The Pros & Cons Of Outsourcing Low Cost Web Design

Looking for low cost web design and don’t know where to start? If you found your way here, you likely already know that having a website can be really important when it comes to converting customers and growing your business. But there are a few options available to you when considering a new website.

Firstly are the DIYers. With the vast majority of DIY website building platforms out there all claiming to be really simple to use and really cost effective – this is a good place to start. However, whilst platforms like wordpress.com, shopify, wix and squarespace can offer an ‘easy solution’ sometimes you can spend more time creating a disaster than a masterpiece, and get stuck back at square one.

Now, this is not meant to deter you from giving DIY website design a shot. If you have the time to spare but minimal website development budget – this can actually be a fantastic solution. BUT, there are a few things you should consider before doing this, like how easy it will be to customise with your brand colours and fonts and if you grow will this particular platform be able to manage your future greater needs.

Then, there are those who know they simply don’t have the time or the skills to create the website they need to truly represent themselves in the digital world but don’t have a huge budget to work with. This doesn’t mean all hope is lost and you have to resign yourself to having a terrible website, but it does mean you need to consider all the pros and cons carefully.

Given customers use a website often as the single source of truth for who you are as a brand, if you get it wrong you can lose a potential customer for life. Without even having spoken to them. Yikes!

When looking to outsource low cost web design, businesses are faced with a few options. The most common are to either:

Find a Local Website Designer & Developer

or

Outsource To Design Team Overseas

But which strategy is best? In this article we will look at both options, and talk about what might work best for you and your needs.

What is Low Cost Website Design Outsourcing?

In its simplest terms, outsourcing your web design is to simply hire an agency or third party to build your website for you. Having a website is essential. Consider the following statistics:

  • Over 204 million people ages 14 and older will make an online purchase in 2020. (eMarketer)
  • 31% of internet users ages 16 to 64 say they will shop online more after the pandemic ends, and 30% expect to visit brick and mortar stores less (eMarketer)
  • Experts expect global ecommerce sales to double between 2018 and 2023, breaking the $6 trillion mark. (Statista)

So if having an online presence is critical to the success of your business, t would make sense you want to find a designer to do this for you. But to find someone local, or to go overseas?

Advantages (Pros) of Overseas Developers

When considering an international web design and development team usually the first reason is for low cost web design, but there are other benefits to outsourcing your web designs to an offshore team:

Access to Large Teams

Often many international design agencies are based in countries like India or the Phillipines, and due to the extremely low incomes their workers make, they are able to hire a greater number of people in their team. So this can sometimes allow you access to a varying degree of skill that a local web developer might not have.

Cost Efficient

This is really the big one and key driver for most people to outsource. Most people want a low cost web design, that just ‘does the job’. And that is totally understandble. Outsourcing to an overseas web design team can be more cost efficient than engaging a local developer.

By outsourcing to a much lower cost than local prices, you can spend more on your business. So it all seems to add up.

Disadvantages (Cons) of Overseas Outsourcing

While there are benefits to overseas outsourcing, there are unfortunately more cons than pros. Here are the top reasons to forgo international outsourcing of low cost web designs:

Poor Communication & Miscommunication

It’s critical that your web designer understands what you want for your site. A miscommunication could cause the company’s vision to be misrepresented to its target customers or be different from what you envisioned. In many instances, a person will visit a site one time, never to return if they aren’t satisfied with what they see.

So if your newly engaged overseas team struggle to verbalise in clear English your return brief (always, always, always get a clear return brief) you may wish to consider an alternative company. You should request an introductory phone call / skype to introduce your teams to each other and make sure the goals are clear to avoid communication barriers.

Creative Differences (Geopolitical and Cultural)

Geopolitical and cultural differences should be analysed before outsourcing your business:

  • Geopolitical. Where are your designers located? If they are on the other side of the world, the time differences could make it difficult to communicate. In addition, a region with political instability or weather-related issues could affect your designers on a personal level and ultimately cause problems for your business as well.
  • Cultural.  Language barriers can have a major impact. For example, words may not fully translate into other languages, potentially causing the message of your business to be altered or misconstrued.

Inability to Edit or Make Revisions

When having a website designed for you, a good website designer and developer will find out your goals, and look at how much you will need to have access to make edits to the site yourself. A good developer should build the back end of the website so that if you need to easily add blog posts, or edit sections of text you can. Often outsourcing a low cost web design can result in a hard coded website that is almost impossible to edit. Even worse, if your business grows and needs new work done, other developers may not be able to work in the platform that has been used, and have to completely redevelop the website. (we have had to do this more than a few times for frustrated customers).

In order to future proof your website you should request your website be developed in a platform like WordPress using limited hard coding unless necessary, and with plenty of options for you to edit if you so wish to.

The ‘Yes Sir’ Conundrum

Many times when bidding for low cost web design projects using third party platforms like Upwork or Fiverr – overseas agency sales departments are the ones managing the bid for your project. So firstly, if the technical people are not involved in the scoping & costing of your project this can result in a sales person saying ‘yes we can do all these things’ but when it gets into the hands of developers they shake their heads and say No, or worse, give you a sub-par version of what you wanted.

Or worse still, the web designer or developer is bidding for your project, and they bid very low yet claim to be able to do all the work, only to discover they bid low hoping to get you across the line and keep upselling you. Your $500USD website ends up costing you $1,200USD with the exchange rate bringing that up to $1,600AUD you’re not far off what some local developers charge.

Fake Work Examples

Ever looked to work with a third party designer or creative and their portfolio of work looked phenomenal? Like out of this world good. And you’re thinking, this has to be too good to be true. Well, guess what, it probably is. Many of the third party designers pass off other agencies work samples as their own and they make false claim to it. It is a deplorable practice that is often unverifiable.

Risk of Hacking

This is a sneaky yet often practiced nasty side effect of outsourcing overseas. Picture this – you’ve just had your new website developed and handed over by your overseas design agency. You’re really happy with the site and it seems to be performing well. Yet 3 months later, out of nowhere your website has been replaced with some junk and jargon and it looks completely broken. Sometimes they are replaced with other businesses websites. There’s a number of tricks that can be used, and they are all to get you coming back to your developer to have the site rebuilt or restored. Therefore doubling the income they make out of you. Often during this process you are so frustrated you might say ‘I’ll pay whatever it takes so this doesn’t happen again’…. and they’ll charge you for a security protocol they should have implemented in the first place.

Now, Cyberattacks can happen to anyone at any time. But often the risk when outsourcing can be higher. Even though this was out of your control, you have a serious problem on your hands. The confidential data for your customers could be leaked. It’s not your fault, but your customers could still seek legal action against you, not those you hired. (Side note you should always consider getting insurance for these types of attacks – local insurance agenct JJS Insurance can assist)

Poor Performance

When working with your outsourced team to build your new low cost web design you may not think to ask things like – how well will it perform on google insights? Will our site be reviewed for SEO best practice before deployed? Will you be able to help our content be SEO friendly? Because often SEO and performance is the last thing on their mind, OR it is an upsell and not something they consider a standard.

The below image is an example of an overseas agency showing how low the insights score is. A sites score should aim to be 70 as a minimum, and a good site should be scoring in the 90’s. If your designer is not familiar with designing for this level of performance as their standard, than you risk being penalised by google, and not being visible in search results by your future customers.

Overseas agency low cost website design with very poor performance ranking
Google Pagespeed Insights from an overseas agency website

Advantages (Pros) of Local Developers

So there can often be lots of misconceptions about going local when it comes to web designers and developers. Especially when you want a low cost web design. So let’s now delve into the pro’s of local web designers and developers:

Timezone

Being in the same timezone as a creative can be critical to time sensitive projects. Many times using a design team overseas can leave large gaps when you are both unproductive on the project because communications are always delayed.

Low Cost & Pricing Options

The misconception is often that Australian web designers and developers are extortionately more expensive. And look, there are not going to be many website designers worth a pinch designing sites for $300AUD. However, if budget is a concern a good agency or designer will talk you through the best options to get a website that functions and performs well for your budget.

Whilst some of the bigger agencies will indeed want to charge you upwards of $100,000 for a website, you are not Audi. You are not Coca-Cola! You need a website that is right for your goals and needs, so comparing the two is like comparing apples and xylophones.

Many agencies (like ours) will offer scaled options – perhaps you don’t need all the pages now and you just need to get a basic e-commerce website up and running to get your product into market – then only pay for the pages you need and get the others when you can afford them.

Security & Data Protection

When outsourcing your web designs to the professionals, a great benefit is having access to advanced technologies you may not have been familiar with or unable to create yourself. This can help make your design competitive and improve the user experience, which could lead to an increase in sales.

Local Network Value

Having a creative team who are based where you are can give you access to local insights and networks. Let’s say you are a product based business starting up in Mount Lawley, WA – and you not only need a design team, but you are also looking for local stockists. Your local design agency may have valuable connections that will help grow your business, that you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.

Proper Maintenance

Proper maintenance of a website is often overlooked by overseas teams, once they design the site they hand it over and that’s it – job done. But many common website problems can stem from lack of ongoing maintenance, such as:

  • Website drops out or slows down
  • Domain name issues or expires
  • Not accepting international payments
  • Website is “not secure”
  • Not compatible with mobile phones or apps
  • Old plugins corrupting visual display
  • Dead links

Monitoring these and other issues can take precious time way from other important projects, and you may not even know you need to keep an eye on them. In addition, some website issues can be quite serious and require immediate attention. As a result, you may have to drop everything to quickly re-engage your overseas team who may be sleeping due to the timezone difference. Damn.

A local website design creative agency will ensure you understand about maintenance, what you can do yourself and what they may need to do overtime. We often allow 2-3 hours per month for client website projects ongoing website maintenance and security. 

Disadvantages (Cons) of Local Web Design Agency

With many misconceptions above dispelled, there are not that many cons to using a local web designer. You’ll be supporting a local group of individuals who will be excited about delivering you a proceed that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

Ultimately no matter which option you pursue, the key is to have a solid brief, to know what you want and what the goals of the website are. Do your research online and find websites you love and hate so that you can use these are a guide when building your own, or as an example to your outsourced or local agency.

More About Soto Group

We are an Australian branding, marketing and website design agency based in Mount Lawley, WA. We service clients all over the globe and help them navigate the often tricky website design landscape. Our ethos is to build relationships based on trust, that lead into design projects and outcomes that are goal specific and help our clients businesses gro and thrive.

If you are looking for more advice on getting the right website for you or finding out more about our services and how we help businesses excel, reach out to our friendly team for a no obligation chat.

Author avatar
Arna Jade
Arna is the founder of docushop & IMARI Consulting and brings innovative business and planning processes to clients. She has 20 years of international experience in tech startups, and senior business management in B2B, B2C, and government contracting businesses.