A cheap and well-made website. Does it go hand in hand? header

A cheap and well-made website. Does it go hand in hand?

Are you looking for a webmaster who will make you a good website for a cheap price? Do you want to get a well-made website for little money? I’m afraid I don’t have good news for you because this is an obvious contradiction. Only the naive can believe in this oxymoron. In this article, I’m going to prove it by collecting some hard evidence.

I am looking for a cheap and good specialist 

Of course, I don’t know what you do for a living, so I’ll use the first example I can find. I think you will easily find an analogy to your situation. So let’s look at the example of an architect. Suppose you are looking for a design for your new house. You have received two similar quotes, one for £12,000 and the other for £2,000. You know that the project must not be a copy of another idea because you have given clear guidelines. You know that it will take, for example, about 100 hours of work to carry out the necessary calculations and to come up with the final design. Are you going to believe that this cheaper architect will do his job reliably and honestly? Or will your project not be as unique as you want it to be? Or, even worse, will the cheaper specialist not be committed to his work? Are you sure you want to take that risk?

Let’s go back to your situation for a moment. I don’t know what you do for a living, but I believe that you are good at what you do. And you expect to be fairly rewarded for your knowledge and efforts. You know that it takes a certain amount of time, knowledge and resources to complete tasks reliably. You may also have to incur some costs or use specialised tools. How hard will you work if you have to do the job for the so-called lowest wage? What will be the result of your work if you have to pay extra for it?

A developer who makes a good website 

As you probably know, the global trend has meant that salaries for IT professionals are not among the lowest. A webmaster is a specialised programmer, which is a broadly defined family of IT professionals. For the purposes of this analysis, and for the sake of simplicity of calculation, let’s assume that the hourly rate of a developer is £20. The so-called western giants offer much, much higher rates for good programmers, and the demand outstrips the supply many times over, and this is not going to change any time soon. However, that is not the subject of this article. Of course, the same results will apply to any other rate, you can do your own calculations. Even if you take the lowest possible rate, you will see for yourself that something is wrong. There is not the slightest chance that an offer such as “I will make a website cheaply and well” can be true, reliable and honest.

A well-done website is the sum of…

knowledge, skills, craftsmanship, a touch of artistry and time. Below is a simplified list of tasks that a reasonably good webmaster should perform. Simplified because these are the basic tasks that an honest and professional developer must perform. For the integrity of this analysis, I am going to leave out a number of things which might, for instance, serve special needs and are not always necessary. So, we will just focus on the most important, typical ones. We will do this using the example of WordPress with a custom theme and in the most common configuration. Enough to say that the site developer has done a good job, not clicked a few wizards and now pretends to be a specialist. 

Take a look at this table and judge for yourself. Even if you add up the shortest possible completion times and assume a rate of £20 per hour. There is no way this is in line with theory:

A website can be done well and cheaply

No, this always means that quality is sacrificed. I may be stepping on someone’s toes with this article and they will be outraged. They will tell you that they are so good and fast at what they do, that they have automated many tasks, that… (and many other strange claims will probably be made here). Of course, you can believe them, it’s your choice. I will say more: actually, I will not be surprised, after all, examples of gullibility abound. But you shouldn’t be surprised when a brand-new smartphone (or anything else) for half the price turns out to be fake or damaged.

So, before you succumb to temptation, think twice. After all, you don’t want to invest your hard-earned money only to have to do it all over again later, do you? Especially if it turns out that you have been scammed! After all, if you believe an offer such as ‘I’ll make you a professional website for cheap’, you are cheating yourself. A kilogram of real (!) bread will never be cheaper than a kilogram of flour. Simply put.  

Don’t take my word for it though, find out for yourself:

No. Description of task Number of working hours
Min. Max.
1 Configuration of hosting package parameters 0,25 1
2 Optimisation of provided materials 0,5 2
3 Graphic design work 4 8
4 Development of a custom theme 21 30
5 Responsive design 4 6
6 SEO optimisation 2 5
7 Speed optimisation 2 4
8 Implementation of basic security policy 0,5 1
9 Tests of responsiveness, usability, performance, basic security 1 2
10 Preparation of customer documentation 0,25 1
Total working hours: 35,5 60
Total cost (for a rate of £20 per hour): 710 1 200