‘Affordable’ Website Design vs Professional Design

Affordable website design versus the cost of hiring professional web designers is a tricky subject. This article looks at where the two cross over.

In today’s digital world, having a well-designed website is essential for any business or individual looking to make a mark online. However, the cost of hiring professional web designers can often be prohibitive. Luckily, there are cost-effective options available that can unlock your creativity without breaking the bank.

In this article, I’ll talk about various affordable website design options that can help you create a visually appealing and functional website without compromising on quality. 

From DIY website builders to reasonably priced freelance designers, we will uncover the best solutions to suit your budget and requirements.

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business owner, or simply someone with a passion project, this article will provide the insights and inspiration to take your online presence to the next level.

If you’re ready to dive into the world of cost-effective website design, read on to discover how to unlock your creativity without emptying your wallet.

affordable website design

The Importance of Website Design in Today’s Digital Landscape

In today’s digital landscape, having a well-designed website is essential for any business or individual looking to make a mark online.

A visually appealing and user-friendly website not only helps you establish a solid presence but also enhances your brand image and credibility.

Affordable Website Design Must Still Meet Requirements

Website design of any price point must include essential elements such as a user-friendly layout, an attractive colour scheme, easy-to-read typography, and accessible navigation.

It is about creating a seamless user experience (UX) that captures visitors’ attention and encourages them to explore further.

A well-designed website creates a positive first impression and reflects the professionalism and quality of your business.

In addition to aesthetics, website design also plays a vital role in search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines like Google consider factors like mobile-friendliness, page load speed, and user experience when determining rankings. 

Read more about SEO in detail in my article, 

Boosting Your Website Performance: Expert Tips for Optimisation Success.

The Cost of Website Design: Understanding Pricing Options

However, the cost of hiring professional web designers can often be an issue for small businesses.

Business 101 states that one must reduce costs, and spending 2, 5, or even $10,000 on website design seems outrageous.

Luckily, there are cost-effective options available that can unlock your creativity without breaking the bank.

Website Design: Your Options

Website design costs can vary significantly depending on your requirements and the professionals you choose to work with.

However, it’s essential to understand the different pricing options and the pros and cons of each option to make an informed decision that suits your budget and needs.

1. Professional Web Design Agencies

Professional web designers are known for their expertise and attention to detail. Affordable web design is still possible with a professional.

However, professional web designers tend to offer comprehensive services, including custom design, development, and ongoing maintenance, which generally forces costs higher.

Their services can be expensive, ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the project’s complexity.

2. Freelance Web Designers

Freelance web designers are independent professionals who offer web design services at a more affordable price compared to agencies.

Freelancers often have fewer overheads and work solo. Therefore, their prices tend to be lower.

They often have a diverse portfolio and can work closely with you to bring your vision to life. Freelancers usually charge on an hourly or project basis, with rates varying depending on their experience and skill level.

3. DIY Website Builders

Do It Yourself (DIY) website builders have gained popularity recently due to their affordability and ease of use. These platforms provide pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop functionality, allowing users to create websites without coding knowledge.

DIY website builders offer various pricing plans, from free to monthly or annual subscriptions, depending on the features and customisation options you require.


  1. Cost-effective: DIY website builders offer affordable pricing plans, making affordable web design possible, especially for small businesses or individuals on a tight budget. The low upfront costs make it an attractive option for those looking to minimise expenses.
  2. User-friendly: Most DIY website builders have intuitive interfaces that make it easy for beginners to create a website without any coding knowledge. The drag-and-drop functionality allows you to customise elements and create a professional-looking website quickly.
  3. Flexibility: DIY website builders often offer a wide range of templates and design options, allowing you to choose a layout and style that aligns with your brand. You can also easily update and modify your website as your business evolves.


  1. Limited Customisation: While DIY website builders offer customisation options, they can be limited compared to hiring a professional web designer.
  2. Learning Curve: Although DIY website builders are user-friendly, there is still a learning curve involved, especially if you’re new to website design. It may take some time to familiarise yourself with the platform and optimise your website for the best results.
  3. Limited Support: While most DIY website builders provide customer support, it may not be as comprehensive as the support offered by professional web design agencies. Suppose you encounter technical issues or need assistance. In that case, you may have to rely on online resources or community forums for help.

4. Template-Based Website Design

A template-based website design uses pre-designed, customisable templates to suit your brand. These templates are often more affordable than hiring a professional designer and offer various design options. 

Templates are available from online marketplaces like ThemeForest and TemplateMonster. Vendors like these offer templates based on HTMLWordPressDrupal, etc., for as little as 40 or $50. 

But you’ll need to purchase extra services like uploading the site to your hosting provider (that’s another story).

5. Website Builders

Website builders have revolutionised the website design industry by providing affordable web design and user-friendly options for creating professional-looking websites.

These platforms offer a range of templates, drag-and-drop editors, and customisation options that allow even those with no coding experience to build a website.

Website builders like Wix, known for its intuitive interface and extensive template library, allow you to choose from hundreds of professionally designed templates and easily customise them to fit your brand.

The drag-and-drop editor makes it simple to add text, images, and other elements to your website. Plus, Wix offers a free plan, making it an excellent choice for those on a tight budget.

Another affordable website builder is Squarespace. While Squarespace is slightly more expensive, it offers a more sophisticated and polished look. 

Squarespace templates are modern and visually striking, making them perfect for creative professionals or businesses that want to make a strong visual impact.

With its user-friendly interface and built-in SEO features, Squarespace is an excellent option for creating a professional website without extensive coding knowledge.

WordPress is another popular choice for those who prefer open-source platforms. WordPress offers a range of free and premium themes that are customisable to suit your needs.

With its vast plugin ecosystem, you can add functionality to your website with ease. While WordPress does require some technical know-how, it offers unmatched flexibility and scalability, making it a favourite among developers and experienced website owners.

Overall, website builders provide an affordable and user-friendly solution for those looking to create their website. With a wide range of options, you can find a website builder that suits your budget and design preferences.

6. Affordable Website Design for E-commerce

While the platforms mentioned above offer E-commerce solutions, platforms like Shopify and Etsy (Specifically Etsy Pattern, the website builder arm of Etsy)are e-commerce-specific.

The Differences

The significant difference between these two is that Etsy has a customer base that you can tap into. Still, you need to build up good customer ratings to get recommended.

While Shopify requires more work upfront to build your store and acquire customers, in the long run, you can market more to your customers via email campaigns.

If you can afford the fees, sometimes people start with Etsy and then integrate their Shopify store to get those customers over to Shopify before either winding down or dropping Etsy.


Shopify offers plans starting from $56 a month or $512 annually (25% cheaper). If your needs exceed a basic plan, you will pay $575 monthly or $5,160 annually (also 25% cheaper).

Shopify also charges credit card rates of between 1.75% and 1.95% per sale.

On the other hand, Etsy Pattern costs just $15 per month (US Dollars).

7. Offshore Affordable Website Design

If you have a specific vision for your website and prefer a more personalised approach, hiring a freelance website designer from a known cheap labour country can be a cost-effective option.

There are potential issues to look for, such as time-zone differences and language barriers.

Time zones can wreak havoc if you require instant support, and language barriers make it challenging to convey your specific needs. Also, it’s difficult to be sure the designer has your best interest at heart.

Offshore Can Still Work You

Freelancers often offer competitive rates and can provide a unique and custom design tailored to your brand and requirements.

Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr connect businesses with freelance website designers worldwide. These platforms allow you to browse portfolios, read reviews, and compare prices to find a freelancer that fits your budget and design needs.

Freelancers on these platforms often offer their services at a fraction of the cost of traditional web design agencies, making them an affordable option for small businesses and individuals.

Offshore Freelancer Considerations

Suppose you’re looking for a cost-effective, affordable website design option and are open to outsourcing. In that case, offshore website design agencies can be a viable solution.

Offshore agencies often offer competitive rates compared to their counterparts in developed countries, making them an attractive choice for businesses on a budget.

Working with an offshore agency can have several benefits:

  1. It can significantly reduce the cost of website design, as agencies in countries with lower labour costs can offer their services at a fraction of the price.
  2. Offshore agencies often have a large talent pool and can provide various design options and expertise.
  3. Working with an offshore agency can also provide a fresh perspective and insights from a different cultural background.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks when outsourcing website design. Communication can sometimes be a challenge, especially if there are language or time zone differences.

It’s essential to establish clear communication channels and set expectations from the start to avoid misunderstandings.

Additionally, quality control can be more difficult when working with an offshore agency, as you may need direct oversight of the design process.

It’s essential to do thorough research, read reviews, and ask for references before choosing an offshore agency to ensure they have a track record of delivering quality work.

When considering offshore website design agencies, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons and decide if the cost savings outweigh the potential challenges.

8. Local Professional Freelance Design

It may still be the best solution to use a local professional freelance designer. If you are still thinking cost is an issue, consider the following.

Locals Generally Support Locals

  1. A local freelancer will likely do a better job since their reputation is fragile within that local area.
  2. Local freelancers understand the culture of your area, meaning you don’t need to worry about explaining those details to an offshore designer.
  3. Support is generally possible via phone call.
  4. Most professional freelancers offer affordable website design packages at various levels to suit your needs.
  5. Some freelancers offer custom packages to get your business.

Best Practices for Approach to Affordable Web Design

To further illustrate the potential of cost-effective website design, let’s look at some case studies of successful businesses that have achieved impressive results without breaking the bank.

Case Study 1: Mike’s Bike Shop

Mike’s Bike Shop is a small local business specialising in selling and repairing bicycles. With a limited budget, they used a popular website builder to create a simple yet visually appealing website.

The website showcased their products and services, provided contact information, and even included a repair booking system. Despite the low cost of the website, The Bike Shop saw an increase in online inquiries and a significant boost in sales.

Case Study 2: The Fashion Blogger

Jane, a fashion enthusiast, wanted to share her style tips and outfit ideas with the world. With a limited budget, she opted for a template-based website design platform. She found a template that matched her aesthetic and customised it to fit her brand.

Jane consistently posted high-quality content and optimised her website for search engines. Over time, her website gained traction, and she started collaborating with fashion brands and generating income through sponsored content.

Case Study 3: The Online Store

John, an entrepreneur, wanted to start an online store to sell his handmade jewellery. He didn’t have the budget to hire a professional web designer, so he worked with a freelance designer from a platform like Upwork.

The freelancer understood John’s vision and created a visually stunning website that showcased his products.

With the help of social media marketing and search engine optimisation, John’s online store gained popularity, and he was able to grow his business significantly.

These generalised case studies demonstrate that affordable website design options can lead to successful outcomes. By leveraging cost-effective solutions and focusing on quality content and optimisation, businesses and individuals can achieve their online goals without breaking the bank.

Conclusion: Unlocking the Potential of Cheap Web Design Creativity

While affordable web design options offer great value, it’s essential to follow some best practices to ensure your website is compelling and engaging.

  1. Define your goals: Before starting the design process, clearly define your goals and objectives for your website. Defining your goals will help you make informed decisions and ensure that your website aligns with your overall business strategy.
  2. Keep it simple: Focus on simplicity and clarity in design. Avoid cluttered layouts, excessive animations, and unnecessary elements that distract users from your main message or call-to-action.
  3. Optimise for mobile: With the increasing use of smartphones, it’s crucial to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Use responsive design techniques to ensure your website looks and functions well on all devices.
  4. Prioritise user experience: User experience (UX) is vital to keeping visitors engaged and converting them into customers. Ensure your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and provides a seamless browsing experience.
  5. Invest in quality content: Great design alone is not enough; your website needs compelling and informative content to engage visitors. Invest time in creating high-quality content that aligns with your brand and provides value to your audience.
  6. Incorporate SEO best practices: Optimise your website for search engines to increase visibility and attract organic traffic. Use relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptive URLs to improve your website’s ranking in search results.

By following these best practices, you can maximise the impact of your cost-effective website design and create a website that drives results.