Building a website on a budget - your answers & advice

Discussion in 'First Steps To Starting A Business' started by Henry Osadzinski, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Henry Osadzinski

    Henry Osadzinski UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,459 1,135
    Carrying on from our last piece of content, we've been going through your recent threads here and in some other parts of the site to put together a guide to one of the most frequently asked IT questions - "what are my options when building a website for my business?".

    Over on BusinessZone, Lucie has also taken some of the key bits of advice from the Startup Clinic, turned it into a more extensive article and we've seen some handy additions in the comments.

    Let us know what you think and if there's anything else that you'd consider essential information to add :)

    There are also some recent threads that you'll likely find useful, including Faevilangel's How to find a website developer / designer and Mobious' updated guide to Improving your web presence.

    Enjoy!

    [​IMG]
    Icon design by Cursor from The Noun Project
    Comments from cocodude (post), Faevilangel (post) & Stretchy (post).
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
    Posted: Dec 12, 2012 By: Henry Osadzinski Member since: Aug 30, 2011
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  2. Stretchy

    Stretchy UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    By far the most important thing to remember when looking to build a site on a budget is to make sure you build it based on a sound marketing strategy.

    If you simply follow the advice of your web designer you are not going to get the best return on your investment. If you can't afford proper advice, do some research yourself around what marketing actually is, and why it's so important.
     
    Posted: Dec 12, 2012 By: Stretchy Member since: Jun 11, 2010
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  3. Henry Osadzinski

    Henry Osadzinski UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Absolutely - there always needs to be someone asking "why?" alongside every decision :)
     
    Posted: Dec 12, 2012 By: Henry Osadzinski Member since: Aug 30, 2011
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  4. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    The single £ assigned to DIY is a bit misleading. The learning curve can be quite steep if this isn't something you are into, and time is money, unless you work for nothing.

    Packaged solutions may work out most economic for many businesses, as they are providing scalable and complete solutions with the benefits of economies of scale. But then I would say that being a packaged solution provider with a personal touch :)

    The comparison should be

    DIY - growing food in your own back garden, fun, interesting and you learn a lot (about weevils, blackfly etc), but time consuming and you'd never actually be able to feed yourself properly.

    Packaged Solution - Shopping at Asda, Tescos or Marks & Spencers etc a range of choice, quality and prices brackets

    Paid Custom - Hiring a personal nutritionist and a personal shopper. Absolutely essential if you need the best and have the money.
     
    Posted: Dec 12, 2012 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
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  5. ZedS

    ZedS UKBF Regular Free Member

    134 13
    Yes, you can definitely go for a cheap website or even a free option - but then don't expect any actual results. Most free or super cheap websites are completely invisible on search engines or they fall apart with every click. You do get what you pay for. The only exception is if you have some experience and skills in web designing, in which case you could probably manage a decent set-up.

    I notice how many company owners tend to underestimate the importance of their websites, so they try to cutback on how much they spend on it. Yet if you realise that nowadays people are on the internet 24/7, you know how crucial online presence is - not just having a frozen website which sits there and does nothing, but a website which actually makes a great impression and draws in clients/customers. Hire someone who knows what they're doing - you'll get their expertise, skills, insight, understanding and their time, instead of trying to juggle everything by yourself with limited experience and know-how. As in most cases, going to an expert will give you far better results than you could manage on your own, not to mention that peace of mind is priceless.
     
    Posted: Dec 12, 2012 By: ZedS Member since: Sep 29, 2012
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  6. Henry Osadzinski

    Henry Osadzinski UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    One thing we briefly mentioned but didn't have the space to go into full detail about was using services like Facebook to set up a company landing page. Brands like Vitamin Water have used this to good effect previously and, if done right, an engaging and well thought-out Facebook page can give a good first impression but would you ever recommend using it over a full site?
     
    Posted: Dec 13, 2012 By: Henry Osadzinski Member since: Aug 30, 2011
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  7. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,190 1,715
    The setup of a company landing page on facebook is simple/cheap. Creating engaging content is the more difficult part. In your example, Vitamin Water create a new post systematically every 2 days.

    This forms part of their overall online marketing strategy, and they are promoting a brand, not specifically trying to obtain online sales through FB/Twitter and their other online channels, including their website. And even then, they still have a broken link on their 'home' icon on their FB page, despite probably a hefty online marketing budget and department..

    I guess what I am saying is the example of a Facebook page as per Vitamin Water isn't relevant to small businesses considering FB as an alternative to having website. There maybe better examples around, but I don't know of any specifically.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
    Posted: Dec 13, 2012 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
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  8. RyanMitchell

    RyanMitchell UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    39 5
    This is a great infographic.
     
    Posted: Dec 13, 2012 By: RyanMitchell Member since: Dec 4, 2012
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  9. webgeek

    webgeek UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    Seems as though the discussion about 'website' is focusing on the code powering the website, at the expense of the the content.

    Mapping out the navigation hierarchy, including which pages will go where, how many are needed initially, how many words per page, what graphics are required, all are really what a website is about. The framework sitting on Apache/IIS is merely the translator.

    If you spec out the above nav/pages/content, it's like shooting fish in a barrel when it comes to getting bids for the work. If you're long on time and short on money, then write it all yourself. Otherwise, find a reputable writer from the forum here or possibly a 4* or 5* writer from TextBroker.

    After you've got the framework in place with content added, you'll probably need some SEO type person to review and tweak things (at least the title, meta description, a few keyword/synonyms on the page and internal link anchors). Again, if you're a DIY type, do a bit of reading on top SEO blogs/sites/forums and figure out how to do this. Mediocre skills will get mediocre results, so be forewarned.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: webgeek Member since: May 19, 2009
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  10. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    Were those posts removed? I didn't notice any discussion about code.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
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  11. webgeek

    webgeek UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    Have a look at the first post graphic.

    Wordpress, Joomla, CMS, Squarespace, design, hosting

    There's a lot of mechanics, but not about what goes on the page.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: webgeek Member since: May 19, 2009
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  12. SqueakyHinge

    SqueakyHinge Banned

    72 9
    If you are on budget you have time on your hands - therefore building your own site and the talk of 'people not valuing their own time' is a bit cheap.

    They don't have any value assigned to their time because if they did they wouldnt be ON A BUDGET.

    Thankyou, thankyou very much.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: SqueakyHinge Member since: Dec 5, 2012
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  13. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,190 1,715
    I have to agree with that (although that isn't so much the discussion as the info graphic)
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
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  14. Stretchy

    Stretchy UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,454 1,403
    The graphic also quotes me as having said that you should never scrimp on getting a site built. That doesn't sound like something I would have said at all. I don't know which post they have quoted, but generally i recommend spending money on working out what your message is, and giving as little as possible to a web designer (within reason).
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: Stretchy Member since: Jun 11, 2010
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  15. ZedS

    ZedS UKBF Regular Free Member

    134 13
    This is what will determine the type of website you end up with. I've seen some appalling websites that were just shocking to look at (I'm talking bright yellow backgrounds with bright blue/green/pink text links randomly placed) - it turns out the people were just interested in a cheap designer, not high standards. If you're just looking for a cheap rates, don't have a website at all - that works out cheaper.

    - I'm not saying you should go all out and hire an expensive web designer BUT a website is an important investment. If you have a budget, one of the few things you should be scrimping on is your website.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: ZedS Member since: Sep 29, 2012
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  16. Stretchy

    Stretchy UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,454 1,403
    What you spend on the site has little relation to how good the site will be, or how it will serve its purpose (again, within reason).

    If a cheap site is built based on sound marketing principles, it will outperform an expensive site built based only on the advice of a web designer.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2012 By: Stretchy Member since: Jun 11, 2010
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  17. Henry Osadzinski

    Henry Osadzinski UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    @Stretchy - sorry about that. We initially had a bit of additional context around each of the quotes but space was limited. I've included links to the original posts from which each quote was taken. If you'd like any other references to clarify it, feel free to PM me and I'll make sure it's sorted out :) Thanks as well to you & everyone who has added their comments to this post - it's a really big topic and the more advice and opinion that people can share, the more it can help new startups with their questions.
     
    Posted: Dec 17, 2012 By: Henry Osadzinski Member since: Aug 30, 2011
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  18. solenlil

    solenlil UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    17 0
    The most economic for many businesses, as they are providing scalable and complete solutions with the benefits of economies of scale.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2012 By: solenlil Member since: Dec 20, 2012
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  19. Yorkshire&Online

    Yorkshire&Online UKBF Regular Free Member

    157 45
    Sometimes it is just unrealistic to expect to get onto the first page of google with a limited budget. However, google local (google places) can give your business a chance if you are reliant on local customers.

    I therefore think you can get away with creating a free website but place extra attention on google places to give your website good exposure.

    There are some good free templates out there to allow you to do this. I think wix.com offer some really good templates that give you the opportunity to create a very unique and professional looking website for free.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2012 By: Yorkshire&Online Member since: Nov 27, 2012
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  20. uncle_rico

    uncle_rico UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    11 3
    Coming from a person that is'nt formally trained in building websites but taught myself, I think the most important thing if you don't have much money is to have time and patience to research what it is you actually need and which platform best suits you. To keep costs low you're not going to be able to avoid doing some of the design yourself.

    Wordpress
    Ideal for blogging/general websites to state who you are, what you do and the occasional update. If you want to sell stuff I would'nt recommend wordpress at all.

    Facebook/Twitter
    This is good for promoting, but will you be taken seriously as a business with no website? No!

    If you have your web address already thought out I would first register the domain name with godaddy.co.uk to make sure nobody else takes it.

    Once you've bought your domain name you can then transfer it to a free hosting site so you dont have to pay a monthly hosting fee.

    If you just want everything done all under one site with no hassle I would go with webeden.com , theire designs are great, they also allow you to integrate payment systems with them.

    I build small business websites/shops and even do youtube adverts for really low fees on a freelance basis. If anyones interested let me know.
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2012 By: uncle_rico Member since: Dec 30, 2012
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