Build a Website on a Budget: Your Guide to Low Cost Website Design

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In the not too distant past, creating a website was a huge investment of money.

It was a task reserved for web developers and businesses who could afford to hire them.

Thankfully, those days are well and truly behind us. Low cost website design is now available to anyone with an internet connection and a bit of time up their sleeve (which, at the moment, is most of us).

So, here is your guide to creating an affordable website, whether you have a budget or not.


Choose Your Web Hosting

The first thing you will need to do for your low cost website design project is decide who is going to host your website.

Hosting means that all of the files that make up your website are looked after in one place. If you are building your website with WordPress then you should look for companies that offer WordPress hosting.

Every website on the internet is hosted by one of many hosting companies. In a nutshell, you can choose to have all of your hosting needs taken care of by using a website builder, or you can build a site from scratch and choose your own hosting.


Website Builders

By far the cheapest and easiest option is to use a website builder. Using a website builder, you can set up a site for free in less than an hour. 

The catch here is that your web design will be limited to the templates available from your website builder. You will also have to include the host's name in your domain. So if you choose the Wix free website builder your domain name will be username.wixsite.com/siteaddress.

The benefit is that all of your security, coding, and design will be taken care of for you. You can choose to upgrade to a premium service and have your own domain connected to your site and access a range of customizing features. 

Here is a rundown of the most popular website builders.


WordPress

Wordpress is by far the most popular website platform on the internet running 35% of websites.

Wordpress.com is different from wordpress.org. The .com platform is a website builder hosted by Wordpress that allows you to build a website from one of their templates.

You can get this up and running in a day. Wordpress is so diverse that it will work for any kind of website you need. There are also countless tutorials and plugins for WordPress sites to help optimize or customize your website and blog content.


Wix

The best thing about Wix is how intuitive it is to use. It has a huge collection of tools and plugins if you upgrade to a premium service. You can choose to create a website from a blank page or use one of their templates. 

It's also great because the site editor looks the same as the front end of your website, so it's easy to see what your new edits look like straight away. 

The only downfall with Wix is its blog.

Wix recently launched a new app to encourage community building around its websites. For some reason, Wix decided that to comment on the Wix blog readers would need to sign up for the new platform and create an account.

Basically, this means that nobody is going to comment on your blog unless perhaps you are already incredibly well known. This will sink your engagement and SEO which is a major bummer. 

If your site is going to be all about your blog, go with one of the other options. Although there are some bloggers that don't even bother with a comments section and prefer comments on social media, so it's not necessarily a make or break consideration. You will have to weigh the pros and cons and determine the goals of your low cost website design project.


Weebly

Weebly has more of a focus on e-commerce. It also has a little more built-in structure than Wix, which can be helpful or restricting depending on how confident your UX skills are.

The competition between Wix and Weebly is fierce but you can try them both out for free to see which one suits your needs best. 


Squarespace

Squarespace websites start at just $12 a month. So there isn't a totally free option, though they do have a free trial. The personal plan comes with one year of free domain registration connected to your site, so that right there is a money saving option for your business website.

Squarespace has a particular focus on creative artists like designers and photographers so if this is your niche you should check Squarespace out.


Choose Your Own Hosting

If you're on a budget, chances are that sourcing your own hosting isn't the best option for you. You'll need to purchase a domain plus pay for hosting which adds up to be about $250 per year on average. 

This is an idea best kept in the back of your mind for when you're ready to take the next step into web design and need loads of customization and flashy features on your site. 


Low Cost Website Design Tips

The best place to start with designing any website is to figure out exactly what you need your site to do. Website templates come with pages already created and filling them all with content will cost you time and money.

You can add extra pages down the track. To start with, focus on doing the essentials well. If you can get your head around these skills you won't need to pay anyone to create content for you.


Do a Short Course in Content Writing

There are loads of free online resources you can tap into to learn how to write for the web. Becoming a better writer will mean you can write your own blog content at first. It will also help you appear more professional in your work life.


Learn to Edit Stock Content

There are also a number of websites that provide licensed stock videos and images. This makes it super easy to create professional-looking visual content for your site. 

It's not a great idea to use raw stock footage on your website. Luckily iPhone's come with a built-in image editor that you can use to make these free images your own.


Learn Digital Marketing Fundamentals

Here's a trick to grow your digital marketing and web design knowledge.

Every single digital marker is giving away a free digital marketing course to entice you to sign up for their mailing list. It's a great strategy, it also means there are free marketing tips galore for you to learn from.

Marketing fundamentals will help you create a website your viewers will get the most out of. The other significant benefit of this is that you can use these skills to get your site to one day pay for itself.

A fantastic resource for all digital skills is LinkedIn Learning. If you can afford $29.99 a month you will have access to tutorials for any digital skill imaginable. 


The World of Websites Awaits

In modern times, not only is low cost website design available, but it's also a highly competitive industry.

This means that there are plenty of web design tools that cut out the tech jargon and hefty price tag that once stood between an idea and a great website. Web design for the majority of companies is now a commodity and you are the beneficiary.

The best approach for low cost website design is to have a plan but not to overthink the details. Get started with frugal web design and learn as you go while staying on budget.

Our company blog is full of bootstrap website tips to get you into online business on a budget, so feel free to have a look around! Visit the Web Dev and SEO sections of the Bootstrap Business Blog to learn more about web design and website optimization.

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