I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about what to do when you’re in need of a website, but simply have no budget for it. In addition, in the past I have often dealt with inquiries where people may be looking for websites and simply do not have the budget to do so.
I am a firm believer that pricing and quality are closely connected. It’s important to invest in yourself and your business. A good website IS GOING TO COST YOU, and not just a couple hundred dollars. If you aren’t prepared to spend upwards of $1000, here are a few tips to get you started.
First things first, purchase a domain name for your business. This is a cheap way to start the process. You don’t want to have your website domain ending in .wordpress or .blogspot. For me, it simply screams, “this website is not important to me and I just needed to throw something together”. Get an actual domain name. You can find these available at GoDaddy for 99 cents, so there’s no excuse.
I am NOT a fan of DIY, however sometimes this deems to be the best solution for a beginner’s website, so let’s dive right on into it.
My top recommendations for building your first website would be to start out with Shopify or Squarespace. You can easily create a good looking website with either of these platforms and you can link your domain name with both of these.
If you are looking to create a platform for shopping I would choose Shopify. Personally, Shopify is great because it is easy to follow and track orders along with the flexibility of design. You get several good looking templates to choose from that are easy to customize and maintain. Starting out Shopify is going to charge you a monthly fee based on the amount of products you are selling. There is pretty much no platform out there that is going to be totally free, so you just have to suck it up and pay the monthly charge. Look at it like this, $20 a month is likely 2 sells or less. So, if you can sell 2 products, this covers the cost of your website to be live so that you can make money. Not much right? RIGHT 🙂
For a personal website and/or portfolio, I love Squarespace! Squarespace has great functionality, easy to maintain and you can create a beautiful user friendly website. Designing on Squarespace is exactly like it sounds, you use squares to set up your website exactly how you want it. You start off by choosing a template and you can customize that template through the use of square shaped elements. It won’t be free monthly, but considering you will be using the website to advertise for your business and to get bookings, at less than $20 a month it will pay for itself. You can also link your personal domain name here are well.
Okay so, back to the domain name thing really quick: both of these websites offer the option to purchase your domain name with them. You can go this route, however it will be more expensive. The reason it is more expensive is because of the convenience. You will likely have to know a little bit about web or be able to follow directions really well if you go through a 3rd party to purchase and link your domain with Squarespace and Shopify. It’s really easy, but sometimes not everyone wants to take the extra time to figure it all out so you’ll just spend a couple extra dollars.
Last but not least, when creating your own website, there is no need to play designer. Keep things simple, crisp and clean. As soon as your budget allows, look into getting a designer to get some proper design and maybe a few more elements added to your website that were on your wish list. As stated before cost and quality are closely intertwined so don’t go cheap so that you don’t waste your money. It is better to wait and save, so that the end result is more beneficial.
I hope this helps for some out there looking to start your business and get your first website up and running. Feel free to ask any questions below as I know the process of it all can be strenuous but don’t worry girl you got this!