when it comes to Web design, a cheap site can sometimes cost more than what you bargained for. All your supposed savings can be quickly spent on fixing unexpected problems and paying hidden fine-print fees. Remember: If a Web design company’s offer looks too good to be true—it probably is.

But don’t worry! We’ll tell you what to watch out for and how to protect yourself from being ripped off.

7 Common Dangers Of Free Or Cheap Website Design Companies

Lackluster design. A cheap website is often created using a template—which means no customization. Templates result in bland and impersonal sites that look just like a million other ho-hum websites on the Internet.

Thoughtful custom design will ensure your debut on the World Wide Web is an attention-getting thunderclap rather than a soggy, so-so thud. And agents and editors will be more likely to explore your site to learn more about you and your writing.

With Web Design Relief’s Create Your Own Package option, the sky’s the limit for customization options. You can rest assured your site will be unique and powerful.

Not allowing you to make changes on your own site. While the site itself may cost very little, that low price is actually the lure to reel you in. Once they have you signed on, cheap Web companies will often charge you an arm and a leg to make any changes—and they won’t give you the tools to make changes on your own.What’s the point of purchasing a cheap site if it costs $200/hour to have your Web company maintain it?

Web Design Relief gives control over to the client at the site’s completion, along with a detailed tutorial on how to use the back end of WordPress to make any future changes to its pages or blog. If you know how to use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, you’ll be able to make simple changes to text on your website.

High hosting costs. It’s normal for a Web design company to ask that their customers use their Web hosting services. In theory, insisting that clients use a designated host ensures that if something goes wrong with the site, the original designers can fix the issue more easily than if the website is hosted by a different company.

But more often than not, free or cheap Web companies offset the low cost for creating a site by charging an excessive hosting rate. And a high hosting cost doesn’t guarantee good service. Before you agree to a “free” or “cheap” website, ask about hidden charges.

At Web Design Relief, our hosting is $20/month, which includes regularly scheduled site backups and management of your WordPress installation and plugins, as well as customer support.

No customer support. So your Web design company built you a site for a slim $29.99, but now you’re on your own. What do you do if something goes wrong with your website?

Cheap or free Web companies make money by slapping together quick, out-of-the-box websites, then leave customers high and dry when it comes to potential problems or follow-up questions.

Web Design Relief offers customer support for all Web clients regardless of which package they purchase, so your concerns and problems can be answered and tackled immediately.

Hostage URLs. Imagine you find the perfect domain name for your author website. You register the URL with your free or cheap Web company, and they throw together a site for you.

You then decide to leave their services because of costly hosting or bad customer support. But it turns out they own your domain name. Now what?

Cheap Web design companies use this tactic to ensnare clients in their sticky web and keep them from taking their business elsewhere.

With Web Design Relief, you’ll always own your domain name.

Minimal functionality. If your website is based on an out-of-the-box template, chances are it won’t have much more than a few pages. There won’t be much for visitors to actually do on your website.

If you want your website to enhance your career and build a readership, it’s important to create an interactive call to action on your homepage. A few ways to create a call to action include: A contact form for visitors to get in touch with you; social media accounts integrated into your site so that visitors can meaningfully connect with you on Twitter or Facebook; or a link to purchase your new book.

Practical functionality is not only essential for building a nice author website, it’s essential for developing a strong author platform as well. At Web Design Relief, we work with our authors to create functional, fun websites that engage fans.

No site updates. Is there a new version of WordPress? Did the developers of your awesome image slider plugin make some adjustments? Time to update!

To keep a website running smoothly, it’s important to make regular updates to the software and themes. Free and cheap Web design companies won’t do that for you—once the site is built, it’s out of their hands. Lack of regular updates can lead to site glitches, total crashes, and—perhaps worst of all—brute force attacks from malicious entities on the Web.

Web Design Relief performs regularly scheduled updates on all of their websites, ensuring all software is up-to-date and running smoothly.

Web Design Relief believes excellent customer support and beautiful Web design go hand in hand. Our designers are writers too, so they understand the importance of building a functioning and effective author platform that can grow with you as your career blossoms. Call today to speak with a WDR team member to start building your author website.

Regardless of which Web design company you choose, be sure to ask the right questions before forking over your money. Make sure your Web company is dedicated to providing you with support, be sure you will own your domain name, and be aware of any hidden costs you may not see at first glance.

Photo by Obracken

QUESTION: What’s most important to you when choosing a Web design company?

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If you need help nailing your brand, you’ve come to the right place. The designers know what questions to ask, what imagery translates best to the screen, and how to make your original idea come to life on your webpage. Conventional or quirky, your idea is in good hands with the Web Design Relief team.

—Darlene Eliot, Writer
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Working with the Web Design Relief team was a total pleasure. They made the process easy, in-depth, professional, and lyrical. I wanted a site that leaned toward the bohemian and yet held an edge of minimalist sophistication. I couldn’t be happier with my very inviting and creative site! We should win awards with this one!

—King Grossman, Writer
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I cannot possibly detail how professional and helpful Web Design Relief has been in helping me launch my collection of short stories—there are just too many things they have done! They’ve been there for me all along the way, guiding me in developing my book and into the 21st century of web design and social media platforms. It could have been a bewildering journey; Instead it was one that was organized and so pleasant. Truly, Web Design Relief has blown me away by what they have created. The first time I watched my book trailer (who knew there were book trailers?), I cried. That team perfectly imaged what my book is about. I want to thank the whole team for their skill and creativity. I appreciate it so much.

—Cyndy Muscatel, Writer
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I’m pleased with the look of my website. The team at Web Design Relief listened to my suggestions and added a few of their own to make my website look exactly how I envisioned it. I would definitely recommend using Web Design Relief if you are looking to create a website.

—Marion Hill, Writer
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