You absolutely can make a website on your budget.
Start by accepting the fact that unless you are selling encyclopedias door to door, there is no way around your need for a website. You not only need a website, you need a GOOD website! Your website needs to:
- Work on your customers’ smartphones
- Be something your customers can easily find on the World Wide Web
- Show off your products and your brand!
The most important thing is to have a web presense with some basic information about your business.
Step 1. Do some planning.
What do your customers expect to see in your website? Directions to your location? Contact information so they can reach you? A schedule? Do you want your customers to be able to purchase products from your website? Do you want to provide a list of products? A photo gallery?
Once you know what you want in your website, you can start to lay it out. These are the three most frequent web pages we make:
- HOME page that represents the business and the brand.
- ABOUT US page, that generally goes into a bit more detail about the company.
- CONTACT US page, which usually includes a form so your customer can contact you, and perhaps a map and directions.
Clarifying what you want on your website will put you in a better position to work with your web developer and find a solution within your budget.
Step 2. Find your website resources.
Just like when you make a brochure about your business, you need some resources to make your website. There are three things in particular you need: a logo, pictures, and a few sentences about your business. Let’s take them individually:
LOGO. Have your logo close by in a .png or .jpg file. If you don’t have a logo, then you can use your company name as a placeholder until you get one.
IMAGES. If you don’t have images, you absolutely will need them for a professional website. You can find some low-cost royalty-free images to put on your website. Also consider including a picture of your storefront and your products.
DESCRIPTION. Take the time to write a few semtences describing your business, including a description of what you do for the home page and something about your company for the About Us page.
Step 3: Decide how much you want to do on your own.
It is not possible to make a website for free. But you can keep the costs to a manageable level. How much you pay may depend on how much you are willing to learn and do yourself.
If you enjoy a technical challenge, another approach may be to work with a tutor on your website. That way you will do the work yourself, but a professional web developer will show you what to do and can jump in to help when necessary. For example, your web developer could assist you in choosing a WordPress theme and setting up the website, then you would add the website content yourself.
But how much will this cost?
If you contact a Web Design company, most likely you will receive an estimate of $1500 – $2000 for a simple website.
Keep in mind that you can negotiate. For example, if you explain to your web developer that your website budget is $500 for this year, the web developer can help you find a way to make a nice website within that budget, and set it up so you can build on the website as your business grows.
Here is a list of expenses you should expect:
- Domain: Your website domain will be around $15 per year.
- Hosting: Hosting prices can vary, but expect to pay at least $10-15 per month.
- WordPress Theme: Most themes are under $59, and many nice themes are free.
- Development: This is the most difficult to estimate. If you want a developer to set up your website, then it will cost at least $300 and perhaps more. If you decide to set up a WordPress website on your own, start by taking a class, and then plan on spending all of a weekend on it. Even if you choose to set it up on your own, plan on spending a bit with a developer to do some clean up. Most professional websites have a significant amount of custom code.
Consider WordPress for your platform
When you use WordPress, you have several advantages. First of all, there is a built in Customer Management System (CMS) that will allow you to update the website on your own without paying a developer.
Second, you can find a nice template as a starting point for your website, which will help you to achieve a professional website design. At White Buffalo Websites, we already have agency licenses for the Beaver Builder Theme and PageBuilder and the Genesis Platform and Sample Theme. Either of these themes make a great starting point for a website.
Most importantly, WordPress will launch you into the website world with strong support systems. Because so many developers are familiar with WordPress, it is easy to find paid and volunteer help when you need it. There are alternatives to WordPress, but it is hard to recommend them if you are pursuing a website on a budget.
There is one caveat to this recommendation. If you have no interest in having a role in maintaining your website, and you don’t anticipate you will have many changes, it can be cheaper and easier to build a website directly in HTML5. For example, White Buffalo built this simple two-page website for a client: MarkEasterPiano.com. An HTML5 website requires no maintenance, unlike a WordPress website that needs occasional updating. One option to avoid is an online Build A Website program. When you have problems with one of those tools, it is very difficult to find help solving the problems. Either make your website in WordPress or in HTML5.
As Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” It would be wonderful to have thousands of dollars for your website. But that does not mean that you can’t make a beautiful website that is within your budget.
White Buffalo can help you make a great website within your budget. We specialize in making websites that work well on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. We will help make the best website in your market!