Having a website is part of doing business



Potential clients and customers do research before purchasing goods and services. They read articles, talk to friends and colleagues, review Google search results, and visit the company websites. Having a website is part of doing business. But, you’re a startup. You have lots of work that needs to be done. The stress only intensifies if you are a one-person business and are responsible for everything, AND on a shoestring budget. You may have limited funds, but you can still have a presence online, including a website.

If you truly have $0 to dedicate to a website, you can use social media in place of a website, temporarily. Before jumping in, take time to think about your potential customers/clients and which social media channels they use. Wherever your customers/clients are, that is where you need to be. Choose one or two, and then do it, and do it well. It’s better to do one or two well than to do a bad job at trying to handle several.

Once you have an actual website budget, you can embark on creating a website for your business.

Building a website is easy, if you know what you’re doing. If not, building a website can be a nightmare. Here are key points to keep in mind to make the most of your budget:

  • Purchase a domain name. The name should make sense for your business, and should be as short as you can make it. This is something you can do yourself.
  • Wait to purchase hosting. The company where you purchased your domain name may sell hosting services, but don’t feel pressured to purchase. Just because a hosting company is cheap, it doesn’t mean that they are good.
  • Plan. Take time to think about what you need. Maybe all you need is a basic site with a few pages. Or, if you are selling a product, you may need an e-commerce site to enable you to sell your product online. Look around at different websites (including competitor sites) and makes notes about what you like and don’t like.
  • Work with a professional. Please work with someone who knows what they are doing and who can deliver a well-designed site that can help you meet your business (and sales) goals. You need a website that is easy to navigate, easy to read, and contains all needed elements.
  • Start small. Do a site with a few pages (a smaller site costs less to build), and add more pages as your business grows. Maybe all you need right now are a few pages: a product or services page to talk about what you are selling, an about us page (to talk about you and your business), and a contact page. Do you really need a custom website, or can your designer customize a template instead?
  • Ask for an open source content management system. An open source system will allow you to take control of your site and do many of your own updates.
  • Create meaningful content. Think about what you need. You may have much of what you need. Take a look at anything you have written for your company (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, etc.). It might be a matter of editing and re-formatting for the web. No one knows your business better than you do, and creating some of your own content will help you to keep control of your budget.

Take the process one step at a time, and you will get there.


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