If you’re planning to build a website, one of your first questions will likely be “how much will it cost?” The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one. Website costs can vary widely depending on a number of factors. We know this can get overwhelming, so we’ve put together a list of essential tips that will help you build a cheap website without compromising on quality or functionality.
These days, secure, successful websites have a lot more than just a few web pages with words, buttons, and graphics – and they can cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars. This price includes the agency’s time designing customized web pages, writing and editing content, selecting and purchasing images, optimizing your site for search engines, and finalizing with testing – all while ensuring that the website is secure from attackers.
For small businesses, these costly website projects are often out of reach, but the good news is that even with a modest budget, you can still get a professionally-designed website by avoiding some unintentional costs. Here are some ways to go about it.
1. Use an Existing Theme
Using an existing theme rather than developing unique web pages is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your website’s cost. The design of the website’s appearance is streamlined, reducing the amount of time it takes for a web developer to design and style the site’s overall look. Thus, the cost of the entire project is reduced. Whichever website builder you are using – WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etc., you should have access to many free and paid themes built by web design companies for you to choose from.
To keep costs even lower, you can choose a free template. You can also buy a template at a nominal price from marketplaces such as ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, Template Monster, etc.
2. Build Fewer Website Pages
Reducing the number of pages on your website will reduce the time spent on selecting and adjusting images, writing copy, and populating the page. When planning your website’s structure, you should consider these three equally important goals: appealing to what your visitors are most interested in (products/services, pricing, contact info, etc.), helping search engines understand your website’s purpose, and making it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for without getting lost.
To clarify, having a lot of pages isn’t a bad thing where Google rankings are concerned, but you should keep in mind that visitors are more likely to click away from a website that seems cluttered and overwhelming. Each page should serve an individual purpose that helps achieve a common goal for your business (likely related to selling a product or service or generating interest in your company), so any page that does not directly contribute to that goal can be eliminated.
Stick to the essentials (Home, Products/Services, Blog, Contact, etc.), and then you can build out your website content gradually over time.
3. Use Existing Original Images or Free Stock Photography
Many websites use stock photography because it both looks professional and saves time, however, niche stock photography can get expensive. There are some websites that offer limited free stock photos, but there is less variety, and you may find the same free images circulating on different websites.
If possible, it is best to use your own existing company photos and then supplement them with high-quality stock photos where necessary. This adds authenticity to your website and makes your organization appear more personable to viewers. Just make sure the images are high quality, or this could have the opposite effect.
4. Outsource Writing Content to a Professional
Unless you are a content writer yourself, it is best to outsource the written content to an agency or freelancer. This will save you time, and the end result will likely be more polished than if you had attempted to write it yourself.
Website content is the most important part of your website from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, so it is important to get it right. In addition to the actual text on each page, you should also take into account titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and alt tags (which are used to describe images for visually impaired users).
Professional content writing services vary in price, so you will need to do some research to find a company that fits your budget. One way to reduce costs is to provide the writer with clear instructions and a general idea of what you want each page to say, and then allow them to come up with the specific copy.
5. Understand Your Target Audience
Before sitting down with a web design company, we recommend taking some time to understand who you want to reach with your website. Knowing your target audience is key to understanding what content needs to be included on your website and how it should be designed to attract your ideal visitors. This will also help you focus on the most important pages for your website.
When you hire a web design company (if you’re on the fence, check out our list of pros and cons), they will most likely ask about your business’s value-added benefits and what your target audience is before starting the project. By having this information ready, you can save time and money by not needing to go back and forth with revisions.
6. Avoid Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Including too many stakeholders in the web design process can cost you. More people involved equates to more opinions, and with any design project, opinions are subjective and often come down to individuals’ personal tastes. Too many opinions can create confusion and delays in getting the website up and running.
With this in mind, it is better to include only a few relevant people while planning the design and content of your website.
7. Keep it Simple
It is easy and tempting to think of different ways to show off your company’s value and achievements on your website. Every business wishes to have an abundance of content, videos, and attractive pages on its website, however, these come with additional costs and are not necessary to attract customers. Think about the websites for some of the most popular brands – they are usually clean, simple, and to the point.
Keeping your website simple can save the time and money spent on development while allowing you to effectively deliver your message to the customer. Not only that, but it also saves future costs incurred for regular website maintenance.
Summing it Up
A website is a powerful marketing and communication tool for businesses of all sizes. It builds credibility, establishes thought leadership, and drives sales and revenue. While a website can do wonders for your business, it also comes at a price.
The good news is that there are ways to build a cheap website without sacrificing quality or functionality. By understanding the factors that affect website costs, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.
What other factors do you think affect the cost of a web design project? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest website builder?
Some of the best cheap website builders include Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. These builders offer templates that make it easy to create a website without any coding experience, and they have a wide variety of designs to choose from. They typically utilize a drag-and-drop editor, which makes it easier for users to build a website without any prior experience. Additionally, they all offer free trials so you can test them out before committing to a paid plan. These builders are perfect for less complex websites, such as personal sites, small businesses, or an online store with a limited number of products. Online stores with a larger inventory may require a more robust platform such as Shopify, which starts at $29 per month.
The cheapest website builders often do not provide as much flexibility as a custom-built website, and they can be more expensive in the long run if you need to upgrade from the free plan to add more features. Additionally, you will need to buy your own domain name and hosting separately. For more information about the pros and cons of website builders like WordPress, check out our blog.
In summary, the best cheap website builder is the one that meets your specific needs and budget.
Should I choose a free domain or a custom domain?
A free domain is a website address that is provided by a site builder or hosting company at no cost. Custom domains are purchased through a registrar such as GoDaddy or Namecheap, and they usually cost around $10-15 per year.
There are pros and cons to both free and custom domains. A free domain name is usually shorter and not as memorable as custom domains, but it won’t cost you! Custom domains tend to be more expensive, but they can make your website look more professional.
Additionally, some free website builders do not allow you to use a custom domain name unless you upgrade to a paid plan. So if you want to use a custom domain, you may need to pay for website hosting separately.
Should I pay for SEO and marketing tools?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to SEO and marketing tools. If you have the budget, paying for these tools can help you save time and money in the long run. There are many free SEO and marketing tools available, so you may be able to get by without paying for anything.
Additionally, some website builders include basic search engine optimization and marketing features in their plans. For example, Wix includes a built-in SEO tool that helps you optimize your website for Google search, and Weebly has a built-in marketing center where you can create email marketing campaigns.
In general, paid tools tend to be more comprehensive and offer more features than free tools, but free tools are usually sufficient for most small businesses.
Marketing and SEO tools are beneficial for a website because they help you improve your website’s visibility and reach. Additionally, they can help you generate more leads and sales from your website.