Build a Beautiful Website Without Breaking the Bank
Recent studies have shown that nearly half the world’s population are now using the internet – that is more than 4 billion people! With that many people online, having a website for your company is ever more important and useful.
A company’s website is often the first contact people have with the company. Depending on the industry, people tend to search for things online before physically visiting or contacting the company. This means that you need to make sure that your website looks good, is user-friendly, contains all relevant information and comes across as professional – at the very least suited to its industry!
The thing is that most fancy websites cost money! Often companies, and especially new companies, do not have the money to pay for domains, servers, web developers, graphic designers and programmers to make such professional websites. Fortunately, there are numerous packages you can use that are much more affordable!
The most popular free hosting packages are:
- Google My Business – If it’s a simple website you need, and you’re on a tight budget, this is the option for you! Google helps you create an efficient, functional website in minutes - completely free of charge. All you need is a Google My Business profile which they help you create along the way.
- Shopify – Shopify is the ideal starting point for anyone selling products online - it’s the No. 1 eCommerce platform. It offers unlimited 24/7 support and 100s of professional templates to choose from. You get a 14 day free trial, after that you pay a monthly fee.
- Squarespace – This is another big international competitor with great service. Similar to Shopify you get a free trial, except this one is a month long. The bonus is that all plans come with award-winning 24/7 customer support and many themes to choose from.
- WordPress – This service has been around for ages. This platform is great for more basic pages, very quick and easy, yet still offers thousands of templates and plugins.
- Site123 – The big upside to this comprehensive service is a free image library and built in SEO tool.
- Webflow – Webflow is an incredibly powerful website builder for visually strong, responsive sites. If you’ve built a site before and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, this is the builder for you. A bonus with Webflow is that they regularly host free workshops and meetups in Cape Town and Johannesburg for anyone to join. These happen monthly or bi-monthly.
Each of these hosting services offer step by step guidance on how to use the website builder, and makes it possible for a beginner to make their own set of pages. So now you can skip that expensive developer, and give it a go yourself! But what are some of the perks of using a professional developer to build your site?
Professional website builders offer certain Value-Added Services that come with running a paid-for, professional website. Such services include:
- Having bundles of email addresses that end with your domain name instead of one of the free services like Gmail, which makes a better impression on clients, suppliers and contacts.
- Automatic online backups that means none of your data goes missing in case you accidentally delete something or even if it is hacked.
- Having more bandwidth, allowing more people to access your website at the same time, and having more storage, being able to build a more interesting website with animations etc.
- Security services like antiviruses and firewalls that are always up to date.
- SEO functions. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is basically a way of making your website rank higher on search engines so that more people will find your company when searching for related products or services.
- Encryption services that allow sensitive information, either that you put online or that customers enter into your website, to pass safely across the web without hackers being able to access or use it. This is especially useful if you want to sell things directly through your website, receive donations or use other e-commerce functions.
So, with this in mind, sometimes it is best to pay for a basic package. Check out any of the websites hosted above to see what they offer.
If you plan on selling products on your website, we recommend either Shopify, or WordPress with the WooCommerce plugin.
Getting your website up and running means that everyone across the globe can see what you have on offer and will surely open some doors for your company to grow. With this knowledge you are set to create the best online experience to suit both your business identity and your ever-expanding base of clients!