Low-Cost Custom Website Development Platforms For Small Businesses
Having a website is crucial in today’s digital age. Without one, you’re missing out on thousands of new customers and growth opportunities. There are many reasons to not have a website and at Business Warrior, we understand. It can be extremely expensive to develop a website, hard to maintain and manage, and very easy to do wrong. That’s why we’re going to introduce free and low-cost custom website development platforms that are perfect for small business owners to grow on. All of these platforms are easy to use for beginners and include everything you’ll need to get your website off the ground the right way.
Before you start looking into any developer, you need to know a few important things first. We put together a checklist for you, to make it easy. Ask yourself all of the following:
- What is the goal of your website? (selling, informing, sharing, portfolio, etc.)
- What features do you want on it (built in shopping, reservation system, videos, interactive experiences, etc.)
- How do you want customers to contact you? (Forms, email, phone number, address)
- Do you want a blog or other media channels displayed on it?
- How many internal pages?
- Is it future-focused?
Once you have all of this figured out, you’ll be able to narrow down all of the custom website developers pretty quickly. Here are a few that we personally recommend.
Over 41% of all websites on the internet are powered by WordPress! It is the most common website development platform, and for good reason. WordPress is free (with paid options) and gives you access to thousands of free plugins to help you develop your site the way you want it.
All you need is a domain name and web hosting to get started.
Using WordPress is very easy once you learn how to navigate through the backend. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by it at first — it gives you access to every aspect of your website and online presence, so there is a lot there. However, once you get the hang of it, it will be a breeze.
To get you started, there are thousands of high-quality pre-made themes you can use for your website’s design.
WordPress gives you complete control on every aspect of your website and online presence. It can be used to build any kind of website. You can even use one of their drag-and-drop design platforms too like SeedProd, Beaver Builder, and Divi to make it even easier.
If you can’t find what you need, chances are that there is a plug-in for it. They are essentially apps that you can put in your website to make it more user-friendly. There are plug-ins to rate your SEO (search engine optimization), plug-ins for WooCommerce, Google Analytics, live chat, photo galleries, contact forms — everything and anything you need, there will be a plug-in for it.
The thing we love about WordPress is that it is very future-forward and makes scaling a breeze. You can build your website however you need it, and you’re not locked into that design, those plug-ins, or anything else on your site. For example, if you want to focus on SEO once you’re more settled, you can very easily add plug-ins to track your progress, such as All-In-One-SEO or Yoast SEO. Both score your SEO on each page and blog post. This makes it simple to know what you need to add!
Cons Of WordPress
WordPress is one of the best platforms out there, but it isn’t without its flaws. You do have to manage your own website with it, which means you have to take the time to become familiar with using it. The learning curve isn’t too bad, but, like we mentioned earlier, it can be overwhelming at first.
Additionally, you have to manually update everything from time to time, including plug-ins. WordPress does usually tell you what is outdated though, which is a nice time saving feature.
You will also be in charge of creating backups. While it’s rare to use them, you’ll have to have a backup of your entire website just in case something happens. Pro tip: keep that backup updated too!
Shopify For ECommerce Websites
Shopify is extremely popular for ecommerce websites (for businesses solely built to sell a product online). It powers more than half a million businesses and over $40 billion worth of products have been sold on Shopify’s platform.
Shopify is relatively easy to use too. It integrates a drag-and-drop interface to create a full-fledged ecommerce store. They also offer in-store POS, inventory management systems, and shipping, marketing, and stats management tools. It also offers an integrated payment solution called Shopify Payments which lets you accept credit cards. You can also add third-party payment gateways to accept payments.
Unlike WordPress, Shopify manages software updates and backups for you.
Shopify isn’t the cheapest builder out there; it’s more mid-tier pricing for those just starting out. Shopify’s basic plan will cost you $29 per month. You can upgrade it to Shopify for $79 per month or Advanced Shopify for $299 per month.
There is also a limited option of free templates. You will only have access to 10 free website templates. All of the others are locked behind a paywall.
Additionally, Shopify is not fully built with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. The URL structure is not ideal for SEO, and it does lack some built-in integration to help rank your website higher on Google.
Finally, Shopify may charge a transaction free on top of their payment processor fee if you don’t use Shopify payments.
Your website should promote growth, not hinder it. Both Shopify and WordPress are fantastic for small business owners because their free and low-cost features don’t limit what you can do. If you choose another platform, do your research. Find out what you can and can’t do on it, and ask yourself if that will help or hinder your business. The last thing you want is to be left behind because your platform doesn’t let you scale with SEO or doesn’t support a specific data tracker or shopping platform.
Finally, go with a platform you can be proud of. No matter if you’re just starting out or have been running the show for years, your business is your pride and joy. Your business’s website should reflect that, hard stop. For more support, reach out today!
September 14, 2021