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#HowTo Pick Your Website Platform

18 Jan 2021 / #HowTo

A website is sort of the digital handshake between your business and your potential customer. It's often the first impression, and the first opportunity that someone has to get to know who you are and how you can help them.

There are essentially three website options:

A) DIY. Use a template site and figure it out yourself. B) Affordable templates. Use a template site, but have a professional create the site for you. C) Custom Design. Create a site from scratch, custom coded to your preferences.

There are pros and cons to each of these options. A few questions to consider before making your decision may be:

  • What is my budget?
  • What do I need my site to do?
  • What do I want my site to do?
  • Who will be maintaining the site and monitoring for changes?

DIY

DIY can be a great option if you are just starting out, or if you are running a side hustle. There are really great template sites such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. You can create your own website for the base cost of hosting and maintenance, which can be as low as $20/mo. The downside of this is that you will need basic design skills, and some base web knowledge so that you can create a successful site. Because like any business tool, having something just to have it, really doesn't do you any favors. If you are creating a landing page for a hobby business or a side hustle, this is a great affordable option. If you are building a business that you would like to grow and profit, it is smarter to make the investment in good design.

Affordable Templates

This is an ideal option for most small businesses. There are many talented designers (ours included!) who specialize in creating beautifully branded sites through Squarespace and Wordpress.

{What's the difference?} The biggest question we get from small business owners is 'Wordpress or Squarespace? Which one should I choose?' Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference. Squarespace does tend to be more user friendly, so if you will be responsible for your own web maintenance and updates, this is a great option. Wordpress allows for more customization, so if you have fancier website needs (membership platforms, plugins, custom design, fancy stuff), Wordpress is a better option. Both have decent SEO and optimization. We tend to advise clients that if they are looking for easy/simple/self-maintained, go Squarespace. If they are looking to get fancy and more unique, go Wordpress.

Working with a design agency to create a branded template site is generally between $3-8,000 for basic design and SEO optimization. Note that the $3,000 end of the spectrum generally does not include strategy, keyword research, or copywriting.

If you find yourself asking 'Why are websites so expensive?'... you may not understand web strategy. Your website is one of, if not the essential business and marketing tool. Done correctly, your website should be driving your business. $3-8k for a quality website is a steal, and a miniscule investment for small to medium businesses. (For frame of reference, HoneyMAP web design generally falls between $3500-6500 and is built off of the HoneyMAP strategy and messaging. Our founder's website SarahMichelle.love was created in this format by one of our amazing template designers).

Custom Design

When your business is ready to scale or evolve to the next level, you may consider custom design. This is a great option that allows you to customize literally every aspect of your design. (This HoneyMAP website was custom coded by one of our awesome designers)

When you are just starting out, it is unlikely that you will need to make this kind of investment. Generally custom coded sites run between $8-15,000 for small businesses, and can go into the hundreds of thousands for larger businesses and corporations.

A general rule of thumb is that it is better to make a good investment early on than to pay extra for shortcuts down the road. Take the time to determine what your goals are, who your audience is, what is really needed for you to have a successful online presence, and what you would like to allow space for in the future.

Need help deciding? Part of the HoneyMAP marketing strategy is advising on how and what should be included in your online presence. You can schedule a complimentary consultation call and we would be happy to provide a custom estimate and recommendation on how you can most successfully move forward with a beautiful website.