Creating a website or blog for your business is crucial in our digital-first world. But just having a website isn’t enough, as it also needs to be engaging, intuitive and user-friendly in order to draw potential customers in and keep them on your page (instead of on your competitor’s). At the same time, with the right amount of focus and effort, your website or blog can quickly find itself ranking past the competition in the search results through the power of great content, marketing, and SEO.
So, how can you create a website that has all the bells and whistles while still keeping costs low? There are many affordable web builders out there that can simplify the process, whether you’re turning to a professional web designer through B12 or customizing your site with WordPress. For the most part, many of these low-cost solutions will provide you with everything you need to get started, such as hosting, a domain name, a user interface and sometimes even a drag-and-drop platform for having full control over the look and feel of your site.
We asked seven entrepreneurs from YEC to share the tools they rely on when building their websites. Bonus: Some of these tools are completely free.
Squarespace is by far my top recommendation. Its natively designed templates are very stable and meticulously engineered and can be adapted to suit almost any business need. The emphasis on great design removes the need to hire a separate web designer. Though there is a slight learning curve required to get the most out of the platform, once you master it you’ll use Squarespace for everything.-
2. Google Web Designer
Google Web Designer is good when you want to have animated elements on your website. It also integrates with other tools offered by Google.
“But that’s for e-commerce,” I hear you say. Not really. Shopify has some pretty amazing options, and it helps that they’re capable of taking potential customers’ financial details in case you ever want to expand your business and sell merchandise. You won’t pay the same bill as someone who actually sells products and everything is practically plug-and-play.
WordPress is extremely simple to use and there are free plugins available for virtually every function your business website will require. A business can essentially create a website without spending any money, outside of hosting, if it’s built using WordPress. There are free customizable themes available as well, and a business can opt for a custom design once the budget allows for it.
In my experience as a digital and advertising matchmaker, the most popular no/low cost website builder is Wix. I’ve seen many agencies and early-stage companies use Wix and benefit from it’s low-cost/high-value ratio. It’s not for everyone (you’re “leasing” a hosting website that is template-based), but it’s fast, cheap and good enough for many.
A website is your online storefront, so don’t skimp! B12 is a great service that creates beautiful professional websites for businesses. They pair you with an experienced web designer, and then use artificial intelligence to automate the tech. This keeps quality high and costs low. Basically agency quality at a fraction of the price.
7. Self-Hosted WordPress
WordPress is great because it’s free and easy to install from any web hosting company. It’s best to use self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com, which is the same company but hosts the site for you (so you have less control). What I like about WP is that it’s suitable for beginners but you can add many advanced features as well. You can choose among thousands of themes and plugins.
How to Start a Website in the Next 10 Minutes
If you still don’t have a website or blog of your own, there is simply no excuse out there that is good enough to back up not having one. With so many resources and tutorials on the internet today for how to start a website or blog of your own, it’s amazing how many people are still sitting on the sidelines. Follow our how to start a blog guide and discover how simple it is to go live with a site of your own in just the next few minutes, while also costing you just a few dollars per month in hosting costs.