Marketing

How to Have a Professional Website on a Shoestring Budget

You don’t need to drop thousands on a custom design to have a great website.

Source: chrispecoraro / E+ / Getty

Your website is an important part of your business and a key factor in your success. Not only can it function as a storefront but also it should be one of your hardest-working employees, a home for your content marketing, and a place where customers can go to learn more about who you are and what you do. Long story short: It’s not something you should neglect.

But websites can also take up a large chunk of your marketing budget. A custom website will run you thousands of dollars—and that’s just the development. Websites are living and breathing; they need to be regularly maintained in order to keep up with search engine optimization and your growing company. Hiring a custom designer and coder to do all of that work will lead to quite a hefty price tag.

But you can have a professional website on a less-than-stellar budget. It just takes some strategic thinking.

  • Begin with a template. Templates can get a bad rap, but plenty of companies make stunning templates these days. Even the paid templates will still be quite a bit more affordable than a custom design. Websites like Wix and Squarespace allow you to customize templates by dragging and dropping.
  • Start small. Website designers aren’t going anywhere. If you feel like you’ve outgrown DIY templates, you can always hire one down the road. But in the meantime, don’t be afraid to keep your site small and nimble. You can build it piece by piece by starting with the basics—what your company’s values are, what you sell, and how people can hire you.
  • Utilize opt-in forms. Believe it or not, you don’t need a coding whiz to create a landing page or opt-in form. Most e-mail marketing providers will give you the code to plant on your site.
  • Keep things fresh. Make sure your website has up-to-date contact information and a clean, streamlined sales page. By regularly updating your site, you’re letting Google know you’re active and giving yourself a boost in rankings.
  • Utilize Upwork. If you’re still feeling shaky about your website creation skills, build out a basic template and then use a site like Upwork to find a coder who can tweak your site on an as-needed basis. It’s a lot easier to explain what you want and have people come to you instead of contacting designers and asking them to do less than what they’re used to.