What can make your business seem more unprofessional than a website that looks like it was made by your 8-year-old? Nowadays, business websites are often the first real impression that potential customers get, so you can’t afford to have one that’s all over the place. There are quite a few options for those looking to make a slick and functional website – some cost a lot while others are essentially free.
Hiring a web designer
The best choice is also the most expensive one: hiring a designer with experience in various web-programming languages will let you create a site exactly to your liking. Not only will everything look the way you want it to, it will also work the way it should with minimal effort on your part.
Price is the biggest issue – depending on the skill and experience, web designers can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for larger site with more features. A good-looking website is a great investment, but are you really willing to pay that much for it? Don’t forget that you’ll have to keep paying for the domain and hosting independent of the designer’s fee.
Also, keep in mind that web design is becoming more and more popular as a profession of choice. More websites mean higher demand for web designers, but this doesn’t often translate to talent or expertise. In short, you could be paying a lot for mediocre results that you could just as easily get from a website builder.
Website builders: the alternatives
Those unwilling or unable to contract a designer will often turn to a free or low-cost alternative to make their website. If you put in the work, these options can get you a website just as great as one made by a supposedly-professional designer. Here are some places where you can make your own business site with little to no knowledge:
GoDaddy: Whereas before you’d have to deal with getting hosting and a domain name on your own, GoDaddy takes care of everything for you. For $10-$15 a month, you’ll get a fully-functional business website you can customize using a simple editor that’s nonetheless full of features. GoDaddy websites sometimes get heat for being unprofessional-looking, but the truth is that it’s all up to the individual: if you do your research and put in the time, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t get satisfactory results.
WordPress: The biggest issue with WordPress is the limited customizability of websites – you won’t be able to include fancy flash designs and things of that nature and will instead be limited to a blog-style format. However, you’d be surprised by how well this format can work even on business websites, not to mention that the plugin is completely free.
Wix: Wix is a newer website builder that’s taking the web by storm. It’s similar to GoDaddy in that it has a small business package consisting of domain + hosting + website builder for $16-$25 a month, but has quite a few additional features like vouchers for AdWords and free apps. Many also find that Wix’s templates are better-looking and that the builder actually manages to create a site with a professional feel to it.