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5 Simple Ways to Create a Professional Website on a Budget

Good design is a key part of creating a professional website and let’s be honest, good web design isn’t usually cheap.

According to this article published on top design blog, Inspiredmag, here’s what is said to be the optimal pricing for getting good design:

  • Basic Website – $1000 – $2000
  • Custom Website – $2500-$7500
  • Content Management System (CMS) – $3000- $8,500
  • The Grand Slam Package– $15,000- $100,000+

Having a basic website costs at least 1 grand and if you’re looking for something functional that runs on a CMS like WordPress or Drupal, you could get it for $3,000 upward.

If you have the budget and can hire professional design firms like HindSite Interactive or Blazersix.com to help with your design, this shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if you want good websites designed for you but do not have the budget or are not ready to spend; this article will share ways you can create a professional website. Some of the tips in this article are contrary to most people will tell you about creating a website, but you can get a professional website without having to spend a fortune by following these tips.

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1. Don’t Use a CMS

Be it WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or any other major CMS, the first step you should take when trying to create a professional website on a budget is not to use a CMS.

Taking a look at the pricing examples included earlier in this article, you’ll notice that the second most expensive option is the CMS design package, only superseded by the Grand Slam Package designed for social media networks or advanced sites.

With over 70 million users worldwide, and growing every day, WordPress is today the biggest CMS in the world. It powers most websites online and you will often hear people recommend it; Drupal is also very big but you don’t have to use it to.

In fact, there are a few issues that will constantly require your attention should you go with a CMS:

  • Potential security vulnerabilities as a result of plugins you install
  • Constantly updating your CMS to avoid being hacked
  • Having to update your design as your CMS advance etc.

So building your website on a CMS not only requires a significant upfront investment if you want to build a great website, it also requires constant financial attention to ensure your website is running effectively.

2. Design Your Website in HTML

If you shouldn’t build your website on a CMS, what should you do? You could consider several other options, but an effective option is to build an HTML-based website.

This is probably the last thing you’ll want to read in a design-related article, considering all the rage about WordPress and other CMSs lately, but this can be very powerful if you do it right.

Contrary to what most people have been made to believe, though, designing a website in HTML isn’t all about pulling all-nighters in front of your computer trying to tweak your website in Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage.

The web has evolved and a lot has changed with it. There are dozens of quality website builders online that make it extremely easy to design a good website, sometimes rivaling what you pay a thousand bucks to get on a CMS like WordPress.

EasyWebContent.com is a great example; with a web based html editor that makes editing existing HTML websites easy and an online website builder that creates a WYSIWYG website, having a professional website is no longer expensive.

There are also popular options like Wix.com, Yola.com or Weebly.com and you’d be surprised to see how HTML websites compare to websites built on a CMS.

Since most people are creating a blog these days, it’s also worth noting that most of the popular HTML site builders today will give you the option to create a blog.

The advantage to using HTML web builders is that they’re relatively cheap and cost-effective; you’ll get good-looking, fully-functional websites.

3. Bartering Your Services

Since you want to put up a professional-looking website online, then you probably already have something to offer.

One of the best, but rarely discussed, ways to build a professional website on a budget is by bartering your services.

If you’re a content writer, for example, you could work with a designer to help her write web copy for her clients; this will be content that will have to be on the homepage, about page and other similar pages of her client’s websites and that he helps you design a professional website in return.

If you’re good at SEO, you could help a designer optimize the website of some of her clients and the designer in exchange helps you create your own website.

In most cases, the designer will be paid for this by her client so it’s actually like you’re the one paying for the design.

You can barter almost any service and sometimes, it’s as easy as asking.

4. Learn Web Design

If you’ll be creating a lot of websites or if you can see yourself tweaking your website a lot in the future, another option is to learn web design.

Learning web design today is as easy as ABC, especially if your focus is on building a good-looking website for yourself.

There are thousands of resources online that can help you learn how to design a website using any platform of your choice – just do a Google search – and this blog has several posts to give you design inspiration or help you become better at design.

5. Install and Customize a Free Template

Depending on the platform of your choice, there are thousands of free website templates online that you can install and customize to have a good-looking website.

While this is the least recommended option, it can be used for a start if you don’t have money to spend on design at all.

Some resources are:

Conclusion

What other tips or web design resources do you have for those who want to build a great website on a budget? Kindly share with us in the comments!

Joseph is a professional marketer with 3 years of experience; he helps people build websites that get results online and he’s in charge of marketing for Easy WebContent.

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Posted by on April 21, 2013. Filed under Internet, Technology, The List. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.