What Can you Get for $500 When Choosing A Website

$500 websites - what do you get?

We see many requests for $500 websites and sometimes wonder what people think they will get for this amount. We'd like to lay some objective guidelines to help people; not to condemn or criticize, but purely to help.

The fact is that even in the time when simple websites are ten a penny, the ten a penny websites simply won't meet the needs of even a small business.

This is not the consumers' fault! Every day we get blitzed with offers of 'page 1 of google', your website has errors', cheap website' etc et etc. And people swallow that whole, hook line amnd sinker. LAter, they pay again, and later again, they p[ay again and again.

So here's a guideline thata ssumes your $500 provider is competent and honest and will be arounf when you need changes and upgrades and when you have technical issues:

Expectations from a A$500 Website

What to Expect from a A$500 Website

  1. Basic Customization: Expect a commonplace, undifferentiated design at this price point. The layout will likely be "cookie-cutter", offering limited unique appeal.
  2. Standard Framework: The website will probably be built on a common platform like Wix or Squarespace, which are user-friendly and offer many pre-made themes.
  3. Mobile Responsiveness with a Caveat: While the website should be mobile-friendly, be aware that many cheaper/low-end suppliers might not conduct thorough mobile testing.
  4. Amateur Development: Given the low budget, you're more likely dealing with an amateur than a professional firm. This may limit the technical complexities achievable on the site.
  5. Several Pages with Caution: Expect basic pages like Home, About, etc. However, be cautious as more professional elements like "Privacy" pages might be overlooked or, worse, plagiarized by smaller amateur outfits.
  6. Basic SEO: Fundamental SEO integration, such as meta tags and clean URLs, but no in-depth keyword research or optimization.
  7. Contact Form Without Email Facilities: An essential feature for inquiries but don’t expect email facilities (like forwarding to your personal email) at this price.
  8. Social Media Links: Basic buttons or links redirecting to your social media profiles.
  9. Gallery or Portfolio: A simple showcase of your work if relevant.
  10. Basic Security Features: Some fundamental measures to reduce easily hackable vulnerabilities.

What NOT to Expect from a A$500 Website

  1. High-End Custom Design: For an attractive, bespoke design, anticipate starting prices around A$1,500.
  2. Extensive SEO: No deep, ongoing SEO work, backlink strategies, or dedicated keyword research.
  3. E-commerce Capabilities: Fully-fledged online stores are typically more expensive.
  4. Custom Coding or Advanced Features: Limited to no custom animations or unique features.
  5. Unlimited Revisions: Design or content revisions may be limited.
  6. Professional Copywriting: Content setup may be basic, without professional copy optimization.
  7. Regular Updates & Maintenance: Ongoing services like frequent updates or backups aren't typically included.
  8. Hosting and Domain Costs: Usually separate from the design cost.
  9. Advanced Plugins or Premium Themes: Higher-end plugins or themes might not be in the budget.
  10. Memberships: Complex membership systems or user logins aren't generally feasible at this price.

Expected Costs for Hosting and Annual Support

Hosting & Support: It's recommended not to self-manage hosting unless technically competent. The cheapest options can be time-consuming and resource-draining. Consider choosing a provider that offers both hosting and support. This typically costs around A$30 per month and is a worthwhile investment.

Email: Some premium providers might offer personalized email (e.g., yourname@yourdomain.com.au). If not, separate arrangements will be needed.

Additional Considerations

  • Longevity of Provider: Ensure your chosen provider has a stable business and isn't likely to vanish in a few months or years.
  • Professionals and Homemade Sites: Be aware that professional firms will rarely accept requests to "finish off" a homemade site, such as one started on Wix. It's usually not worth their time or resources.

I hope this helps you. I am NOT busy condemning anybody and I hope the tenor and tone of this article show that. HAve a superb day out there.


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About the author 

Rowley Keith MBA BSc (Hons)

A qualified business manager and design engineer with many years of real-world business experience.

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