Are cheap websites any good?

There Will Always Be Someone Cheaper

I know that the websites Caffeine Injection makes are cheap. And that's "cheap" as in cost-effective, not "cheap", as in a bit rubbish.

So when someone asks me for a quote for a new website and then come back to tell me they've found a better price, I always wonder what they'll end up with?

OK, I know, that comes across as a bit arrogant. As in... "No one can make a site as good as the ones I make, for less". But after 20 years in this game, there is some truth to that.

If my sites are so good, how are they so cheap?

That's a good question. The short and straightforward answer is efficiency. I'm obsessed with it.

Have you ever seen the film The Founder? It's about the bloke who stole McDonald's restaurants from the McDonald brothers, who invented the concept of "fast food".

In this film, there is a scene where the brothers try to work out the best way to layout their kitchen to make it as efficient as possible. They go to a big park with all their employees. Map out the exact floor space of their restaurant kitchen on the ground, then draw the kitchen appliances (pre-tables, hot plates etc.) on the floor with chalk. They then get the staff to pretend they are putting customer orders together.

They keep tweaking the layout until every appliance is in precisely the right place, so everything flows, no one gets in someone else's way, and they can turn out meals in 30 seconds.

That's me with a lot of what I do. When I do the dishes, I spend the first few moments working out the most efficient way to get them all done but in the shortest time. Sad, I know. But it's fun and takes my mind off a mundane task.

My approach to making websites is the same.

I pick the tools that will help me make the best functioning and looking site in the shortest amount of time. I only add what is needed to the site to achieve the clients' goals. I don't waste time on fancy effects that no one but me will notice. And above all else, I often use pre-designed and constructed elements, saving loads of time and money for the client.

You use pre-made elements? But isn't that cheating?

Absolutely YES! But if the result works, so what?

If you look hard enough at my portfolio, I'm sure you'll start to see familiar elements in lots of my sites. Like similar-looking content blocks, image sliders, or blogging systems.

This is because I often "steal" an idea from one of my website designs to use in another, often with a bit of customisation to make it a better fit. This means I can save hours in time building new sites. And time saved means lower prices.

Doesn't this mean your sites all look the same?

Yes, and no. But mostly no. It's true to say that once you start to examine my sites, you could tell one of my sites from someone else. But really, does this matter?

Does a funeral director in Cork care that a landscaper in Birmingham has a site that kinda "feels" similar? Of course not. Because if you look at any small website agencies output, you'll soon start to spot a design theme running through most of their work. Unless they are a big agency with a lot of staff, and those are the ones who will charge a phone number for a simple site.

So what has all this got to do with "There Will Always Be Someone Cheaper"?

Yes, I've strayed a bit, as usual. So what is my point?

I know my sites are cheap, or as I prefer to say, offer excellent value for money. After 20 years in this game, I know that there are very few other web developers out there who do what I do, as well I do it, with all the experience to back things up, for the prices I charge.

So, as the image at the top of this page alludes to, there will always be someone cheaper, but would you trust them?

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