Having your website is a must in the Internet age, particularly if you are trying to get exposure for your small business or freelancing career. Without a fixed Internet presence, it can be challenging to build professional connections or pursue your passion projects. However, making a website can seem daunting without coding experience or the budget to hire an experienced developer.
Luckily, there are more tools to help you build your website without spending a lot. Here are a few tips to help you create a professional-looking website, no matter your budget or technological experience.
1. Use an Affordable Hosting Platform
These days, building a website is no longer the exclusive domain of professional coders and computer geeks. Instead, everyone from small business owners to bloggers to creatives is building websites, whether they need it to work or express themselves.
The tech market has evolved to meet this need, and many hosting platforms allow you to host a site for a small monthly fee. Some of the most popular ones are Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.
Besides being affordable, many of these sites are also easy to use. Many of their clients are inexperienced, so they offer easy-to-use templates that function as customizable building blocks for your website. Many of these sites also publish user guides that have easy-to-follow tutorials.
2. Use Templates
Many popular website hosts, such as Squarespace and WordPress, offer templates and themes to help you build your website. A template is a file that creates the HTML code that translates the information that you input into the website that a visitor will see. A theme is a grouping of templates under a visually similar scheme.
Many website hosts offer free templates to help you get your website started, although your site may look similar to others, thanks to the popularity of free templates. Even premium templates tend to have affordable price tags.
Once you build your website and become more confident in your tech skills, you can customize it to your heart’s content. However, templates are an easy way to build a polished website that won’t break the bank.
3. Create Your Content
A website full of your photography and designs will get more traction than one that still has the stock photos that come with your theme. A personalized website looks more professional and tells clients that you are willing to invest in your business. It also looks much better than if you keep the stock images.
Even if you don’t have the money to hire a graphic designer or content writer, you can create your content to personalize your website. Use free tools such as Canva to design headers, logos, and other website components (if you don’t know how to use Canva, there are many free tutorials online). In addition, you can take your photos using a quality phone camera.
Creating content for your website does require investing time if you are not investing money, particularly since you need to refresh your website every so often to attract new clients. However, if you create a schedule and dedicate a few minutes to your site a week, you can make it look nice without spending too much money.
4. Use Other Tools From the Web to Help
While website hosts such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix are great starting points to building your website, they may not offer all the tools you need to develop the website you want. Luckily, there are other tools on the Internet to help you expand your website.
If you want to add more functions to your website than your WordPress or Squarespace theme can support, you can integrate extensions from different online tools. For example, Mailchimp allows you to build a newsletter and communicate regularly with site visitors and potential clients. In addition, many popular extensions are designed to be compatible with popular website hosts.
You can also find tools elsewhere on the Internet to help you improve the appearance of your website. If you can’t take your photos yet, a database such as Unsplash has free, beautiful stock photos for any usage. Design nerds can play around with free, unique fonts using databases such as Google Fonts.
5. Find Affordable Help
Sometimes you don’t have the time to play around with making your website, or you may not have the capacity to learn a new platform such as WordPress. In those situations, turning to external help is the most efficient way to build a professional-quality website.
While top developers often charge thousands of dollars for their services, you can get help for less. Sites such as Upwork and Rent-a-coder have freelance developers from all over the world offering their services. In addition, less experienced developers looking to build their portfolio may have hourly rates within your budget.
If you don’t have any room in your budget to pay a professional developer, you can find one on a skills exchange platform such as Swapsity. Instead of paying for website development in cash, you can offer your skills such as graphic design or copywriting in exchange for a professional website.
Making a Website Doesn’t Have to Drain Your Wallet or Your Brain
Making a website is key to succeeding as a business owner or freelancer and can even be an outlet for expressing yourself creatively. To meet this need, many hosting platforms offer affordable packages complete with customizable themes and templates that can help you build a professional-looking website without spending too much time or effort.
To take your website to the next level, it is easy to add your own content and extensions from other free or affordable sites, such as Mailchimp. If you are unsure about what to do, look for free online tutorials or exchange skills with a developer to mutually grow your businesses.