You’ve taken the plunge and started your own company. Now what? In today’s business environment it’s essential to have certain aspects in place, or you simply won’t be able to compete with the bigger brands. Having a website is one of these requirements, since many of your clients will rate you based on whether you have one and what they find there.
Here’s your challenge: you have a lot of areas to use your limited capital on, so how will you afford a website that’s on par?
If you get innovative, there’s a lot you can do on a limited budget. We’re sharing effective ways to save money when creating your startup website. Follow these tips and your budget will cover much more than you think.
Start with an Audit on EVERYTHING
Many startups are the result of a side hustle turned full time work. If that’s you, you may have existing content, information posted on business pages or social media profiles. Work through all this information and tailor it to the image you want your new startup to have.
Luckily, there are online tools that can help you, such as BrandYourself that can tell you what’s being said about you or your brand at the moment. For example, find negative reviews and reply to them so you prove you care about your customers.
Also consider what exactly your brand should be about, so you’re ready when you need to start planning the website pages. All this work will save you money in the long run because there will be no time wasted.
Below we’ll show you how much you can do yourself. You won’t always need the latest technology to make it work, but you do need the basics, such as a modern computer. So, do an audit of your available tech resources. If you need to upgrade, no need to break your budget for this. By selling your used laptop computer you can earn a decent amount to invest in new devices that will empower you for the next steps.
Identify the DIY Tasks
You can do some of the website setup tasks yourself, limiting the amount of work you need to pay others to do. These days, with the easy online resources, you can set up your domain yourself. Even if your startup has an online store you can do most of it without paying a pro.
Your website will need content, whether it’s to discuss different products or show your expertise about the industry in a blog. You know these topics better than a copywriter, so trust yourself to compile the information instead of employing someone else. At the most you may have to pay someone to edit your text.
Also, with the multiple design tools available today, you can design everything from your logo to advertisements yourself. Use branding tools for brand identity design and materials. This is where you’ll need that quality computer to cope with the more advanced tasks and graphics. =
Outsource the Necessary
You will have to pay pros for some tasks, but here it’s not always necessary to pay the highest rates to get the best service. You can find decent web hosting services that will cater for the amount of traffic you expect, without breaking the bank. Simply take your time and do your homework, comparing client reviews, quotes and list of services you can expect.
Use What’s Already Out There
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every aspect of your website. For example, find quality website templates that are relevant to your niche, by browsing WorkPress themes and Wix’s library of options. You’ll pay less since you won’t employ a graphic designer to create something from scratch.
Get Creative Creating the Look and Content
One area to invest in is the look of your site. That’s what will often determine whether someone stays on the page or navigates away. So, if you can afford a graphic designer, it will be money well spent but remember the most expensive isn’t always the best. Rather look for a designer that’s used to your niche.
Other visual components include photographs and videos and you can save money by using stock images instead of paying a professional photographer. If you do need photographs of your products, your team or other items not available on image libraries, approach photography students. They may charge low rates if you promise to write shining reviews and refer them to your network.
List Your Preferences
Before you start creating the pages or sit down with your website designer, plan what exactly you’re after:
- The look
- Primary message you want to communicate
- What the calls to action should be
- The feelings and thoughts your pages must spark in visitors’ minds
- Features you saw on other websites and want to incorporate
- The minimum number of pages necessary to provide a comprehensive representation of your brand
Compiling this list means you won’t forget an important element and have to pay for a redesign in future. You don’t want to waste more of your marketing budget on rebranding in the near future.
Also, you’re giving a designer a clear idea so less time is wasted on the preparation phase. And even by properly planning the number of pages, you’re avoiding paying for pages you don’t really need. Lastly, this process ensures your website works from the start, benefiting your online exposure and indirectly your bottom line. This is how money saving techniques can also make you more money if done correctly.
Planning Your Content Properly
You can see how important planning is to your website and it still matters once your startup website is set up. Get into the habit of planning your website content—such as blogs and banners for promotions—ahead of time. You’ll have enough time to write or create it yourself, instead of having to pay a pro when you realize you left it too late.
Remember, your website is not the place to be too stingy, since it’s your shop front to the world. But, you can have a first grade website for your startup while keeping to your budget and even saving money so you can invest more in another department.
Last tip: instead of paying for pricey testing via your website designers or a marketing company, ask your team, family and friends for their honest, anonymous feedback on your website. You’ll quickly gauge whether it’s a hit or a miss.
Now, get planning and show them who’s best.
Chris Walker is a freelance ghost writer who works with small business brands by providing them quality articles and blog posts.