I get many people who ask me what they should do if they can’t afford me – and I wanted to create this resource for them and see how much value I could possibly squeeze out unselfishly. (Yeah right, right?) 🙂
The hard part is – even learning some basic stuff will take some time no matter what. So here are two of my best possible suggestions for you and their drawbacks.
- Go with Squarespace – it’s like 20 bucks a month, and the builder is relatively intuitive. The only drawback is obviously it will take some time to understand the nuances of the tool, and you might not be able to change everything the way you want it – because a tool like this has inherent limitations.
- Go with a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest.net and self-host WordPress (WordPress.org not WordPress.com or you’ll be limited in some key capabilities) – you can use the ‘one-click install’ on places like GoDaddy for the WordPress install and then just upload the theme you purchase (usually around $60 for a premium theme.)
These are easy(er) ways to get started immediately
I don’t mind sending people that are in this boat to other options because I know that there will come a day when they want a more professional and intentional solution for their business – and if I’m the one that shared this interim solution with them, I might be better poised to help them when the time to invest in a better site comes.
What do I get when I finally decide to invest instead of one of the above solutions?
- Working with a professional means you don’t have to make the same mistakes as most beginners at this – you partner with someone who’s been through this process 30+ times (in my case) and has learned something every time, and can apply that collective knowledge to your project.
- Working with a professional means you can get a site created that isn’t limited by the ‘site-builder’ provided and can be customized infinitely to accommodate your specific needs. The above solutions would need to be torn down and re-built to accomplish this – not just added to, that’s why I suggest people that understand a website is an investment have it built right from the beginning.
- Working with a pro obviously means less of your time... and time is money. Especially if your business is doing well.
- Working with a pro means intentionality throughout the process. Obviously if you’re just starting – you might default to whatever is easiest. Not so if you hire someone that has been through this process many times – for instance, I ask what is going to accomplish your goals throughout, and make sure the design and development serves that purpose, whether it’s easy or hard to implement from a technical point of view.
In closing, I’ll just say – if your business is making less than 100k a year it might be a good idea to invest time instead, but not if you want to build it in a way that won’t have to be re-built later. It’s much harder to clean up someone else’s work than it is to just start correctly from the beginning.
This is not to say there are not appropriate ventures to just take the time to knock it out yourself – and if you do so, I wish you good luck!
Why I don’t suggest hiring a ‘really cheap’ web designer
Yes there are people that can do a website on Wix, Weebly, Webs or Squarespace but that don’t really know how to do professional web design. Professional web design means an intentional process with only the best solution in mind, not ‘what I know how to make’ as the guiding principal.
If you think this is your only option I really suggest just doing it yourself. It will take you both the same amount of time, and at least you won’t be wasting money on a platform that is intended as a ‘do-it-yourself’ platform. Not a ‘do it for others’ and charge money for it platform.
In short, you can’t afford to hire a cheap designer – they are cheap for a reason, and will waste your money. This is not without exception, but I’ve seen too many people very dis-satisfied to not give it to you straight. If you can’t afford a real professional web designer – please do it yourself.