Why not use one of those "shopping-mall" solutions?
Being budget conscious, you have probably explored using one of those "shopping mall" web sites. You know, the ones where all you do is sign up, pick from a few standard page designs and up pops a web site! It couldn't be much easier than that to get your business on the Web!
But don't do that.
"Cookie-cutter" or "one-size-fits-all" web sites certainly have their place, but that place does not include any business looking to convey a professional image. Web shoppers are very literate...they can spot a company trying to skate by on an "el-cheapo" web site. Is that the image you want to convey? The cookie cutter web site is good for the hobbyist looking to make a little money selling her or his hobby projects. They are also perfect for businesses who serve a tiny niche market and who just don't need to impress anybody. And, they are a good solution for a company without a long term commitment to their customers who wants the option to fade away at any time.
More than likely, you fit none of the above examples, otherwise you wouldn't be shopping for a web site. Good for you for exploring your options!
A professional web design says that you are a professional company. It says that you place a great deal of pride on what you sell. It says that you and your company are in it for the long haul and that you take your company, your product, and your image seriously.
If "shopping mall" web sites conveyed a positive image to customers, don't you think that companies like Gap, Sears, and JCPenney would use them? The simple fact that these companies have opted for their own place on the World Wide Web would probably indicate that they have dismissed the "shopping mall" web sites as unconducive to their images or unsuitable to their professional needs.
Yes, a professionally designed web site will cost you more in the short run, but that's what running a business is all about...investing in the things that offer the best growth opportunities. There are some things you can cut corners on and some things you can't. Your company's professional image is not something to skimp on.
Investing in a well designed web site is an investment in your company's future and tells your customers, your competitors, and your shoppers that you're serious about your business and that you're in it to stay.