As a small business in a big marketplace, recognition is everything.

In order to get customers in your door, they need to find you, and with 81 percent of shoppers researching online before they make a decision, having a strong online presence could make a significant difference in your bottom line.

Having a website is important, but don't make the mistake of thinking that any site will do.

In order to be effective, and worth your financial investment, your website has to be search engine optimized, and it has to present a professional appearance.

Read: Should I Build My Website Myself or Outsource It?

The Difference Between Affordable and Cheap Website Design

While website design companies exist that promise full website development at a low-cost, the resulting quality and functionality will be low quality.

As you know from running your own business, you get what you pay for, and with an investment as important as your website, a small difference in cost can be a significant difference in return on investment (ROI).

The Value of Design

The first impression that a customer receives when viewing your website is influential in whether or not they make a purchase.

Shoppers are savvy, and their perception of the quality of you website will be a direct reflection on how professional and creditable they perceive your company to be.

Templated website providers and oversees developers that promise to build your website quickly and cheaply typically do so by sacrificing quality of design.

Fitting your content into a pre-fabricated template may get your website launched quickly, but it will not be a true reflection of what makes your company unique and differentiated from your competitors.

Pre-fab sites that offer a base design and rudimentary navigation have an appearance of being amateurish, which could imply your business to be untrustworthy. Before a customer makes the effort to walk into your brick and mortar store, they want to be reassured that your business is legitimate, but an online presence that seems artificial will not convince a prospect to make a purchase

Fast and cheap website design solutions typically lack mobile optimization as well. Without a responsive site, prospective customers searching with a mobile device will not be provided with a positive interaction with your website.

In the end, they will be most likely to return to their Internet browser to click on a new link – one belonging to a competitor.

The Cost of SEO

If you choose the route of buying a low-cost, quick turnaround website design solution, you will have an online presence, but how will anyone find you?

A low-cost website design company is most likely going to offer site design and development, but nothing more. Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and execution are unique disciplines that not every website developer has mastered – and those who have, are more well credentialed, which means they deservingly earn a higher rate of pay.

SEO strategy and development requires collaboration between you and a partner who understands your business, your customers, and your goals. Such elements can only be understood through time spent in meetings and conversations – something you won't get from a cut-rate developer located oversees working in a different time zone.

The Benefits of a Quality Investment

You've committed to the success of your business – which means developing a strategy for promotion and sales lead generation.

A website is an essential step in your strategy, but it will only benefit you if done well. When it comes to finding a website design company, the lowest cost option may offer you a functional finished product, but if it's not well designed, SEO-optimized, and effectively able to drive customers to your front door, your ROI will be minimal.

Your customers will make a determination on the value of your business based on the quality of their online experience with your brand. By making a long-term investment in your website, you are furthering your long-term investment in your business.

By partnering with a website design company that stands on a foundation of high-quality service and production, and not the lowest marketplace cost, you will be left with a website that you can be proud of, and with a positive ROI.

How to Choose a Website Design Company