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

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 for more ideas about doing better work.

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