If there’s one thing you learn as a small business owner, it’s the importance of getting a good deal on everything you invest in. No matter where you look, there are new products and services your business needs – not to mention vendors and salespeople who want to sell you things you might not need. Managing your expenses while keeping money coming in can be a real challenge.

Knowing that, it’s easy for me to understand why so many business owners are obsessed with getting a “great deal” on a new website. That’s especially true when there are template companies, DIY websites services, and bargain-basement vendors from around the globe who promise to give them great-looking layouts for next to nothing.

Unfortunately, each of these options gives you a low-cost website, not a great deal. There’s a big difference, because one has to do with the amount you spend and the other refers to what you’ll get in return. The only way to get a great deal on web design is to work with a creative partner who will take the time to understand your business, figure out what your short and long-term marketing goals are, and build a web presence that will help you earn a positive ROI for years to come.

To understand why that is, and how paying less than you should upfront can cost you so much later, here are a few things you have to remember…

Your Website Affects Every Part of Your Business

Your website isn’t just an online brochure for your company. It’s probably central to your sales and marketing efforts, your future recruiting plans, and your customer service interactions. If the look and functionality of your site falls short in any of these areas, then it’s going to cost you money in the long run, even if you never see those losses on a spreadsheet. That’s why it’s so important to have a vendor who “gets” what you do and is willing to build a website that can help you with achieve all of your business goals.

Experience and Commitment Matter

Business owners tend to think anyone with the right software can draw a beautiful website. That’s because they don’t have the experience and perspective that we do. Within the industry, we know software and images are just tools, not unlike hammers and nails. Anyone with basic training can use them, but it takes an experienced team of creative minds working towards a specific marketing goal to build an online home that’s going to bring fresh revenue for a client’s business.

What’s Cheap Today is Expensive Tomorrow

One thing low-cost web design providers never tell you is that their cheap websites don’t respond well to upgrades, edits, or platform switches. So, while a low-cost layout might look good now, it may fail later when you switch to a new version of WordPress, add a couple of plug-ins, or start attracting mobile visitors. Once that happens, you’re likely to end up paying a great deal of money to fix these problems, or to move the content you published online into a custom website that’s more durable.

I understand the temptation to get a website for the lowest amount you can possibly pay. Just remember, though, that doing so is likely to come back to bite you in the long run. If you really want to get a great deal on your next website, work with a team that’s worth what they’re charging and will deliver something that helps your company grow after you’ve written a check for their services.