7 Tips for Small Businesses Building a Website on a Budget

tips small businesses building a website on a budget web design

Websites aren't magic. Launching a site won't automatically equal success any more than buying a storefront will make you a millionaire.

Making the right type of investment when building a website is what drives sales for business owners. 

Time, not money, is your best resource when creating a website that's both professional and profitable. Here are 7 tips for building a website on a budget. 

1. Register for the Long Term

Ready to secure a domain name for your website? Claim the name for multiple years at a time to get a discount. 

The more years you pay for upfront, the larger the amount of your discount. This multi-year purchase also lowers the chance of your website domain expiring and being bought by competitors.

Check with your hosting service versus a third-party hosting service to learn which company offers the best rates and the longest renewal term. 

2. Building a Website from a Template

Not everyone needs a robust website to represent their products and services. Building a website is about being an online resource for your customers which could just mean answering frequently asked questions.

Create professional-looking web pages using a design template. 

When you launch a digital marketing campaign using an agency like Sprout Media Lab, your ads need a credible destination. Design templates for websites range from landing pages to blog posts.

Most design templates give you control over the font style and colors used in the template to ensure it matches your brand style. Choose a drag and drop template style to make website updates quick and easy. 

3. Choose an Inexpensive Hosting Service

Every website needs a host in order to be visible online. Think of your hosting service as the real estate for your new online storefront.

A good hosting service provides quick plugins to help you optimize and design your site. This shouldn't be difficult to find with the growing number of web hosting services available.

Compare at least three web hosting services before making a commitment to make sure you're getting the best value for your money. If you're building a simple site, you can skip upgrades like HD video hosting or e-commerce features. 

4. Use Your Own Photos

One cost that can quickly add up when building a website is the cost of stock photography. Depending on the number of pages on your website, stock photos can mean hundreds of dollars per page. 

Opt to take your own product photos instead. You can also use a license-free photo service like Unsplash or Freepik for background images. These online communities provide free media assets in exchange for credit for the photographer/creator. 

5. Shoot Videos In-House

Like stock photos, stock video footage can quickly add up. Shoot your own customer testimonial videos and post them online to boost your site's rankings. 

Videos are an important selling tool for most websites. They give visitors a reason to linger on your site and engage with your products. Pages with more engagement are more likely to appear in top Google search results. 

You don't need professionally produced videos to make an impact with your customers. As long as you're providing valuable information that helps them make better buying decisions, you're winning.

Use frequent customer questions as a source of inspiration for video content on a blog or product page. Remember, personality upgrades your video content far more than production value.

Choose an employee with a great camera presence if you're too much of an introvert to appear in your business videos. 

6. Reduce Your Page Count

If you're working with a web designer, reduce the number of pages on your website to lower the cost. Web designers commonly charge by the hour or the number of pages. 

Reduce the time needed to complete your site by consolidating information. Consider replacing text with videos to help limit the amount of content on each page.

Eliminate pages like 'Contact Us' that can be combined with your 'Home' or 'About Us' pages. Consider deleting any pages that don't include an option for engagement for visitors. 

You want visitors to watch, comment, purchase, message, or call your business on each page they experience on your website. 

7. Choose a Static Website

Dynamic websites are impressive. Website designers create a custom CMS for you to make updates to your interactive site using a backend tool created just for you. 

But these interactive, dynamic sites are expensive to create and often slow to load. A static website can provide the same benefits as a dynamic site for a fraction of the cost. 

The load time of static websites means grabbing the attention of visitors faster leading to lower bounce rates. A bounce happens when a visitor lands on a page of your site and quickly leaves without visiting any other pages on your website.

A high bounce rate is a red flag for search engines because it suggests that the keywords associated with your site are incorrect or that pages are low quality. Either way, you don't want to lose a high search ranking with pages that don't increase customer engagement.

Until you can invest in top-notch SEO and web design services for a dynamic site, it's a good idea to stick to the basics to make sure your website is profitable. 

Should I Invest in Web Design?

With so many do-it-yourself website tools available, it might seem unnecessary to hire professionals at all. But building a website is more than just setting up a storefront. 

You want a comprehensive digital marketing campaign that lures a steady stream of visitors to your online store or business site. And yes, if done correctly, web design for your site can be done on a shoestring budget.

Digital marketing professionals have the expertise to help you choose the right online image that will separate you from the competitors. Get the process started with a budget-friendly website so you can build your online presence organically until you're ready to invest.

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