How to Build a Cheap (or Free) Website

A quick Google search for free website design will yield many results -- some better than others -- so why would a web design company want to write an article about getting a site online for next to nothing? Because depending on the small business involved, some of those options may actually be worth exploring; but first you'll need to take a look at what's involved and see if a free or low cost website would fit the needs and goals of your business.

How Would You Use a Website?

The answer to this question depends largely on what industry you're in and what the level of competition is in that industry. Think in terms of what a visitor would be looking for if they were to find your website. Would your customer benefit from being able to find certain information on your site or do you simply need a way for them to contact you via phone or email? How dependent will you be on Google and the other search engines -- would you be referring people to the site or would you expect them to find you? Do you need your site to be easily updated with news and other company information?

Explore the Options

After defining a few key parameters it's time to look at what's available to actually get a website online. Domain names, hosting packages, and site design and development all affect the cost of the project, so let's look at them individually:

1. Domain name. If you want "yourcompany.com" you'll have to pay for it one way or another, and there's really no way around that. If you're just setting up a simple blog then you can always go with the free "yourcompany.blogger.com" address but if professionalism is a goal then you're not going to achieve it that way. A domain name is a good investment to improve your company brand.

2. Design and Development This is where you really want to evaluate your needs, because this is where you decide between a cheap website and a custom option. If you want a simple blog-style website you can get started very easily using the free Blogger (owned by Google) service. I stress the word simple because your customization options are rather limited and your blog will likely end up looking like every other blog.

If you're interested in a bit more control and customization there's always WordPress. WordPress allows you to download and install themes to spruce up your blog, include your own images and company logo, company colors, etc. Unless you are alright with a "yourcompany.wordpress.com" domain name, you'll need to purchase a hosting package that supports WordPress -- don't worry, most of them do.

The next option is to roll your own site. This requires some knowledge of HTML and the associated languages and graphics techniques necessary to put together something that will effectively represent your company, and is outside of the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that with free "what you see is what you get" web publishing software you can build a static site that, depending on your needs, may fit the bill.

Hiring a designer/developer is obviously the most expensive route, and there is a reason for that -- you're getting a custom designed website that is built to match your needs and which will grow with your company.

3. Site Hosting There are many options in this arena but like domain names, hosting packages have come down in price dramatically. The best hosting solution for your website will depend largely on what development method you've selected -- as an example, if you're building a WordPress site you'll need to make sure that your website host supports WordPress -- but fortunately many website hosts cover all bases and they can typically handle any requests.

Understand the Needs of Your Business

Above all, the most important step in the process is to get a clear picture of what you hope to achieve with a new website. Whether you're looking for a simple place to post articles and contact information or a full-featured multimedia experience, make sure you understand what's involved to get your project to that finish line.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
6 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Questions?

Do you have a question about something you saw here in our blog? Are you interested in a custom website for your business? If so, please contact us here.