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How to Build an Affordable, Effective Website


How-To-Build-An-Effective-Affordable-Websites.jpgI am not a big fan of spending a lot of money on a new website, but many custom quotes are still in the “outrageously expensive” category; a few clients have recently shown me quotes of $5,000 or more. It’s not 1998 anymore, and those quotes are unacceptable.

It is perfectly possible to create an effective website at an affordable price. There is a global marketplace of fabulous platforms and talented designers who can help you build a beautiful site for a few hundred dollars. Or, if you are willing to do some of the work using a templated design, an effective website can be created for less than $20/month with no upfront costs!

A lot of people drive themselves crazy building websites because they forget that simplicity is key.

 

Your website exists to do two things:

1. Help you engage with your tribe and make new customers.

2. Make you money.

That’s it.

Here’s how to set yourself on the right path…

 

Step 1: You must have a domain name.

To register a domain name go to godaddy.com

Register the domain that you would like to use. I highly suggest a dot com (.com) with no slashes and underscores if possible.

TIP: You should also make sure that the YouTube, Twitter and Facebook page names match the URL that you purchased.

 

Step 2: Choose which type of website you want

a) Pay As You Go

A pay-as-you-go option with a website builder can get you up and running very quickly and you won’t need a designer to build the site for you. This option takes some computer skills (uploading photos and basic text editing), so you may need help if you are computer-phobic.

Here are my favorite two pay-as-you-go sites. Both have excellent call-in customer service to help ease the confusion.

Squarespace
Their professional version is $16 per month and it includes free web domain registration so GoDaddy is not needed.

Spacecraft
Again- $16 per month and it includes free web domain registration so GoDaddy is not needed. Spacecraft also has a design team who you can call if you get overwhelmed or confused, and can jump in and help you.

 

b) Working with a Marketplace of Web Designers

A marketplace means that there will be multiple designers competing for your bid, which is fabulous because there will be many styles and designs to choose from. You can see multiple examples of each designer’s work, read reviews and feedback, and invite the designers you like to participate for your bid.

Here are my two favorites:

Crowdspring.com – Has price recommendations in the $800 – $1200 range

99designs.com – Has price recommendations in the $599 – $1200 range

Both sites are fabulous for logo design (approx. $250 – $400) and for social media backgrounds – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc (approx. $150).

 

Step 3: Make sure it’s clear and functional

Homepage Guidelines

Your entire website should be easy to navigate with a navigation bar across the very top of each page so visitors can see it (not buried where they have to scroll down).

Your whole site should be branded with your look, your colors, and your logo (if you have a logo) and, of course, a stunning photo of you / your team. All of your socials (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, G+) should all match your site colors.

You should feature your name and your pitch (what you do / your mission statement) in a few words. If you feel weird creating a “pitch”, use one killer press quote which sums you up appropriately.

Prominently feature a newsletter signup connected to a juicy bribe (white paper, video, MP3) in exchange for an email address.

To set this up, I love a tool called Conversion in a Box.

– Link to your social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and anywhere else you maintain an active profile.

– Include a Facebook “like” widget.

– Include a Twitter stream updating in real time.

– A blog feed / news feed, or new shows updating onto the page via widgets.

-If you like sharing photos, add an Instagram, Pinterest, or Flickr stream, which
ports over to your blog!

 

Nav Bar elements / tabs:

1. Bio/ press kit. If you want a pro kit for $2 per month, you can use Presskit.to.

TIP: Photos/ Images. Make sure your photos really capture who you are.
Make sure they have clear instructions on how they can be downloaded.

2. Buy products – Storefront or link to one

3. Your speaking gigs or live appearances

4. Your Blog

5. Your Contact Info

Make sure that you have your contact information with an e-mail address or a contact form there so people can contact you for online publicity, booking, or just to tell you they like you! Don’t make it hard for anyone to connect with you online.

 

After your site is done, make sure to keep your social media sites updated! That means daily. This way, your whole site remains interesting, dynamic, and fully updated.

I hope this mini guide helps!

Ariel Hyatt

Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for 20 years and runs Cyber PR®, a dynamic social media & content strategy company based in New York City. Her agency places clients on blogs & podcasts, establishes their online brands, and coaches them to create authentic relationships. She has spoken in 12 countries and is the author of four books on social media for artists, two of of which have hit number one on Amazon.

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