It’s no secret that creating a website can be extremely expensive.
And if you’ve recently launched a new business, the chances are high that you’re struggling with cashflow enough as it is without worrying about investing a lot of money into a new web presence.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d put together a post containing some great tips and resources to help you get the job done on a startup budget.
Here are 5 great ways to get the job done:
1. Use WordPress
WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system|) in the world and, most importantly, it is 100% free to use.
All you need to do is use a WordPress hosting provider such as GoDaddy or Siteground and they will have you setup within minutes. Going this route requires the least amount of knowledge and up-front capital.
The great thing about WordPress is, because it’s so popular, it comes with a fantastic library of plugins which can be installed and activated instantly.
For example, if you want to setup an online shop then you can use a very popular and powerful ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce. It provides everything required to begin selling online almost immediately, once payment gateways are activated.
Other benefits of using WordPress:
- Great for SEO right out of the box
- Lightening fast with superior usability features
- Can be used to provide a membership website
- Great security
- Expansive theme libraries
- Regular updates of plugins and CMS core
You can learn more about WordPress here.
2. Make the Most of Mockups
One of the hardest parts of launching a new business is branding.
Creating logos, business cards, product designs, etc. These are all extremely time consuming tasks and require plenty of investment.
Mock ups are a fantastic way to visualise your new brand and its products without spending all of the time and money required to create the final piece right out of the gate. This gives both yourself and any co-founders time to choose a branding path to success.
For example, if you’re launching an online shop, you could use these clothing mockups from Design Bundles to visualise your brand on a number of products, including baby clothes, t-shirts, work polos, and more.
And if you’re setting up an online services business, they even provide options to visualise your brand on business cards, stationary, and so much more.
The brilliant thing about mockups is they’re a very cheap investment. They cost so little, but provide such great value.
Benefits of using mockups:
- Speed up the branding selection process
- Save time, money and energy
- Easily visualise the brand across a variety of verticals
- Presenting to investors or business partners
You can learn more about the value of mockups and how they can add value to your business on Wikipedia here.
3. Learn Marketing Yourself
Another important area for any online business is, of course, marketing.
And as you’re a new business with little capital, you’re probably going to want to focus on organic marketing. That is SEO, which is essentially driving free traffic to your new online business website from search engines such as Google.
If you were to pay a freelancer or marketing agency for this, it would cost you quite a bit of money on a monthly basis. And usually in a contract, too. Avoid that.
SEO isn’t the hardest thing to learn in the world and there are a number of fantastic free resources online, including the SEO learning center from Moz, and the Ahrefs blog. In my opinion, these are two of the best SEO resources online. Check them out.
Here’s what you should know about SEO:
- 93% of all online activity starts with a search engine
- 70% to 80% of online users ignore paid ads
- 51% of all website traffic comes from search engines (SEO)
As you can see from the stats above, SEO is one of the most important marketing channels in the world. And it’s completely free, as long as you have enough knowledge to ensure that your website and its pages are relevant to what users are searching for.
That means if you have a page selling remote control cars, you ensure the title of the page as well as headings, contain this rather than something irrelevant. That’s where a lot of business owners get things wrong, and they wonder why they get no online sales or leads.
So to summarise, SEO is THE marketing channel for a startup with very little capital to invest. Spend some time reading on Moz and Ahrefs (links provided above).
Implement everything you learn. Trial and error. Trial and error.
4. Utilise the Power of Growth Hacking
Growth hacking is defined as a method of marketing that requires little-to-no budget, and creative ideas that reach your potential customers and clients.
This can be a hard one for new online business owners to wrap their heads around, but trust me it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Take a marketing business as an example. Their ideal client is a B2B business – a business that provides products or services to other businesses, right?
So where would their ideal client be hanging out?
LinkedIn? Facebook? Quora? All of these, of course, and more.
So what you’d do is you’d join all of these, and others, and you’d fill up your profile to make yourself stand out as an expert in your field, and then you’d start contributing.
Joining groups on both LinkedIn and Facebook is a great place to start. Some of these are absolutely huge, and your target customer or client is there, looking for you.
But don’t make the mistake that many do. Don’t SPAM.
That will have you removed from the group instantly, and you won’t progress.
Provide value. Answer questions honestly, provide solutions to people’s problems, and naturally you will begin picking up bits of work here and there.
Quora is a little like Yahoo! Answers. But a million times better, and more effective. Answer questions every day. Ask your own. Join groups. Get involved and earn leads. Make sure your profile stands out and links through to your website.
Other great growth hacking ideas:
- Create pages on your website comparing your product or service to those of your competitors – this can work amazingly well
- Use lead generation software to find leads in your industry and cold email them using software like Mailshake to create leads
- Join industry forums
- Take part in industry blogs
- Guest blog on relevant industry websites
So there you have it, 4 great ways to go about launching your next online business on a budget. Have any of your own? Leave them in a comment below.