Getting a great deal on your website is not only a badge of honor, but a truly rewarding part of business. A strategic decision not to over-invest in your website and it’s associated marketing services can be instrumental to your business’ success. This begs the question: are you making a decision that will help your business, or are you taking shortcuts that will come back to haunt you? How you slice your marketing budget is crucial to your selling success and understanding what amount of investment your website warrants is key to building your foundation.

Building a cheap website is a strategic decision when you’re not trying to build credibility, it’s not buyer facing, it won’t affect the customer’s workflow, or the site is only active for a short time. These questions will help you decide whether your site will drive results on the cheap:

1) How long will this website be active? If you’re building a website that you intend to use for less than 6 months, you may want to build it cheaply. Two examples of websites that won’t have staying power: a microsite for a company-wide employee event and an informational site that helps employees sign up for a new health insurance plan before the end of the year. There are exceptions of course– if you’re expecting high visibility, or are trying to use the website as a selling tool, it may be worth investing proportionately even if it’s only a short-lived site.

2) What is the goal of this website? You don’t need to break the bank on a website that will be used internally by a small number of employees. Here it may make sense to use an out-of-the-box solution rather than building something from scratch. Internal websites that are used by more than a handful of employees may warrant a greater investment if there is the potential for efficiency gains.

3) Are we trying to build credibility? Many websites are not building credibility for your business– for instance your CRM, or a web page that holds shared sales documents. These sites often don’t warrant the investment of time, money or energy. However, one of the worst mistakes a business can make is to cheap out on a website designed to build credibility. Smart business leaders know this is potentially more disastrous than buying a suit at Kmart.

4) Is it buyer facing? If your customers aren’t using this site, then you may not need to invest as much. Image is everything, but if a buyer won’t see your site, it could be a waste of money. An example would be an internal HR website containing your policy information. In this case keep it simple, keep it cheap.

5) Does this affect the customer’s workflow? Could this site cause a sales bottleneck? As long as there is no chance that your customer will be affected by one of your employees suffering through a slow or antiquated system, then you’re good to go. If the site’s goal is to generate leads, you might want to invest a little more to make sure your system is seamless.

These 5 questions prove helpful in assessing your decision to build a low-cost website, determining whether or not your strategy is sound and finding out if you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.