A business is both a great responsibility and a headache: reports, checks, salaries… Everything requires money. That’s why, when the question arises of how to create a website step by step, many entrepreneurs decide to leave it for later. But we are not going to talk here about the causes and consequences; instead, we will tackle only the technical aspect of the matter: how to save money during the process and conduct it well at the same time.
Business owners do not come to the idea that they need to have their own web resource immediately (unless they work in IT or have a solid experience in promoting products or services on the web). It all starts with customer questions: “How can we find it online?”, “Do you have a website?” Therefore, business websites often go through many stages, from designing a business card to launching a complete online store with a connected CRM system and full control of all advertising channels.
The main problem of how to set up a website is the limited budget. The fact is, micro- and small businesses are highly dependent on sales volume, while quality, custom-designed internet sites can cost from hundreds of thousands to several million dollars. However, without creating a website, you cannot even start working. A website, among other functions, supports awareness and is an additional channel to attract customers, share contacts, and describe your services and products.
So what options do small businesses have?
- Platforms and aggregators. You could invest the planned budget in the purchase of subscription services, which are supposed to be somewhat more efficient, but after all, their basic functionality is very poor. On the other hand, such paid services are very expensive, yet this type of advertising is still not connected with the harsh reality. Just think about it: do you know of many successful companies that have conducted business in such spaces? In fact, very few have succeeded.
- Buy an already created website. It’s another unlikely and suspicious scenario, starting with the fact that a normal business wouldn’t sell its website and finishing with a bunch of technical nuances that the new owner simply won’t be able to understand without the necessary expertise.
- Outsource the creation of a website. It is very promising if done correctly and is only possible with a sufficient budget. For this reason, 90% of the time, micro-enterprises and start-ups disappear, as they cannot afford it.
- Creating your own website from scratch. It is already closer to reality, but you have to be prepared to dive into a lot of technical details on how to create a website, from hosting to integrating the necessary services. The required budget for this task will already be more or less reasonable, but even so, the initial investments can reach serious figures. Therefore, launching such a site must be approached very responsibly.
- Creating your own site with an online website builder. It is ideal in terms of the expenses and the initial time investment. You can even do it without the participation of technical specialists. This option has some cons, such as the difficulty of migrating to out-of-the-box platforms if the business model requires it in the future.
We are deliberately not focusing on what a business website is. Large companies do not ask themselves this question, and novice entrepreneurs can only afford small but effective projects: business card sites, landing pages, presentations, online catalogs of products or services, etc. However, it is still worth keeping the ability to grow your resource on a larger scale.
Mistakes When Creating a Commercial Website
Mistake 1: Spending Too Much Money, Time, and Effort on Development and Launch
It’s great to get a page from a specialist studio when you have a lot of time and available funds, but who actually has these resources? Only large companies with stable funding do. Small and even medium-sized organizations cannot afford large expenses. Working with freelancers is cheaper, but no one can vouch for their responsibility and execution, and most importantly, for the quality of the result.
Another option is to consider independent work, as you can and need to start online on your own. Making a website and even an online store is easy if you use a designer tool, the services it provides, and the templates. In this case, you can calculate the costs in a few minutes.
The site is a tool to earn money. Create it yourself with the website builder, and the costs will pay off quickly.
Mistake 2: Not Investing in Website Creation at All
When beginners decide to make a site on their own, they often succumb to the temptation to use everything for free, such as registering a third-level domain, finding unreliable hosting, and using a primitive builder tool with a standard template. As a result, you save a lot of money but waste energy.
The tool must be of high quality. When it comes to creating beginner sites, the site designer platform should offer most of the features, from domain registration to support of the mobile version.
Mistake 3: Relying Only on Strengths
Studying hundreds of articles on page building rules is not enough to embark on a solo journey, as you are still likely to make many mistakes.
But wait, how do you make a web page step by step? Choose designer tools that already take into account the basic principles of website building in mind. In this case, it is not necessary to learn the usability rules and understand the code. For example, the contacts should be in a visible place. Always. There are site builders that don’t allow you to remove this block from the top of the site, so you won’t even be able to forget it accidentally.
What if you have confidence in yourself and know exactly why you need to make a change? The solution is to write to technical support. Experts will help you add the desired module on the site. And if there is no such certainty, just follow the advice on where and how to place the items to avoid making a mistake.
Mistake 4: Trusting Your Taste
Let’s add a touch of honesty. Who has not seen a website made in such a way that when opening a page, your only wish is to close it as soon as possible? Curved letters, 300 titles, texts that shine with all the colors of the rainbow, and smiling faces in the background. Sometimes it is worth admitting that the artistic taste is bad in order to not apply such creative ideas.
For such cases, it is better to use templates created under the guidance of designers. Experts understand that a road transport website does not need roses and that hairdressers must display hairstyles, not sequins, on the entire screen.
Mistake 5: Forgetting About Promotion at the Site Creation Stage
“I’ll build a site first, then I’ll think about SEO” is a typical mistake. For a website to be profitable, users and search engines must be able to find it. However, if you create a website with raw SEO terms on the web, the search engines will index it with all the errors. Besides, it will contain non-original texts and stock photos.
Therefore, the preparation of the SEO parameters should be verified before connecting the site to the internet so that the process is not too complicated afterward. A good example of SEO validation is the promotion tool. The site is fully tested for launch, and the tool is built in, which means you don’t even have to log out of admin to use it.
It is recommended to improve anything that can be. It is not necessary to look for defects since the service itself will find them. Once the readiness indicator is in the green area, start working online.
Mistake 6: Making a Page on a Social Network Instead of a Website
This solution seems very simple because everything is already invented, and you just need to throw a few photos in the album, specify the contacts, and go ahead — you can work.
In reality, it is not like that. The social network is a good complementary tool for supporting business information but is only an extra platform and cannot be completely relied upon. First of all, you lose the audience that is not registered on a particular network. Secondly, you cannot present your business properly. A page on a social network seems standard for talking about a person, not about the job or business, and certainly not about the product. Thirdly, the group or social network account does not belong to you completely: it depends on the policy of your administration. In addition, on social network sites, there is not much flexibility in terms of content creation. But on a website, you can sooner or later upload videos of any length — edited, for example, with iMovie if talking about macOS or Windows Movie Maker if you have Windows; you can also choose an option that works on both systems, such as Movavi Video Converter, in addition to the photos and news about the company.
Which Platform to Choose for Business Websites
If everything is more or less clear with the options of sites, the next important point is to understand which tools to use. It’s not the first time we’ve studied the CMS market and online builders, so we have a good idea of the technical challenges and the possible outcomes. Here are our top 5 most effective tools for creating small business websites.
uKit is the simplest and easiest to understand online website builder for beginners. The developers are an experienced team that’s known for their great uCoz project. In fact, uKit’s positioning is of a website builder platform for small businesses.
Its remarkable features are the availability of full technical support and high-quality technical documentation for all occasions, although you can work with this designer platform without any instructions. There are enough ready-made templates, changing color palettes, and all the necessary business tools (chats, ready-to-ship integrations, CRM, etc.).
The main menu is divided into intuitive sections. Your domain can be purchased directly from the personal account, and the link will be generated automatically. If an important event occurs on the site, for example, the customer completes a request, you will receive an SMS notification (it will be free or, to be precise, included in the payment plan).
The platform can automatically check your website for readiness, create an interface option and copy the content of your pages to popular social networks (so far, only Vkontakte and Facebook are supported). There is a built-in statistics system and integration with the most requested external services (amoCRM, BoardCRM, SendPulse, Ecwid, etc.). Backups are created automatically, there are tailored payment plan options, and you can even embed your HTML code on the pages. Disk space and traffic are not limited.
Prices and Costs
The minimum fee is $2.5/month, but the name of the platform will be displayed at the bottom of the site. It’s best to start out with the Basic rate ($5/month), as you can later disable the builder and get the advanced stats functionality. The most expensive rate, called Pro, is $7.5/month. Online store capabilities are available when you choose to pay from $6/month.
There is no free plan, but there is a 14-day trial period and a money-back guarantee.
The simple interface and minimal configuration have a downside. For some, this will seem insufficient for the work of a large project. The list of integration opportunities with external services is small, its templates cannot be used, and the selection of those ready to use is limited. A number of services are also offered at an additional cost (online calculators for the site, graphics development, personal assistance, etc.).
Wix is a great project with a global reach, as well as an online builder with every imaginable and unthinkable feature. It is suitable for launching a project of any complexity, not just business sites. It benefits from a large selection of ready-made templates, sufficient support for the interface in different languages, and the presence of artificial intelligence. A special service allows you to generate a layout and fill option specifically for your topic and niche. What’s left is only to correct the contact information and custom descriptions. If necessary, your page can get additional functionalities, such as the integrated CRM system and emails. Sure enough, there is the possibility of creating online stores.
If, for some reason, the regular functionality is not enough, you can activate the corresponding application from the directory. It has everything from external services and beautiful buttons to advanced split testing and analysis systems. The additional services, which are very necessary for the business, are especially striking, such as an online tool for creating logos that can be used not only on websites but also on business cards, postal forms, document templates, etc.
SSL certificates are automatically connected, and Wix also has all the necessary attributes for advanced SEO. In addition, any page adapts to the screens of mobile phones or other devices.
Prices and Costs
This platform is pleasantly surprising, as you can test its functionality as long as you want because it is free of charge.
The minimum plan involves only connecting your domain, but it is not suitable for business purposes. To remove the ads and mentions from the platform, you must pay the Basic or Superior fee. Here, you receive an additional budget for advertising and the domain as a bonus (for one year). The highest rate with higher fees opens up access to additional features (including logo creation, advanced analytics, faster downloads, etc.). Receiving payments on the site is available only via a special payment plan option for businesses.
It is worth considering that a subscription to the plan is not the only expense category, as individual applications on the market may also require a subscription.
The abundance of features can overwhelm novice users, but as you become more familiar with the platform, navigation becomes easier. The most significant disadvantage is, in fact, the limited subscription plans. As the functionality increases, so does the price. It is not added at the expense of the basic plans but based on the cost of the catalog applications.
WordPress is the most popular, open-source, and actively supported out-of-the-box content management system for the community, suitable for building any type of site (from blogs to online stores).
With a 50% probability, any site you visit online runs on this CMS. In fact, half of all the sites in the world are built on this engine.
An important nuance is that it does not work without hosting (and this is a separate category of expenses).
It’s hard to imagine a functionality that doesn’t exist in WordPress. Even if something out of the box is not implemented, the desired capabilities are easily added with third-party and official directory extensions, so at any time, you can contact specialists to develop the necessary non-standard functionality.
Many hosts offer one-click installation of this CMS from the hosting panel, which can be considered a definite advantage for beginners.
Custom additions like Elementor can turn this engine into an analog of an online builder, so you will be able to pick up your pages from the finished blocks simply by dragging and dropping. Therefore, the absorption threshold can be minimized.
Prices and Costs
As for the engine itself, it does not make sense to talk about the cost since it is completely free, but it cannot be used without quality hosting. In order for the motor to run flawlessly and without restrictions from the supplier, you need to choose the right hosting provider. Number 1 in WordPress developer recommendations is Bluehost. All payment plans are specifically designed for this CMS, it takes just one click to install, and there are many related services. The fees are $2.95 per month if you pay a year in advance, receiving the domain as a gift.
If you need a high-quality and beautiful design, the most profitable option is to buy a finished theme ($20–80 from profile sites or the official catalog). On the other hand, the necessary plugins can usually be found for free.
To create a quality business site, you will have to understand many technical nuances or hire a specialist in the field. This is the only significant drawback of the engine. Many talk about low security and resource demands, but in reality, it is enough to configure the CMS and plugins correctly. Then, the number of issues will be minimized.
uCoz is a great broad profile online builder. It stands out favorably from its competitors with extensive basic functionality. In fact, the platform is not inferior to boxed CMS. uCoz will definitely appeal to users due to its sufficient amount of detailed technical documentation, manuals, and technical support.
During many years of existence, this platform has grown with a whole infrastructure of related services.
The uCoz developers have applied a modular approach, where to add the necessary functionality, you simply need to activate a module (for example, a shop, a forum, a blog, etc.). The templates can be purchased both within the platform (from the official catalog) and from specialized providers (the purchased theme can be downloaded in the administration panel).
uCoz offers many options. There is an automatic feature of posting materials on social media, all the necessary attributes for SEO, content moderation, API, field settings, spam filter, user rights management, CNC, code editor, support for your PHP scripts, and mail and email forms, among many others.
Prices and Costs
The free payment plan is not suitable for commercial projects due to the display of ads to the users. The minimum fee ($2.99 per month) implies the presence of a writing platform. More logical variants are the Optimal rate (from $7.99/month) and the Superior option. The store functionality (uShop module) is available when paying from $9.99/month.
You can receive the domain as a gift when paying for the Optimal and Superior rates (depending on the payment term in advance, 6 or 12 months for different plans).
Premium templates from the official catalog will cost between $25 and $56 per unit.
UCoz does not have a convenient online editor that works with pre-designed blocks. Therefore, you will have to buy a ready-made template or have it developed by professional designers. The admin panel is overloaded with settings (this is good for experienced users but difficult for new users). Payment plans are more expensive than those of low-profile platforms (this is due to the capabilities of the platform, since, for example, here you can get a complete online store without restrictions or divisions in individual payment plans).
Bookmark is another functional online platform from a team of developers. Users can count not only on the website builder but also on a comprehensive infrastructure including their own domain registry, a search engine promotion service, a platform for organizing various offline events, a network of agencies (a suitable platform to search for creators), a service for webinars, and many features.
Nethouse is designed for small and micro-businesses. Here, it is possible to work without specialized knowledge and do manual code editing quickly, plus it is easy to create small pages in a convenient visual editor.
Basic functions fulfill 99% of all small business requests. There is everything: integrated CRM, catalog of predefined templates, support for mobile devices, free SSL certificates, a set of predefined blocks to create your pages, application store (can be integrated with third-party services, including payment gateways or messengers), mailing system, access to SEO parameters, analytics, convenient confirmation of site ownership (e.g., for Google webmaster panels), web forms, SMS notifications, etc.
Even a beginner can handle this visual editor, as it is not necessary to have knowledge of HTML. Everything is very simple. There is also a mobile application that allows you to manage the site and receive quick notifications.
Prices and Costs
The platform can be used for free with no time limit with the Starter payment plan. The free trial period for the Promo plan is 10 days (it is automatically included from the moment of registration).
The set of blocks in this site builder is very limited, as is the blocks’ configuration. This is convenient for beginners but absolutely not suitable for advanced users since the finished versions of the site are in many respects of the same type. The second downside is the pricing. It is complex and involves, among other things, additional payment for personnel functions.
Even a quick review of the technical solutions available on the market suggests that it is possible to create a website for a business without the need for specialists. As a counterpart, you will have to sacrifice time and may have to face some additional expenses.
Everyone knows that time is money. So even if you use the tool yourself and save on initial investments, don’t forget to take the time to learn and master the tool; or, alternatively, invest in a more advanced payment plan that will include, for example, tools to create logos, CRM, mail, and other services. It takes less time but costs more.
At the same time, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and, sadly, it is not likely to appear. Each tool has its advantages and disadvantages. You should be aware that if something is acceptable at one stage of your business, in a new round of development, it may become downright inappropriate. Therefore, creating a site should be approached based on your current goals and budget.