As a small business, you don’t have a never-ending budget to invest in a splashy website and an online marketing campaign. You know you need to have a web presence, but when you look at the estimates from web designers, you just don’t know how you’re supposed to fit that into your budget.
Fortunately, there are many ways to create an online presence with a professional website and effective marketing techniques without spending a lot of money. Here are a few things you can do to start your website even if you’re on a shoestring budget:
Find a Great Host
There are plenty of free blog platforms, but you should steer clear of those if you want a professional presence. To get your own domain and to have full control over your site, you will need to get a web host. There are dozens of options available, and you can save hundreds of dollars a year on a host by shopping around.
Each host has something different to offer, and each offers a variety of plans. The plans vary by storage space, databases allowed, security provided, number of email accounts provided, support offered, and more. Compare the best web hosts to find plans that offer the most features you need at the best price.
WordPress is one of the most user-friendly platforms for creating a website. It has a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that lets you format the page by using the same tools you’re used to from Microsoft Word and other programs. You don’t have to know any coding or other technical details. Just move the elements around on the page so they are where you want them to be.
WordPress is free. You just download the self-hosted software, and you upload it to your web host. You can create your own site on your own domain without having to pay for anything outside of what you give your host. Just make sure you sign up for a hosting plan that supports SQL databases. You will have to create one to host WordPress.
Use a Great WordPress Theme
The basic WordPress package will give you everything you need for a simple site. But if you want something that looks impressive, you’ll need to customize your WordPress. Unless you know HTML, Java, or another coding language, the easiest way to customize your site is to purchase a WordPress theme and then customize that with the provided options.
Sites like Theme Forest and Theme Fuse let you browse hundreds of themes. You can see what they look like, and you can see the customization options, such as the different colors, sliders, and more. The themes come with complete documentation to install them and set up the different options. All you have to do is plug in the items you want to get a gorgeous site that will look just as good as what you pay a designer thousands of dollars to create. You’ll spend about $60 for the theme, and your customers won’t know the wiser.
Get Low-Cost Graphics
Having a logo created for your business can cost thousands of dollars. You can also spend a mint on photographs and graphics created for your website. Instead, you can get these things for low cost or even free if you know where to look.
Stock photography provides thousands of pictures for as little as a few cents per picture. On average, you’ll spend a dollar or two per picture, depending on the size and the quality of the photo. Check the usage rights on the photo to make sure you aren’t violating any copyright.
For logos, you can visit a site like Design River to hire a designer. You can run a contest for your logo or hire a designer directly. You can spend as little as $200 to get a great logo that you can use on your website, your mailings, and even your company van.
Starting a website doesn’t have to be a prohibitively expensive venture. You can get a fantastic site that will draw in customers without spending a lot of money if you just know what resources to use. These tips will help you get a great site fast and for less than a few hundred dollars.