How to Create an Affordable Small Business Website
These days, not having a website isn’t an option for your small business. It’s essential for your company to have a well-functioning website, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive process. Here’s what small business owners need to know about creating an affordable website that serves it’s purpose as another useful tool in your business toolbox.
Choosing a domain name and hosting service
Before you dig into the details of web design you’ll need to choose a domain name and hosting service. Choose a simple domain, like your business name, and aim for purchasing the .com version of the domain. Many hosting services include a domain name with the purchase of a hosting subscription, which makes things much easier.
The options for hosting can be mind-boggling. Thankfully, PCMag reviewed some of the web’s most popular hosting services in 2014 and compared everything from the availability of unlimited email addresses, to whether a company has 24/7 phone support.
Their top choices included Arvixe and DreamHost, though they admit that DreamHost is better suited for more experienced users. Bluehost is another popular option that works well for beginners and experts, and the pricing is certainly attractive.
Deciding on Content Management Software (CMS)
Now you’ll need to determine how you’ll build and design your website, and this is where a CMS comes into play. A CMS helps you create every page of your site, and here are two of the most well-known and easiest to use solutions:
- WordPress isn’t just for bloggers, and it can be used to create beautiful business websites. The software can be integrated into your hosting service and there are themes available for every conceivable variety of website, with prices that range from cheap to expensive. The theme will determine how your website looks, and since they’re designed by professional developers, the learning curve isn’t steep. Most of the themes are responsive as well, meaning they display wonderfully on mobile devices.
- Joomla! is for the business owner who wants endless customization options, and the usability of this CMS is somewhere between WordPress’s simplicity and more complicated solutions. Like WordPress, Joomla! has plentiful plugins and customization options and can be installed right onto your hosting service.
Pages for your small business website
Before you begin make a list of the pages you want your website to contain. Who will be looking at your site, and what will they want to know? Basic business websites always include an about page, contact information, and calls to action throughout the website. You can also include pages for descriptions of products and services, a list of staff, and more.
Hiring an affordable freelance web designer
If the DIY route sounds too time consuming or overwhelming, here’s some good news: affordable web design from the pros is plentiful. Of course, you’ll get what you pay for. However, if you need a simple website, are short on time, and don’t have a lot of money to spend, this is an excellent option.
Browse sites like Guru.com and Upwork.com to find freelancers for hire. You can compare portfolios, prices, and more to find the perfect freelancer for your budget. Reach out to your network, too. You might be surprised to learn that your contacts already have a preferred web designer who can design an affordable small business website.
Did you design your small business’s website on your own, or did you hire a professional? Share your stories and web design tips in the comments!