How-To Guide: Affordable Custom Website in WordPress for My Business
Written Jan. 24, 2018 by Conor Green
You’ve made a good choice using WordPress; it powers about 29% of the Internet. Now you are wondering how can you create an affordable and professional website for your business? Whether you are looking for the cheapest low cost web design option or an affordable option that provides the best value, this guide will help you figure out which of the five main options is best for you!
1. Buy a Prebuilt WordPress Theme (DIY)
Is this you?… Someone who is ready and willing to devote a substantial amount of hours to orienting themselves with the WordPress platform and designing the site themselves. You are someone who is comfortable and confident with design and choosing fonts and color palettes for your brand. Someone who is computer savvy and likes challenging side projects to work on by themselves.
- Cost: WordPress Themes generally are priced around $60. If you are looking to throw up a quick website and are not too concerned with how it will look or are willing to spend numerous hours working on it then this is a great option. It can get you up and going quickly with some stock images and some basic text. One good resource for themes is Theme Forest.
- Convenience: Themes are prebuilt, allowing you to use their structure with your content. Some are mobile responsive and others are not. Do not consider any themes that are not mobile friendly with a mobile website design. Google penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile by ranking them lower on the search results.
- Time: The time investment cannot be understated. Many themes have visual editors, such as Visual Composer, which in theory should make edits easier. However, often there can be bugs or glitches with the editor preventing you from getting the page to look like exactly what you are envisioning. You also are limited to working within the confines of the editor’s capabilities. Conceptualizing the structure for your site and then implementing each page, while keeping a cohesive brand appearance will take time. Both of these are examples of two specific time expenditures you should account for, but getting acclimated with the theme and the WordPress platform will be your greatest time investment.
- Theme Updates: When a theme has an issue or needs some changes, the theme author will issue an update. If you make any significant changes to your theme’s code, they will be overwritten when you update the theme. In order to prevent this you will need to implement Theming via a Child Theme. It is important to create a Staging environment (localhost), which is a mirror image of your live website on your local computer. That way you can first install the theme update to your Staging Environment and work out any bugs that may arise before updating the theme on your live site.
- Customizing it to Your Brand: WordPress is like the engine for the site and the theme is the car body. While you can make stylistic changes to the theme, such as colors, text, and images, the general structure is not easily changed. That is why websites made with prebuilt themes can often look like “cookie-cutter websites”. Other websites using the same theme may have different logos, text, and images but they will all look similar (still the same car). Your brand is unique and has a purpose and voice. Since prebuilt themes were not designed with your specific business in mind, it is unlikely that it will be able to effectively communicate your brand’s digital identity.
2. Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
Is this you?… Someone who likes working with a big company and having multiple points of contact. Does not mind paying a premium price for services that often take a little bitter longer to coordinate and execute, given the separated roles at an agency (i.e. CEO, Account Executive, Designer, Developer, Content Writer, PPC Analyst, etc). This is probably not the best option for you if you are looking for professional website design services from an affordable web development company.
- Wide Breadth of Services: Able to accommodate most or all of your digital marketing needs with its variety of employees.
- High Quality End Product: Given that you find a high performing innovative agency, you should also get a high quality end product.
- Premium Price: Given the multiple levels and positions at an agency, you are charged a premium price to help pay all of their salaries (CEO’s, account executive’s, developer’s, designer’s, content writer’s, SEO specialist’s, etc). Price sensitive businesses will find it hard to justify paying premium prices, without seeing a positive ROI on those costs.
- Multiple Levels of Communication: If you have a design question about your project you will have to ask the account executive who will ask the designer. The designer will report back with the answer and then it will be communicated to you. The same thing goes with other areas of inquiry, such as development. This delay in communication can become frustrating for many business owners, who need quick and timely solutions to their problems.
- Outsourcing: If an agency does offer a very reasonable and low price, then you should be skeptical that they are actually building the project in house. Many bigger agencies outsource smaller projects overseas and simply collect a paycheck on completion. The cost is the quality of the end product. Unfortunately, many business owners are unaware of this practice and assume on good will that the agency is building it in house.
3. Hire a Freelance Web Developer
Is this you?… Someone who is concerned about overpaying for digital marketing services, wants a single point of contact, and would like to create a custom high performing website.
- Customizable Structure: The structure I was talking about above in the Prebuilt WordPress Theme option, is now able to be customized since you have a developer on hand. All developers are not created equal in terms of skill and some may not be able to make certain desired integrations or custom features. However, you should be able to have this advantage at your disposal
- SEO & Speed: Two aspects of a high performing website are its speed (time it takes to load) and its ranking in the search engine results, such as Google and Bing.
- Not So Great Design: Developers often excel at problem solving, which is the basis of programming, but are not so great at design. Those mindsets and cognitive strengths are considered opposites, so its logical for the majority of developers to not have a great design sense. That’s why most agencies have developers and designers.
- Social Skills: This is not always the case, but often developers struggle socially and with their communication skills. This can be frustrating for you, as you may find it difficult communicating your ideas and visions with them.
4. Hire a Freelance Web Designer
Is this you?… Someone who is concerned about overpaying for digital marketing services, wants a single point of contact, and would like a beautiful website.
- Beautifully Designed Site: Good white space, cohesive color palette, potentially custom icons, images, and graphics.
- Professional Appearance: Great brands have cohesive appearances. Given that you find an experienced and knowledgable designer, he or she should be able to communicate your brand in a consistent manner regardless of the medium (web, print, storefront, etc).
- Paying Someone to Modify a Prebuilt Theme: Most designers are great at design but know a limited amount of coding. While a little knowledge of HTML and CSS can make you a little dangerous, it does not enable you completely customize the theme or add new features. The problem is many designers pose as “web designers and developers” when they really are just beginners. You can learn a little HMTL and CSS yourself by taking free online courses at Code Academy.
- Website Performance: The SEO and speed benefits that you receive from working with a developer are often given up when you work with a designer. It is a topic that most designers do not fully understand in depth.
5. Contact Me to Get it Done Right.
Is this you?… Someone who is concerned about crafting and communicating his or her brand’s authentic digital identity with a high performing and customizable site.
- Brand Identity Driven Design: I craft digital stories. Your story matters and is the reason customers will connect with you, become loyal to your business, and refer you to their friends. Not only are my designs beautiful aesthetically, but they also effectively convey your brands authentic digital identity that I collaborate with you to discover.
- Professional Brand Standards: Whether a potential customer is on your website, viewing your marketing materials, or at your storefront location, they should have a consistent experience. This is enabled by having a brand guideline via a Brand Standards Guide.
- High Performing and Secure Site: Clean high performance and search engine optimized code that looks great on desktop, tablet, and mobile. I use best practice WordPress security measures to prevent hackers from gaining access to your site.
- Custom Integrations: From advanced integrations to marketing automation that helps you get more leads without lifting a finger, I am experienced in creating custom web design solutions for my clients’ needs.
- Personable Point of Contact: My clients love having an easy person to talk and communicate with for all their digital marketing needs. As a great listener and conceptualizer, I am able to understand my clients’ visions and help them expand upon them.
- Perfectionist & Ideas Guy: I get excited about projects and want them to be perfect. You will have to bear with me as I nitpick at how we can always make things better.
- Bugging You About Timelines: I like to adhere to agreed upon timelines and will remind you about anything that is on your end to send to me. Bugging you might be an exaggeration, but you will definitely get an email! 🙂
The WordPress website development option of the five above that you choose depends on your personal needs and preferences. Think of which Is this you?… that you relate to most and then confirm that with the information below it. If you have any questions, need some advice, or just another perspective, feel free to contact me!
Ready to Elevate?
Hey, I'm Conor. I'm determined to grow businesses. My only question is will it be yours?