If you’re wondering how to make a website for your business, there are multiple ways to achieve your goal. The route you take will depend on the maturity of your business, your budget, and -- to a degree -- your competitors.
Hiring a professional to design your website is always the best route if you can afford it. If it’s early days, there are alternatives.
For a simple website, here are your three options.
Using a Website Builder
Website builders offer an easy and convenient way to start a business website, with very little investment needed. Most website builders ask for a monthly fee in return for a template website. You can pick the theme, add content, and potentially use your own domain name.
There are two main downsides to this approach, and both can make your business appear less professional:
- Website builders generally lack personalisation, and you’ll probably be stuck with a template designed by someone else; that might be OK for a while, but eventually, you’ll probably want to put your own stamp on your website
- Free and very low-cost website builders lack the functionality you need to make a professional site, and may even stamp advertising on your pages -- that’s definitely not going to make a good impression.
There are good and bad website builders; take a look at providers like Squarespace, Jimdo, Wix, and Weebly to get a feel for what they offer. Remember: some plans start cheap, but get expensive quickly when adding features. If your needs are complex, step up to a CMS.
Using a CMS
A CMS, or content management system, allows you to control the content and layout of your website, so you can keep the content fresh and updated and add or remove pages for your products and services wherever or whenever is appropriate. Popular CMSs include WordPress website development, Drupal, and Joomla. Each of these has its own benefits and weaknesses.
With a CMS, you will be able to expand your website more freely, and integrate more complex functionality than you could with a website builder. If you are computer literate and have time to spare, a CMS would be a logical choice.
Bear in mind that you won’t get any support with the CMS unless you pay someone to help you. If you do need support, and you have to splash the cash to get it, you would arguably be better off with a web designer who can handle everything for you.
Hiring a Web Designer
Web designers and web design agencies are the best people to bring your business website to life. Although hiring a designer or agency is more expensive than doing everything yourself, in many cases, the time and aggravation it saves you will make the extra spend worthwhile.
It helps to be clear about your marketing message, and the features you think you’ll need, because changing your website design late in the day can be expensive. Have a look at some competitor sites and present some examples to your website designer so they can get a feel for what you need (without copying it).
Wait: Do You Need an Agency?
Your website should reflect the same branding and tone of voice as the rest of your marketing material. If you don’t have anyone to work on these areas, you might find that your website and other materials are out of sync.
To get off on the right foot, consider hiring a marketing agency who can handle your website design alongside your branding. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, and it could help you to launch with a much more professional image.