Do me a favor and type this phrase into Google: “How much does a website cost?”
After you’ve recovered from the shock of seeing 654,000,000 search results (Yes, million!), you’ll notice that the answers are all over the place. There’s the “free” route with a do-it-yourself site (you’ll still have to pay for the domain name as well as a monthly hosting fee). There’s the pimped-out custom site that could run up to $100,000, depending on the features you ask for. And then there’s all the different options in between. You know you want the best site you can afford, but what if you can’t afford very much?
That’s where we come in. “Web design on a budget” may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s possible with a few helpful tips (and the right perspective).
Plan to Expand
Getting an affordable website for your small business may mean you’re going to start out small (no “account sign ups” or directories yet). But that doesn’t mean your small business will stay that way.
When you’re looking for an affordable website, aim for a site that you can expand later on. This may mean not tying yourself to a particular design, platform, or structure.
For instance, you may decide to start off with a very basic website for your restaurant: menu, locations, contact info, pictures of the staff, and a story of how you got started. Other features are a little out of your budget right now (interactive menu, online ordering, events calendar), but can be added once you’ve set aside the funds (and if your web developer knows what they’re doing).
If you start off with a DIY Blogger or Wix site, you may not be able to add these features that easily (or at all).
Focus on Great Design
There’s a difference between a cheap website and a cheap-looking website. You don’t have to settle for the latter. With templates and a great eye, a good web developer or designer will be able to make a great-looking website much more easily than building a “so-so” site from scratch.
And believe us, good design goes a long way. Customers are much more likely to see your business as more credible and higher quality if it has an updated site.
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Cover (All!) the Basics
Building a budget website doesn’t mean you get to skimp on necessities. Though they may be different for each industry or niche, websites are made up of certain building blocks that all come together to make a cohesive site.
Restaurant websites should include a menu (with prices!). Musician websites should include audio clips or videos of your songs. Lawyer websites should include a well-written blog with expert legal information. Trying to save money by omitting a key feature from your website is like building a house without a roof. What’s the point?
[Tweet “Omitting a key feature from your website is like building a house without a roof. What’s the point? #iwantclarity”]
Have a Budget
It sounds so simple and elementary, but getting a good website on a budget means that you have to start out with a budget and communicate that budget to your web designer.
“Hold on,” you’re saying. “If I tell my web designer what my budget is, then that’s how much they’re going to charge me. I’ll never get a great deal.” My answer is simple: You’re being ridiculous.
Good web design costs money. All those snazzy templates that look great and make the design process easier cost money to use.
Customization of those templates takes time and expertise. So do installing plugins and performing security testing and all of the other unseen (but necessary) things that go into building a website.
That’s why it’s important to be honest with yourself about how much you’re willing to spend. A good web developer (one who isn’t trying to scam you) will do his/her best to maximize the budget they are given to give you the biggest bang for your buck. (Click here for 8 questions to ask before you hire a web designer.)
The good news is that—if you and your web designer are both good at your jobs—your budget won’t stay small for long. With your awesome product/service and your website’s amazing marketing skills, you’ll be in the market for an upgrade in no time at all.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We have yet to charge $100,000 for a website. Even a pimped-out one.