You are looking to create a website for your business. Congratulations on a great decision. It goes without saying that having your own website is essential if you want to succeed. If you are not yet convinced, here is a quick walkthrough of the reasons you need a website as soon as possible:
Find new clientele
The world has moved online in a big way. Customers usually research online before buying a product from a physical store. Having a website allows you to get more attention.
Gives you legitimacy
A website lends legitimacy to your business. Nothing is wrong if you don’t have one, but somehow, it is harder to convince customers that you are serious. In this day and age, who runs a business without one? Optics matter when it comes to marketing. 88% of buyers who search end up visiting the business.
Gain on competition
Or catch up with them as the case may be. A reliable website makes you more visible and professional. You can broadcast about your product, arrange for a press release, provide e-commerce shopping and share your vision.
How to create a website for a small business that does not cost the earth? Read on to find more.
Tips for Building Cheap Websites
1. Buy cheap hosting
Hosting is a buzzword that you would have to accept as part of your life from now. A hosting service provider is a server space owner who allows you to host your site. Of course, you could buy a server and host your site, but that would be a lot more expensive and quite meaningless.
Some of the biggest names include GoDaddy, Hostinger, Bluehost. There are thousands of names. Some are a lot cheaper than others. A hosting provider also helps you register a domain name and obtain HTTPS certificates. Of course, you could do these without them, but the process would be cumbersome.
Buy hosting on an annual plan. Often these sites run a deep discount. That is why you have to look at several (up to a dozen) before taking a call. The hosting market has oversupply, and you could probably haggle a bit. Get a free domain name or HTTPS, for example. Also, the price of a yearly deal (or bi-annual deal) is far more lucrative than a monthly deal.
2. Choose the right platform
If you want to pay very little, you should choose WordPress (org version). The reason being it is free. Moreover, there are plenty of free or freemium plugins (more on that later).
You could use a reputed website builder such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. All of them have their own hosting service bundled with the rental, but HTTPS and domain . They could probably cut you a deal for a year, but after that, your recurring expenses would definitely be higher.
It is not that we are advising you not to choose these paid services but to be aware that if they choose to hike their price, you would have no alternative but to fall in line. Otherwise, you have to build the website from the ground up, and go the whole nine yards, again.
It is cheaper to buy good quality hosting and use WordPress to create a small business website.
If you don’t like the hosting service, export your site using XML and upload it on a new server. You own the domain name, and nothing prevents you from migrating lock, stock, and barrel.
Start small and buy the basic package. You do not need more than one website, about 30-50 GB SSD space, 2-3 email addresses, and at least 5000 site visits monthly. The last one is unmetered on most hosting services. Upgrade to a more expensive plan if the traffic demands it.
3. Search for cheap developer
This is by far the most expensive component of your setup. At the time of writing, the best plan from Hostinger would set you back approx $100 every year for an unlimited plan. But developing a website requires time and effort. A developer would cost you several hundred dollars at least. There are few ways to get past this.
If you are creating a plain vanilla site, hire a student. The WordPress editor is easy to use, and nearly anyone can create a site. A student of IT or computer sciences would be an ideal person to work with a small business website builder.
That approach would be a little problematic if you are looking to open an ecommerce site.
What you could always do is find freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork. Maybe, you have to outsource the work to Brazil or Indonesia, but the cost would be a third of what you would pay for an American or European developer.
Most of these sites allow you to pay by means of escrow, and unless you are satisfied, you can have the developer rework time and again.
There is huge competition among developers, and you would be able to secure a good bargain. Ensure you read reviews before employing anyone.
4. Use free plugins
This is where using WordPress begins to pay off. Plugins are modular software that attaches to the website and does specific tasks such as manages email or allows you to do a podcast. The possibilities are almost endless and make a website more efficient.
- Unsplash – Collection of free images.
- Ninja Forms – Create free forms.
- Smart Slider – Share images as a slide instead of a gallery.
- Yoast SEO – Optimize your site to rank higher on Google.
and several more.
Of course, almost all of these have a free and premium version. But for kicking off your site, the unpaid version is fine. As your business grows and you have a more substantial budget, migrate to the premium version of these plugins gradually.
5. Understand the topic
If you don’t have a technical background, you might be grimacing. However, we are not asking you to learn how to build a site. You need to know enough to navigate past the jargon.
Such as cPanel or control panel of a site. Your hosting company would say it is a plus that they are giving for free. In truth, it costs < 50 cents when bought in bulk.
Your developer would use similar jargon – AMP or accelerated mobile pages. AMP pages load faster on a mobile device. But no extra coding is needed. The official AMP plugin is completely free! Slight customization is needed when your website is AMP compliant.
You don’t have to read a thick volume about web development. Simply watch YouTube tutorials. There are hundreds that teach you how to use the best website builders for small business.
At least you would have a more than working understanding of how your site works and what it is supposed to do.
Take the Plunge…
Go ahead and jump in. contact a developer and ask for samples. Discuss with him/her what type of design and theme would suit you best.
Ask him to create a wireframe mockup and email it or share it over a Zoom meeting. As soon as he finishes creating a rudimentary version of the site, buy hosting and domain name and launch your site. At first, you would not be able to maintain it yourself, but given a year, you would find it an easy and quite manageable task.