Your business website has to do a lot of work. It’s a principal means through which you’ll communicate your brand identity and how people will encounter your business. It’s your shop window, and increasingly the means by which people will expect to find you and learn more about your products and services.
It has to make a positive first impression so it’s important to get it right. While it may be tempting to cut corners and try to keep costs down, particularly if you’re in the early stages of setting up your business, it’s not always the smartest choice.
Not only can a poor quality website inhibit your business growth, it can ultimately endanger its future viability. From DIY websites with cheap or free hosting, to generic template websites, there’s plenty of ways you can cut costs but with variable results.
Can I create my own website for free?
It is possible to create your own website for next to nothing and if you’re on a budget it may be tempting. The thought of getting a website up and running with very little outlay may seem to make sense, particularly if you’re attempting to manage your cashflow and balance the books.
Today, just about anyone can create a free website regardless of their available tech skills, coding knowledge or web design experience. There are plenty of tools available to help you do just that, and in some cases the overall results can be quite effective. If you’re looking for a very basic website with minimal features, perhaps serving as little more than an online business card, then it’s possible you might be able to create something adequate. For most businesses, however, that’s unlikely to be enough.
Free and DIY websites can be slow
If you opt to create your own website and then take advantage of free hosting your website is likely to be incredibly slow. Most free website providers put hundreds of free websites on a single server making for a very poor user experience.
They can also impact on your SEO. Search engine algorithms now take into consideration the speed at which websites load meaning that a DIY website with free hosting will be at the back of the queue no matter how relevant the content.
Free hosting web addresses look unprofessional
If your website doesn’t have a proper domain name then it won’t look professional. Free hosting web addresses will usually include the name of the company who are hosting your website and tend to be long and unwieldy. You may also find that your free hosted website features adverts from other businesses.
While in the early days of widespread internet use free hosting and DIY websites were common for businesses, they’re now likely to make your business stand out for all the wrong reasons. Add to that the ever present risk of your website suddenly disappearing due to the free website company going out of business and it’s clear the very cheap route to a business website should be avoided.
Are generic template style websites worthwhile?
The next step up from the DIY and free hosting websites are website design packages that include hosting and basic design services. These are sold aggressively to small and medium sized businesses and the business owner can choose between a variety of different design templates. You will then usually fill in a basic questionnaire about what you would like the website to include.
This will enable the web design and hosting company to create a basic website for your business. They can seem like a quick, flat-rate fix if you’re in the early stages of running your business or want to give your online presence a fast affordable makeover.
While these may seem like good value in reality they are created in vast numbers with little attention to detail and individuality. While the final product will usually be of a uniform standard it will be unlikely to make your business stand out, nor will it be a vehicle for growth.
Working with a website designer
If you decide to opt to work with a website designer you will again face a choice regarding costs. Website design companies can be single freelancers to multiple specialist teams with prices that reflect a wide range of outcomes. Some companies and freelancers will offer a bespoke website design service that seems considerably cheaper than some of the alternatives. It’s worth checking, however, just how bespoke what they’re offering really is.
Some companies offer a template based approach with a little more room for personalisation than you might find from one of the companies offering a flat-rate design package. Again, these websites may be an improvement on the DIY or flat-rate design package approach but they won’t provide you with a truly individual website that’s built to meet your exact requirements.
The cost of basic web design may range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand. Make sure you’re clear about what any price includes and take a look at the designer’s portfolio of completed work. Does their previous work meet the standard which you’d expect?
What does it cost to host a website?
It can cost anything from a few pounds a month to host a website up to several hundred depending on the size and complexity of the site. You can usually save money by paying for a few years hosting subscriptions upfront.
Although cheap web design might look tempting it rarely results in the kind of results that deliver real benefits for your business. In some instances it might even be a hindrance.
The experienced team at Dawn Creative can create a bespoke website design that makes a real impact. Don’t settle for a generic online presence when we can make your brand really stand out.
Contact us today to find out more about what we offer and how we work.