Building a Website on a Budget: Affordable Website Design & Development Tips for Small Businesses
It is possible to build a business website on a budget, and you do not need to sacrifice functionality or visual appeal! Discover how to create a website on a dime.
As a small business owner looking to establish an online presence, you might have already looked into affordable website design solutions. While launching a professional business website can be expensive, building one without breaking the bank is possible.
If the sheer cost of launching a website makes you doubt whether you should launch one at all, let us remind you that a website can help you achieve many great things, including growing your customer base, building credibility and establishing authority.
But how can you create a fully-functional website without spending a fortune? Well, that is what you are about to find out. In this article, you will find practical tips and tricks for building a website on a budget. So, buckle up, and let’s get started!
- While freelance web designers charge around $1,000-$3,000+ for custom website design services, and web design agencies charge even more, there are cost-effective alternatives to launching a small business website.
- Designing a website alone can be challenging, especially for business owners with no technical background, as the learning curve can be steep.
- When building a professional business website, it is important to consider domain name, web hosting, design, website copy and search engine optimization to ensure a successful outcome.
Affordable website design – mission impossible?
Not at all! In fact, there are several solutions that can help save money when building an online business.
Businesses usually build websites for several specific reasons: To establish credibility, take better control of customer engagement or gather valuable customer data. Whatever your reason for owning a website, you do not actually need to spend a fortune on a small business website design.
If you were to outsource small business website design services, you’d likely get quoted around $1,000-$3,000 by experienced freelance website designers. If you were to choose to work with a web design agency, you could spend as much as $5,000-$10,000. Of course, it all depends on your location and the designer’s expertise.
These numbers can be daunting for a small business owner with a limited budget or, for example, a student starting a passive income venture with no budget at all. But before you resign yourself to running a business without a website, consider a few affordable web design options. For example, website builders.
Website builders – a saving grace or a secretly expensive endeavor?
Drag-and-drop web builders like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly offer a do-it-yourself approach to website design. They enable you to pick a template, customize design elements to your liking and launch your site without needing a lot of technical knowledge.
Please beware that while you may find a drag-and-drop builder that seems to offer a free plan with a free domain name, hosting and email support features, they are rarely ever truly free. On average, using a builder costs around $20-$30 a month, and while that might seem like an affordable web design option, it is not actually cost-effective in the long run.
A $30 monthly plan may seem insignificant right now, but that’s $360 a year. And you would need to pay the price for as long as the website is running.
On top of that, you must consider upgrades and premium features you might need down the line. As well as additional costs for site updates. For example, let’s say you need to implement a unique feature on your landing pages or sales pages. That may come at a price. And a significant one.
Even if you do not think you need any extras, the cheapest plans may not even include essential features such as phone support, search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing integration or ecommerce functionality for building an online store.
In short, you might think you would save a lot of money using a builder, but in the long run, the price of your website is likely to add up to a significant sum.
Building a small business website yourself – is it a good solution?
Building a website alone can be daunting, especially if you have no design skills or technical background. If you love to learn, you might find it rewarding to gain expertise and discover ways to save money on small business website design and development.
However, the learning curve can be steep, and if you have plenty of other tasks you need to handle for your business to flourish, you might simply not be able to dedicate enough time to become proficient in creating functional websites and online stores.
Even building a site with a free website builder isn’t exactly a walk in the park. While they come with pre-designed templates, you need time to explore and familiarize yourself with the builder’s interface. Moreover, if you take a trial-and-error approach, you can encounter technical issues. For example, if your site crashes, you might have to spend more time and money troubleshooting and fixing problems than you initially planned.
Luckily, there are other ways to get a professional website at an affordable price.
6 things to think about if you want to build a professional small business website while saving money
As you embark on a small business website design project, here are key things to consider for building a website that attracts and engages prospective customers.
Representative domain name
Having your own custom domain name is fundamental to launching a small business website. Like a physical address, a domain name serves as a unique address to help internet users locate your website among the hundreds of millions active online.
It’s important to choose a distinct, easy-to-remember domain that reflects your brand or business. Most importantly, you need an available name. You can both check the availability and register your domain name using platforms like GoDaddy, Namecheap or Domain.com.
Costs for custom domain registration vary depending on the platform you choose. Let’s take the pricing of Domain.com as an example. For the popular .com domain, you would pay $10.99 per year. However, there are much cheaper and much more expensive domains. A .tickets domain, for example, costs $455.99 yearly, while a .space domain costs only $2.99 yearly.
Many domain registrars offer discounts for first-year registration, so usually, you can get a domain name at a lower price. Overall, it is a good idea to research different registrars, compare prices, read the fine print and settle for the option that makes the most sense for you.
Web hosting is the infrastructure that allows you to store your website’s files and make them accessible online. To avoid downtimes and ensure smooth operation, you need a reliable website host.
The most basic hosting plans range from $2.95 to $10 per month; however, they are often limited and cannot ensure the best solutions for business website owners. On the other hand, premium plans can cost as high as $100 or more per month but offer more than just basic hosting.
Attractive and clean design
One crucial aspect to consider when building a professional business website is the design process. A visually appealing and well-organized website can leave a positive impression on website visitors, while a cluttered or poorly-designed one can have the opposite effect.
Here are some website design tips that can help you improve your site’s visual appeal.
- Use consistent branding elements and color schemes across your website pages to create a cohesive visual identity. Each landing page should represent your brand.
- Opt for clean, easy-to-read fonts that enhance readability and reflect your brand’s personality.
- Incorporate ample blank space to give your content room to breathe and create a sense of clarity and organization.
- Choose high-quality images and graphics that are relevant to your business and align with your brand’s aesthetic.
A professional freelance web designer or web design company can apply design tips and make your website visually inviting, but the costs for their services can be steep, starting from $1,000. To learn more about finding a web designer who’s right for you, check out this article.
The cheaper alternative is to do it yourself using pre-designed templates offered by website builders. However, this approach has major drawbacks. Aside from the monthly cost for a website builder, the ready-made templates are not unique, and they cannot help your website stand out.
So, if you use a builder, creating something unique to differentiate your business from the crowd will be challenging, especially with limited design skills. Besides, if you are not careful while customizing the templates, you could make design mistakes affecting user experience.
Supportive UX & UI
When building your small business website, you need to prioritize a positive user experience (UX) and an intuitive user interface (UI).
A user-friendly design allows visitors to navigate your site easily, which makes them want to spend more time on the website and can convert them to paying customers. Additionally, a well-optimized UX and UI can help rank your website better on search engine result pages. Remember, Google and other search engines tend to favor sites that provide a seamless user experience.
Follow these best practices to make your site easy to navigate and use.
- Prioritize clear and intuitive navigation to enable potential customers to find the information they need effortlessly.
- Optimize your entire site for responsiveness, ensuring it looks and functions well on desktop and mobile devices.
- Use effective call-to-action (CTA) buttons that stand out and encourage users to take desired actions.
- Organize content in a logical and structured manner to enhance readability and comprehension.
UX and UI are key web design facets every business owner should take seriously. After all, what’s the point in building a website if visitors will leave because it is hard to navigate?
Your best bet to get things right is to hire a professional. If you want to take the cost-effective route, you might choose a builder platform that promises user-friendly, customizable templates that are already somewhat optimized for UX. That said, because builder costs add up monthly, you need to consider if this is the right option for you.
Professional web copy
Your website copy serves as the voice of your brand. To get visitors to pay attention to your brand, you need to convey your message in a way that resonates with them.
Use these tips to craft persuasive website copy that drives engagement and conversion.
- Clearly list the unique benefits and value your business offers potential customers. Highlight what sets you apart from competitors.
- Use simple and straightforward language that is easy for all visitors to understand. Avoid technical jargon or complex terminology.
- Focus on addressing customer pain points and providing solutions. Show how your products or services can meet their needs effectively.
- Write in a friendly and relatable tone. Using conversational language can make your audience feel personally connected to your brand.
- Include clear and compelling CTAs that encourage visitors to take specific actions, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase.
- To build credibility and trust, incorporate persuasive elements such as compelling headlines, customer testimonials and case studies.
- Always proofread and edit your web copy to ensure it is error-free, coherent and reflects your brand’s professionalism.
If you do not have time to master your website copy, hire a professional that will take care of it. Whether you need a copywriter or an editor, Upwork, Fiverr and other popular freelance marketplaces can help you find the talent you seek.
Note that writers with a proven track record can charge as high as $1,000 per project or more. But you can find new writers on the platform looking to build their experience who can provide excellent copy at a much cheaper rate of $100 or less. Before hiring the right person for you, ask for writing samples and be clear regarding the deliverables.
Visibility on search engines: How to make your website accessible via search engine results
Making your website accessible on search engines is another key consideration when launching your brand presence online. After all, search engines are the primary gateway through which users discover new websites and content. And appearing in the search engine results pages can help you attract organic traffic and reach a wider audience.
Here are practical tips for setting up SEO road signs that will lead web visitors straight to your virtual doorstep.
- Conduct keyword research: Identify relevant keywords and popular search terms related to your business. Then incorporate them naturally into your website’s content, titles, headings and meta tags.
- Create relevant content: Produce informative, well-written and engaging thought leadership articles that address the needs and interests of your target audience while incorporating relevant keywords.
- Optimize images: Compress images to reduce file size without compromising quality, and add descriptive alt-text to help search engines understand the context and content of your images.
- Improve page speed: Minimize the file size of web pages, leverage browser caching and choose a reliable and fast hosting provider to make your site load faster.
- Build quality backlinks: Seek opportunities to acquire backlinks from reputable and relevant websites to signal search engines your site is trustworthy and authoritative.
- Ensure mobile responsiveness: Optimize your website for mobile users because mobile-responsive websites provide a better user experience and, therefore, rank higher in search results.
Hiring an SEO expert can be very costly. Pricing can be hourly (around $50-$200/hr) or project-based (around $500-$5,000). Ultimately, the pricing depends on the expertise of your hire.
If you want to handle SEO yourself, be prepared to put in a lot of hours. Thankfully, SEO tools like Surfer SEO can help speed up this process. The basic plan (Lite) starts at $19 per month.
The WAcademy offer: Designing small business websites for free
So, an affordable web design is not only possible but also quite accessible. If you cannot yet afford to hire professional help, you might be able to build a website yourself. But what if you do not have the time or experience for that? Delegate the creation of a mobile-friendly small business website to a team of web design professionals who will do it all for free. How?
WAcademy guarantees 100% free web design services to small businesses courtesy of our virtual internship program for aspiring website designers. The model is quite simple: In exchange for the opportunity to work on real-life projects, our interns collaborate with business owners like you to create fully-functional websites under the guidance of experts.
Our expertise and effective communication help create cost-effective, custom websites tailored to your unique business needs in just 20-30 business days. In the end, you receive a fully custom, unique website ready to attract visitors.
Please note that while our web design services are free, you are responsible for hosting your website. We’ve partnered with Getspace, a trusted hosting service provider, to offer a comprehensive hosting package that fully caters to your hosting needs.
Ready to make your dreams come true? Register for 100% free professional website design today, and we will contact you soon with more information.
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