Everyone knows they need a website for their business. Today it takes a lot more than simply putting up a website though; you need a good website if you want to compete. There is a lot of competition online. Unfortunately for startups and small businesses it can seem like they’ve been priced out of a descent website. That’s not necessarily true. A good website for a business is one that is persuasive, conveys the benefits, instills trust and that users can find and navigate. There is nothing written in stone that says you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to accomplish this. Granted, a custom site planned, built and written by professionals is optimal, but until you can afford it here are some tips to get up and running with very little money.
- Site Builders – You see them advertised all the time. Inuit, GoDaddy, etc. There are actually thousands of these. These are sites that provide your hosting and a series of templates for you to “fill in” with content, graphics, etc. It’s very simple and you can literally have your site up in a day or two with a little work. Best of all they are extremely cost-effective, most companies that offer the service charging a couple hundred, even under a hundred in some instances a year! Here’s the problem. There are limited templates and your site is inevitably going to look like someone else’s, there is little to no opportunity to optimize your content which means you may be harder to find, and your options for an address may be limited. These templates also tend to look less professional, though with a little effort you may be able to over come that. Eventually you will want a custom site for a million different reasons, for right now, this is a thousand times better than nothing.
- Planning – Much of the money spend during the design process is spent on fixing mistakes or changing minds. Have as much of the site as possible mapped out and planned before beginning. This means navigation, where text and images will go, what images you will use, everything. This will save a lot of time, effort and money.
- Forget about Flash – Flash can do a lot of really cool things. Here’s something a lot of giant businesses don’t know though, they’re wasting their money! Search engines have trouble cataloguing Flash, it slows customer’s browser, and unless it is an amazing idea, it does little to nothing to actually sell a product or service. It’s just something kind of cool that takes a long time to load. So save your money.
- Simple – Users want simple anyway, and luckily you don’t have the funds to create a labyrinthine website, so it is a win-win. During the planning process make sure everything is intuitive. As you build the site avoid clutter. Don’t add unnecessary things that do not sell. You’ll save time and have a better website for it.