One of the biggest challenges a lot of small business owners face is how to build a great website while only having a tiny budget. The good news is that you can get a good website built for a small amount; however, in order to do that, you need to be clear on exactly what you need and what you can do without. This can become a lot harder if you do not know the benefits and drawbacks of each option that is open to you.
If you are selling a product or service, your website should be targeted towards achieving one goal per page. And as a business owner, you should know exactly how that goal benefits you in terms of getting more sales or leads. Then, evaluating the following alternatives can be a lot easier:
Set up a template landing page
If you just have an idea you want to test in order to see if there is a market for it, then using a template service like Unbounce, or Leadpages can help you put up a very simple landing page in a matter of hours. If you want to create a full sales funnel, then Clickfunnels can be worth considering. This can be a particularly good solution for entrepreneurs who want to test their ideas before committing to a larger budget.
The drawback to these services is that they charge more per month for have the landing pages up than if you just paid for “normal” website hosting. Also, the more you use the service, the more time it will take you to move projects over to less expensive long-term alternatives. Therefore, this could be a good alternative for short-term projects like time-sensitive advertising campaigns on small budgets.
Build a template website
If you need a bit more of an online presence than just one page, then setting up a site with a template-platform service like Wix can allow you to set up a free website. For a lot of small business owners this can be ideal because their initial needs are not to take over the world, it is just to have an online “business card” to show people.
On the downside, you have to make sure the template you are using is fully mobile responsive. If not, you will lose a lot of mobile inquiries. Also, if you plan to spend thousands of dollars a month on traffic, you might find yourself frustrated by technical limitations. Secondly, it might cost you sales because you can not make the necessary conversion adjustments as you get more traffic. This is a big problem with eCommerce platforms where a lot of sales can be lost because the checkouts can not be adjusted.
Build a custom website
If you have a twelve-month plan with an adequate traffic budget, then building a custom website might be a good investment. This will allow you to fully create your website the way you want it, with a lot fewer limitations than most template platforms. This can allow you to put in all the functionality you need which again can maximize the return on your traffic budget.
However, if you try to build a custom website, you might run into two problem; few designers focus on optimizing sales, and those who do, cost accordingly. So you need to educate yourself on how to create sales-driven websites by reading blogs like conversionxl, and then sketching exactly what you need by using software like balsamiq. This can make it a lot easier for you to give direction to designers so they build what you want.
If you are planning on creating a website, be very clear on what you need. If you are just starting out and want to test a concept, then just using a template landing page solution like Unbounce will do. If you just want an online presence, then consider using a service like Wix, where you can easily set up a simple website. However, if you have a large traffic budget laid out over the next year, building a custom website might be the most economical solution.