I’m writing this post in response to some requests I had over on a FB group – a poster was worried that she didn’t have the budget for an all singing all dancing website, but was now in the position of having no website at all and didn’t know what to do next.
If you haven’t got budget for a big ticket item at the start of your business launch journey, then you haven’t got it, and no amount of manifesting or procrastinating is going to change that. Your website is NOT something you should be putting on the credit card. Back in the day, if you wanted a decent site you definitely had to hand over the big bucks but these days there are several really accessible options available to you and I want to go through some of my tips for doing it alone.
Even if you haven’t got a huge amount of money, you CAN have a fantastic website up and running 48 hours from now.
(Note – I am leaving Self Hosted WordPress out of this guide intentionally, because there is such a learning curve – this guide is for those of you who want to do it yourself quickly and easily.)
Business Websites That Don’t Need Ecommerce To Be Front And Centre
You have lots of options for this, at a range of prices. You will need to make a small monthly commitment if you want a good website that doesn’t require development skills – this can be as little as the entry-level fees charged by Squarespace or a little more, like Showit’s fees. As a startup, you have to be very careful about what monthly costs you commit to, but a website is something that you can only skimp on so far, and the platforms I suggest here all offer a LOT of value.
With Squarespace you can be up and running by the end of today. Sign up for the free trial, choose one of their templates, drop in your own words and pictures, and you’re live. When you are feeling a bit more sure of yourself you can edit the content blocks – add more, switch things up and even upgrade your plan to include more of their features.
ShowIt is a little more spendy than Squarespace, but you also get the robust core of WordPress and outstanding WP Engine hosting. It’s a little more premium, but comes HIGHLY recommended by designers and business owners.
Although the monthly fees are in line with Squarespace, ShowIt also works with designers to offer really stunning premium themes you can apply to your new website. With gorgeous designs like this one for $300 they’re a great compromise between DIY and paying a professional designer.
Do you need to get your shop up and selling right away? Then your go to solution could be Shopify. Like any other product online, from your bank account to Etsy, there’s a learning curve, but you’ve got this.
Shopify has monthly fees which start at $29 a month, which is a steal for what they offer.
When you sign up for a free trial, you can pick a template for your site – these can be free or cost a couple of hundred dollars and they’re really good value.
You will need a logo (saved with a transparent background and a file name that ends in .png – if you haven’t got one, try Fiverr) and some product photography. Look on Pinterest to see what’s cool right now, get out your iphone and take a while to study this guide on DIY product photography from Etsy.
Use Photoshop Express (download it to your phone) to edit your images for free.
Payments can be taken through Paypal, or if you have a business bank account you can get set up on Stripe.com to take credit card payments. This is better for you in the long term as the fees are MUCH lower than Paypal.
Okay, so I keep mentioning photography, and it can’t be avoided – imagery is what sets a great website apart.
If your product is YOU then you need to get some great photographs of yourself for your site. You can do this yourself if you have a decent camera or a reasonably new phone, as the newest phones have incredible photography capacities.
Also have a look on Creative Market where you will find a lot of incredible bundles of stock photography at really good rates. Your only challenge will be whittling down your selection!
When you insert photos into your website you MUST MUST MUST make sure that they are not too large. Max width 1200px and max file size 300kb please! You can manage this on Photoshop Express or Gimp. Oversized photos will make your site slow to load. HOWEVER, Squarespace will automatically resize your images, which is good news.