If you’ve bought a domain and have registered for web hosting the next step is to decide how your site will be built. Do you want to build it yourself with a simple drag and drop site? Would you prefer great customization with a theme? Or would you rather have the entire site coded from scratch? Web design is the most costly part of creating a website so it’s important to understand your options and be realistic with your skill level and time constraints. Having a set of goals and a budget on hand can determine which direction to go. Below are the different methods of building a website, theirs costs, and their advantages and disadvantages.
Building a Website
You don’t need any technical aptitude or coding experience to build a website these days. Web design platforms like Wix and Squarespace make web design accessible to even the most computer illiterate souls. These websites are essentially free to build and have some customizability enabling you to realize your creative vision with little or no expenditure. They are considered closed source platforms so don’t allow a lot in the way of flexibility and customization. The ease of use and affordability make sites like Wix and Squarespace great for Blogs and basic websites, but poor for sites that require customization.
Use a Theme
This is a relatively affordable way to build a website and offers great customization and support. WordPress is an example of a platform which features thousands of pre-coded themes ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. WordPress is an open-sourced platform allowing customization and flexibility. This is where it’s handy to know some html and css, or have a web designer on board that does.
Relatively web savvy people can create a website with WordPress, however the learning curve is steep and you’ll need to weigh up the cost of your time building the site versus hiring someone to do it for you. Hiring a web designer to build a WordPress site or similar is common. This can cost you between $500- $10,000 depending on the complexity of your site (pages, functions, additional coding/CSS).
It is worth mentioning that many people struggle with the decision to find someone local our out-source overseas (this can cost only a few hundred dollars). While it’s true you can get a website made relatively cheaply in countries like India, I think most people would agree if something were to go wrong, a local face and name to support you is invaluable. I’ve heard numerous stories of people getting their websites designed off-shore who live to regret it!
Develop from Scratch
The third option is to hire a web developer to create you a website from scratch. Unless you are a Fortune 500 company or require complicated functionality not supported by pre-existing themes, this is probably not required. Web developers are professionals who build the bones of the website using coding and PHP to create a site from scratch. This can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the site.
There is no point having a website sitting on a slice of cyber real estate unless people can find it. Many would agree, getting noticed is the most important part of being online (you’ve worked so hard to hang the streamers, blow up the balloons, and bake the cake- now you need people to actually come to the party!).
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the art of getting found online and Search Engine Optimization is the science behind it. The complexity of SEM and SEO is far beyond the scope of this article but essentially involves building links, creating and optimizing content and installing proper codes into the back end of the site. This is just the start of what it takes to have your website get noticed online.
Building a website may be one of the biggest decisions your business will make and is the most pivotal aspect of your online strategy. There are over 3 billion internet users around the world. If you want a share of the online market place, a well built and optimized site that is in alignment with your online goals should not be overlooked.
Need more information on building a website? Contact Cloud9 Marketing and let’s discuss your brand’s online strategy and web design goals.