A startup that is more fully developed in the beginning stages has a greater range of potential value to customers and investors. Even if it’s not yet profitable, a startup that has a website and can gain some traffic and a few sales would get a higher valuation than one that merely has an interesting idea.
CMS and website platform
To create a website for your startup, you need a cheap (or free) and easy way for development and use of platform or Content Management System (CMS). Because these things cost money.
First, you need to choose between website builders and platforms/CMS.
Although website builders (Weebly, Tilda, Wix or others) seem to be the obvious choice, you should consider their disadvantages. The affordable price means significant limitations in a website look, functionality, mobile experience, and SEO. You may be able to ignore the external advertisements in unwanted places, however, mobile-friendliness and SEO are important factors for visitor attraction. In fact, you will spend more money than you may expected. Nobody pays money to the the team of professional developers that allows you to create a free website, so you should choose CMS and hire a web developer.
CMS and website platforms are a better solution than website builders, because these solutions will cover all of your startup needs.
You may find a lot of information saying that WordPress is bad, however about 35 % of websites were created with WordPress. What makes WordPress a popular CMS? It is extremely flexible. WordPress is a free open source CMS.
The cost of your website depends on how much customization you need. Our F5 Studio web agency creates a professional website for $2000. This package includes: web strategy consulting for startups, custom theme, unique responsive design, 5 pages, blog, basic on-page SEO, support. It will take 4-5 weeks delivery time.
But you can save your money with a standard free theme, less customizations, and a simple design. To create a simple WordPress site could take from 5 hours to 20+ hours.
In this way you can manage your budget and website functionality.
To host your startup website
Web host is a place where you put your startup website. There are a few free kinds of web hosts: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and VPS hosting
You need to choose which will be the most cost effective.
Shared hosting with $3-$7 payment per month is a good idea for starting out. Shared hosting works well for websites that have a lower volume of website traffic. Some hosting resources are shared with other accounts, so you may not always experience great performance and website loading times.
Dedicated hosting is the service where servers are devoted to one website. This is the most expensive kind of web hosting, so it isn’t for startups.
VPS or virtual private server hosting allows you to rent out a part of a dedicated server. This service offers a middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated hosting.You pay for what you need and you can expand when you want, but VPS requires some tech knowledge.
We recommend shared hosting if your website will attract lower amounts of traffic. For ecommerce startups it is better to use dedicated web hosting, even if web traffic will be low.
You need to have a deeper understanding of tech things that web hosting services might offer you in their plans. Cashing, security, CDN, and many things should be tailored to your business needs for affordable prices.
Also, pay attention to server downtimes. These are the times when your website won’t be available to visitors.
If you will use CMS WordPress, you can choose a web host that is recommended by WordPress.
Startup website design
So, you chose a platform, a web host, and domain. Let’s get back to website creation.
You need to choose theme.
Themes take the content and data stored by CMS and display them in the browser. When you choose a theme, you decide how that content will look when it is displayed.
You should pay attention to these factors:
- theme support
- mobile experience
- cross-browser compatibility
- available extensions, apps, or plugins to extend functionality
In many cases we recommend you to choose free, popular, and simple themes. Because these themes cover all startup business needs for the first time. This way will help you to save some money on design costs.
We recommend that you pay attention to logo quality and brand identity elements because these will help you to differentiate your business from others.
You can spend some time creating your startup website by yourself, but if you compare the cost of your time with the rate of a web developer, you will see that it is better to hire a developer.
Certainly you will face some risks, like any unskilled web developer would, but you can reduce your risks bh using Upwork or other websites used for hiring freelancers. Also, you can ask your friends for web developer recommendations.
It is better to use less customization for your website to save money on web development. Content management systems like WordPress allow you to use extensions or plugins to add or extend upon the standard functionality of your site. For example, by adding a contact form.
A clear project plan will help you to get things under control. In a web agency you can get a free project manager who will organize all of the processes and be responsible for any risk.
In any case, you need to learn more about website quality to test your site. Pay very close attention to the responsiveness of your website.
After the website launch
So, your website has launched. What’s next?
You need to check search engine performance of your website, through webmasters tools like Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster, or Yandex Webmaster. Your choice depends on which search engine your customers prefer.
You will need to track the traffic on your website. We recommend to do so through the Google Analytics tool.
So, you will check your traffic as well as the effectiveness of SEO, PPC, or other web promotion activities.
There are three ways to choose from in creating a startup website.
First, you make it by yourself. If you are a non-tech person, this way would be very difficult. However, the main disadvantage of this option is the sacrifice of your time. A bonus is that it gives you the chance to develop and improve upon your web development skills.
The second option is to hire freelancers to design and develop your website. Also, you will need to consult on tech things such as CMS, web hosting, website quality assurance, as well as non-tech things such as UI UX design. Business owners use this way often enough, however you will need to have some tech and digital marketing skills. A bonus is that you get the skills needed to manage web development projects.
The third option is to leave your project completely up to a web agency. Many agencies offer a fixed price website model. This means that you will get a website with an originally agreed upon set of features and functions for a fixed price. You should research more about these types of offers. Although you can find offers for around $500 website, it would be a bad idea to use these. Professional web agencies provide customer research, create strategies, customize designs, and give free support. We also provide startup website development in this way. That is why a minimum price for website should be around $1000 for substantial results.
You can use a flexible price model which gives a more tailored web development to your needs. Use of a standard theme and simple design without customization will reduce the cost of a website. However, it can also affect mobile experience and attractiveness of the website.
You need to choose the option that will help you achieve your business goals in the most effective manner. Remember, your goal is to make money, not to save it.