Advice for small businesses on building a website on a shoestring

All new businesses have one thing in common – tight purse strings. The thought of coughing up for professionals to set up the various aspects of an online business, from SEO advisor and marketing expert to accountant and website-builder, causes understandable worry.

This need not be the case. The web is chock-a-block full of free platforms and networks that cost nothing to use or maintain and can give small businesses the edge, right from the start.

LinkedIn is key to new businesses for its networking possibilities; Mailchimp provides an email platform with excellent design and tracking capabilities; and WooRank tells you how your website is communicating with search engines so you can improve your SEO. These ‘freemium’ services, where the product or service is provided free of charge, but an affordable premium is charged for advanced features, are a gift to budding business owners who only 20 years ago would have paid thousands of pounds for these types of services.

The same applies to website building which is the first major undertaking for most new businesses.

Every savvy business person knows the value of a good website, but most new business owners perceive web design as complex, technical and time consuming and so will usually take the decision to outsource this task. But it’s not always necessary to throw thousands of pounds at a professional web designer. Freemium services, like Wix, enable businesses to create their professional and dream website on a shoestring.

Here’s how you can retain complete ownership of your company’s web building process so you end up with a beautiful website with a minimal amount of hassle, as well as saving yourself lots of money and time.

Planning your website

Firstly, it’s important to think about what your website represents – is your brand fun, colourful, minimalistic? Spend time understanding who your brand is, how it speaks and what experience you would like visitors to have when using your site – this will help you choose and build the perfect look and feel for your site.

Then look into the different freemium website building platforms out there, of which Wix is one. This means your website is free to build and can look beautiful with the help of ready-made templates, which can easily be customised by someone who doesn’t have any design or coding skills. Whether you’re a consultant or a hairdresser you can choose from the hundreds of HTML5 customisable designs. The benefit of freemium model platforms is that you only pay for what you need.

What’s more, you’re not restricted to basic website building. There’s also the option to integrate apps that will boost your business’ marketing and social functionalities. Adding music, videos, contact forms, traffic generating apps, blogs, live chat and other business building apps can take your website to the next level of customisation and professionalism.

Starting up your business does not have to be a daunting prospect. Utilise the free tools that the web has to offer and when it comes to creating your online presence this is no different. Reflect on who your brand is, what feeling you’d like it to convey, how your website should function and then research into a freemium web publishing platform and create your dream website within your budget.

More on website building 

How can I promote my small business website? – We answer 5 common questions on how to grow and market your small business website, from understanding SEO to advertising on social media

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