There is a difference between running lean and cutting corners

Todd A
Todd A
Aug 31, 2015 · 2 min read

Throughout Unconventional Website Advice, I talk about avoiding overhead and expenses. I want to get my website clients out of the conventional box of features and strategy they’ve been sold. I think businesses (and anyone building a website to represent their work) should start with the minimum viable website and iterate from that. But I absolutely do not want clients to cut corners getting a website online.

Running lean and being cheap are not the same thing.

I know it’s difficult sometimes for people outside an industry to tell the difference between a solid, dependable service for a reasonable price and a cheap scam. I can’t impart to you every website scam there is. But generally speaking, if the pricing choices have a huge discrepancy between them (e.g. a local agency charges $5000 and an internet service charges $250), the lower one is a rip-off.

When you search for “small business website design,” you’ll see an ad for Squarespace at the top, but you’ll also see all the cheap shops in the ads too. $497, $159 — these are the prices of scammers.

If you work with an agency or freelancer to build a custom website for a small business, it should cost you between $3000 and $10,000.

A lot of my Unconventional Website Advice has to do with setting yourself up on the web in the right way at the start. And 9 times out of 10, that right way is Squarespace. I want you to have a lean outlook and an empowered platform but I don’t want you to cut corners that are just going to cost you more money down the road. Nor do I think you should go with cheap or free options like GoDaddy, Weebly, Wix, or Web.com.

This is a small spoiler for things down the road but I think your choices for a professional website basically come down to:

  1. Set-up Squarespace (possibly Shopify) for yourself
  2. Hire a professional to build you a WordPress site or single page HTML site.

Throw away your ideas of shortcuts, your friend’s kid who knows Photoshop, asking a college student to give you a freebie for their portfolio, or getting some magic site out of a box. My advice may be unconventional but it is professional.

“Seriously, do not start down to the path to a website for your small business until you read Todd A’s book.” — Amazon review

Buy Unconventional Website Advice on Kindle for $1.

Check out good.simple.open for more ideas about doing better work.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store