It’s no secret that the world is online these days. From blogs to social media, asking Google for the answers to all of our questions, shopping and job searching, there’s pretty much nothing the internet can’t handle. So, how does that relate to when you want to start a business?

If you’re considering starting a small business or are a creative professional looking to market your services, you’ll need an online presence. Being active on social media and making a name for yourself online is a great way to market, but even if you don’t do that, at the bare minimum you’ll need a website.

Why Do I need a Website?

A website is like a resume of sorts; it shows prospective clients, customers and colleagues that you’re an actual person. Not only that, but it’s a great way to market your business and/or services in Indianapolis and beyond by giving your visitors a glimpse of what you do, how you do it, and how much you charge.

Without a website it can be very tricky to market yourself or your business. The days of taking out an ad in your local paper are long gone, and while word of mouth can still be a helpful tool to get you started, you’ll eventually need to elevate your platform and make yourself more available in order to grow your business. 

Another reason a website is so important is that it helps to lighten your workload. It allows people to contact you, directing your messages to your email and/or social accounts so that you can respond when you have the time. 

If you’re opening an E-Commerce store, it’s even more helpful: your website will take your orders and payments, saving you a ton of time and money in the process.

But Aren’t Websites Expensive?

There’s no short answer to this question, but yes, they can be. However, this all depends on your needs, budget, and personal preferences, as well as how much time and tech know-how you have. 

There are more affordable options available than you might think, and if you know where to look, you’d be surprised at just how little your upfront investment could be.

Now, website developers are not cheap, albeit for good reason; web design can be a complex and time-consuming process. This isn’t always the case, however, and there are reasonably priced web developers around, just as there are mechanics, contractors and the like. 

The trick is to know what you want, how much you want to pay, and find the developer who will help you achieve this, which can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the territory.

What are Some Affordable Web Design Options?

Thankfully, there are more cost-effective alternatives to hiring a developer. This will likely take more of your time, skills and patience, but it can be done without too much trouble. Here are a few web design options that are a little more budget friendly:

Free Sites

If you’re really boot-strapping it and just need something to get you up and running in a pinch, there are ways to get your site going for free. Wix, WordPress, Weebly and GoDaddy are all options to consider here, and can be great to help you get your business off the ground. 

However, please note that with the free options your theme choices are more limited, and you may have to deal with annoying ads depending on the website builder you choose.

DIY Website Builders

If you have some tech know how and a little patience, a DIY website might be your best option. The good news here is that the days of creating sites from scratch using HTML are in the past; it’s now much easier to craft a nice-looking site thanks to modern advances in technology. 

There are low-cost options on many of these, and since you’re creating your own site, you skip the developer fees all together. Some great options for DIY builders are Square Space, Wix, Host Gator, Duda, and GoDaddy, to name a few.

Paid Hosting with WordPress

There are many ways to create a free or low-cost website, and they all work well to some extent, However, purchasing hosting with a reputable host will yield the best results in terms of security, features and tech support. Some hosting platforms — like Blue Host, for example — provide a free WordPress install with your purchase, and usually offer both annual and monthly payment options, making this even more budget friendly. 

When it comes to looking professional, having more freedom to choose your themes, and having tech support available when you need it, purchased hosting is the way to go!

Final Thoughts

Starting a business or marketing your creative services in Indianapolis can feel more daunting than it needs to. It’s totally understandable: you’re putting yourself out there into the world and sharing your big idea without knowing how it will be received, which can be extremely scary!

Not to mention that small business web design can feel totally out of reach for those of us who aren’t tech savvy or don’t have a big budget to work with in the beginning. 

Thankfully, advances in technology have created easier and more affordable web design options that many people can implement quite quickly to get their website up and running.

While it’s not always possible to create your own site, if you’d like to try your hand at web design there are many ways to learn the basics for little to no cost and a small investment of your time. 

The website creation process has made leaps and bounds in terms of the required skill level it takes (or doesn’t take) to pull off a decent first attempt, which will help you to get your business up and running quickly.

So, congratulations on your decision to start a business or market your creative services! Try out some of the suggestions here and see which ones work for you — you might be surprised at how much easier it is than you thought, both financially and in terms of the skills required. Good luck on your new venture and enjoy creating your new website!