Many people seem to believe that you need to hire a top-end web designer and empty out your pocketbook to produce a quality, dynamic website. While web designers can often be a worthwhile investment and require less of your time and effort, you should consider the DIY route. Luckily, there are ways to amp up your digital presence without breaking the bank.
Use a Free CMS
Unless you’re a wizard with HTML, coding, and web development, chances are you won’t have the time or resources to learn a programming language. Creating a website from scratch isn’t liable to be your best option. Instead, you should use all the free resources you can get your hands on, especially a content management system, or CMS. One of the most popular options is WordPress.
WordPress is one of the most widely-used CMS platforms on the planet and the fact that the company offers a free version probably doesn’t hurt that statistic. Even the paid version of WordPress is an incredibly economical option. If you want to drop the .wordpress.com component of the URL, you’ll need to upgrade to a membership. However, if that doesn’t bother you, the free version has more than enough tools and customizability to get your website up and running with little to no hassle.
In its free iteration, WordPress offers a number of open-source themes that you can tinker with as you see fit. You can also purchase specific themes from their online store or third-party sellers for a low price. If you’re going to opt for a custom theme, you should do so before you start adding content and plugins to your website. Not all themes have the same level of compatibility with every potential WordPress integration so you’ll want to save yourself a headache down the road.
Choose a Cheap Website Builder
If the amount and depth of customization that WordPress offers seems intimidating, you’re likely going to want to go with a website builder. Platforms like Squarespace are inexpensive but still feature-rich enough to get a quality website up and functioning. However, it’s important to understand that, compared to more flexible content management systems, website builders have a handful of drawbacks.
The first one is a counterpoint to the previous statement on WordPress’s sheer amount of options; With website builders, you have far fewer tools in your arsenal. That means that you’re going to have to get creative if you want to further customize your site and it may require a handful of coding adjustments. Usually, user forums will have solutions and integrations fixes if you’re willing to do some looking.
Pros and Cons of Website Builders
One drawback, for Squarespace in particular, is the fact that properly incorporating SEO is a little counter-intuitive. Whereas WordPress has a variety of SEO plugins to choose from, Squarespace has limited access to page metadata. Properly optimizing your web pages takes a fair amount of digging and, even when you’ve found a solution, the occasional hiccup means that your work won’t be saved properly.
There are, of course, benefits to using a website builder as well. For starters, they’re often simple and streamlined. With the right website builder, even someone with little-to-no site creation experience can put up a serviceable site. Also, since they incorporate fewer features, they’re definitely more affordable than a paid membership for your average CMS platform.
There are plenty of ways to develop a quality website without having to stretch your dollars too far. Whether you opt for the flexibility of a CMS platform or the simplicity and ease of a website builder, there are plenty of ways to get the most bang for your buck without sacrificing the aesthetics or integrity of your website.