What’s the best way to design a website on a small business budget? Luckily, options abound when it comes to domain creation, design, and distribution.
The world has gone virtual post-pandemic. Companies that were strictly brick-and-mortar operations moved to the internet. Today, a good portion of the 31 million small businesses in the U.S. have some form of online address.
You don’t have one yet; however, you’re ready to get one. Unfortunately, you don’t have a huge budget to play with. This is okay because there are several options for you to choose from to give you an active online presence.
Here are a few ways how to design a website on a budget for your small business.
For the most part, the internet is a powerful and useful tool. It helps you find items that could’ve taken days to research through the library. So, there’s no excuse not to perform extensive research on web platforms.
Review sites are the best place to start. They provide fairly accurate discussions about a company’s design tools, prices, and customer service. If they’re generally positive, then it’s a good idea to examine them further. If it’s a mix of good and bad reviews, then use your best judgment on how to proceed.
Choose Between A Site Builder Or Design Group
As you research you also want to be aware of the type of service you want to use. Is it self-service or should it be a website development group? Both have their pros and cons.
The self-service site builder gives you plenty of options to customize your virtual eCommerce location. Their drag-and-drop tools make it easy to add blogs, audio clips, and videos. However, development is limited to what they offer on the user menu.
On the other hand, the development group has subject matter experts to optimize the website’s front end (the user interface, or UI) and the back end processes (the user experience, or UX). Thus, you get a site that’s a head above many other small businesses. Yet, design group services cost more than most site-building platforms and could be out of your budget range.
Choose Between A Hosting And Building Platforms
Should you decide to pass on a development group, the next option is the type of platform you need to design the site. There are two forms of this. One is a hosting site, and the other is a creation-only platform.
Examples of hosting sites are locations like Wix and Squarespace. Not only do you have the power to build your online location but you also host the site on their servers. Though this saves a good deal of time, the downside is some difficulty relocating your website from its proprietary environment.
A good example of a site-builder platform is WordPress.org. Released in 2003, the site recently implemented its drag-and-drop menu called Guttenberg, thus making it easier to design an online location. The downside to WordPress.org is you need to find a separate hosting site for your web pages.
In your research, don’t confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. The latter is a hosting platform similar to Weebly or Hostgator. Additionally, where the services of WordPress.org are free, you must pay for a subscription to the .com version.
Determine How You Want To Pay
One way or another you need to move your website to a hosting platform so it becomes active. Most sites offer several options for personal use, freelancers, and small to medium-sized businesses. What you choose and how you pay depends on your budget.
If you’re just starting, we recommend a low-end plan that allows you to also host a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). In other words, your small business site should read www.widget.com instead of www.widget.wordpress.com. It provides a more professional look.
How you pay depends on the options. For instance, if you select an annual WordPress.com Premium subscription you receive a free domain for one year. However, if you select the monthly option for the same plan, then you lose the domain.
Utilize Your Own Content
Most website builders have built-in content, images, and videos to use for free. However, these choices are limited. If you need something different, then you must pay for it, and that takes a chunk out of your budget.
Bypass these options and utilize your own content. There are plenty of sites that allow you to create or download items for free. For instance, Pixabay touts over two million free images. Meanwhile, Canva allows you to create logos, banners, and other items needed to spruce up your website.
Store Items On The Cloud
Web hosting platforms tend to have packages with storage capacity. Unfortunately, when you need to create one on a budget, what they provide doesn’t fit your desires. Prevent this by utilizing Cloud storage services.
Several options in this market have more storage for little or no investment. For instance, if you subscribe to the Microsoft Office Suite of products, then you receive up to 1TB of storage on OneDrive. Meanwhile, Google offers 15GB divided between its Cloud and Mail services.
FAQs On Website Design For A Small Business Budget
Can I learn web design on my own?
It’s easy to learn web design on your own. Most site-building platforms offer drag-and-drop options to create templates, change colors & fonts, and add multimedia options. If you have the time, there are online opportunities to learn website coding for more comprehensive designs.
How does a website development team operate?
A development team goes beyond the drag-and-drop setup of a website. They utilize coding platforms like Python and PHP, among others, to enhance the site’s user interface (UI) and the background user experience (UX). In simpler terms, they make it easy to maneuver and process information.
How do web hosting services work?
Web hosting services provide shared or dedicated anchors to host websites. Not only do they provide the platform for your site but also give it an address. This allows your customers to visit the location.
Most platforms do provide free hosting services, however, the options provided are somewhat limited. You must pay a monthly or annual fee to host your own domain name or increase the level of customer service. What option you select depends on your immediate needs.
Are domain names free?
Domain names are similar to street addresses. However, like someone does to live on a certain stretch of road, you have to pay for a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). Companies like GoDaddy allow you to search for a name and claim it for a fee.
Do I need a domain name for my website?
It’s a good idea to assign a domain name to your website. One reason is it gives it a professional feel. Another is it makes your site easier to find through search engines.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the oldest web design platforms. The free version, WordPress.org, allows you to design a set of pages through a combination of drag-and-drop elements and plugins. However, you must select a hosting site for something designed in WordPress.org.