Don’t have the budget for a website? Here’s some alternatives

Alternative website options

Getting a website for your business can be costly, but if you’re in a position where you need something less expensive to get your business moving, here are some ideas.

There are lots of free website options available, but you really get what you pay for.

Some of the cons of free website options are:

  • hard to setup, or time consuming to modify to get what you want
  • there is very little advice or strategy, so what you think might work well is just that, a guess
  • what you build will be a representative of your business and people will judge you on that. Does it look professional?
  • if you need custom functionality, it may not be available or not even possible with the option you’ve chosen.

If you’re happy to continue down this path aware of the downsides, here are some options to look at.

Option 1: WordPress

WordPress is a great platform and very flexible for beginners and professionals. We use WordPress a lot in our projects. Where WordPress becomes a great option, is when you couple it with website themes. While it is not the easiest to setup, if you have the time and patience to learn, you will have a better foundation for building your website in the future.

Introducing website themes
Website themes allow budding entrepreneurs to purchase a pre-built website that you can customise (to a certain degree) for your business. Now, don’t go getting carried away thinking you can change everything on the template to suit your needs. In most cases, these are best used for colour variations, logo updates and imagery changes. If you want to change functionality like adding in social sharing buttons or a newsletter signup box, there are plugins available you can install yourself, but you might start hitting some sticky situations.

So, where can you find a quality website template for your business I hear you ask? The most comprehensive marketplace for themes is Themeforest. But while it is large, there are many levels of different quality themes on there.

Themeforest is a marketplace for website theme’s. The type of theme that you purchase here will depend on the type of business you want to run and there are thousands to choose from. Not all themes available on Themeforest will be designed for WordPress, so you need to be aware of what you are purchasing before you do. If you are looking for eCommerce functionality, I’d suggest using WooCommerce and looking through the WooCommerce eCommerce themes.

Keep in mind that Themeforest only sells the theme. If you haven’t already purchased a domain and set it up with a host, you should read this article first.

WordPress is great for:

  • people with a bit of technical or problem solving skills
  • someone willing to invest a bit more effort at the start to develop something great over time
  • a huge range of theme designs
  • integration with other systems in the future.

WordPress is not so great for:

  • people that aren’t so technically savvy
  • paid support but has a very active and helpful online community.

Option 2: Shopify

Shopify is a self contained platform (or software as a service) that offers simple e-commerce websites for businesses. With Shopify, you can get something up and running quick and easily without having to worry about technical things like hosting. There are three tiers of shops to choose from starting at basic and working up to professional – only you can determine what level will suit you best.

You will have upwards of 100 theme’s to choose from with responsive design; meaning they have been built to cater to mobile and tablet devices as well as desktop. An in-built CMS also allows you to easily make website or content updates. This option is great for first timers looking to setup an online store or bricks and mortar retailers looking to test the water with selling online.

If Shopify interests you, we can also design and build a custom website for you on this platform. 

Shopify is great for:

  • first time website builders looking to sell online
  • something quick and easy that looks professional
  • paid support.

Shopify is not so great for:

  • variety in theme designs
  • businesses that need integration with other software.

Option 3:  Squarespace

Squarespace is another self contained platform aimed at ease of use. It’s similar to Shopify in that it’s easy to setup, but it’s more orientated to be a full Content Management System (CMS) rather than specifically targeted at eCommerce. Saying that, if you still need to sell products, you can do that too.

Again, Squarespace has their own theme marketplace with some great theme designs on offer.  They offer three tiers of packages including responsive design with their sites and are probably a little more flexible and simple for the first time business owner.

Squarespace is great for:

  • first time website builders
  • something quick and easy that looks professional
  • paid support.

Squarespace is not so great for:

  • pure eCommerce businesses with a lot of products
  • businesses that need integrations with other software.

Which should I choose?

Ultimately, the only person that can decide that is you. You need to decide what type of business you will be running (which will narrow down your options) and then select whichever platform will fit you best.

If you’re still undecided and would prefer to chat to someone in the know, we’d be more than happy to have an obligation free chat to help you get started.

Sounds too hard?

Building a website yourself isn’t the easiest thing, but we understand that there is definitely some people that need to get started. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself contact us to see how we can help get you up and running with a professionally designed site built on a strategy developed to grow your business.

Jade Warren

When not working, you'll find Jade with her nose in a book or on her husband's iPad using the Kindle app. She also often enjoyed training in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu until she became pregnant with their first child. Jade is passionate about using her corporate background to help build marketing efficiencies and superior customer service experiences.

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