Our last post outlined several budget-minded marketing tactics for entrepreneurs looking to make a strong impression online. We rummaged around in SEO, design, e-commerce, content, and web development to find the best practices for each and the solutions to scrap for now. The Socket web marketing toolbox needed a good cleaning. And we still have more to share.
Here are four more pragmatic, budget-friendly web solutions to get your online business presence in motion and delivering results. With so many choices to make in developing a business website, the process can seem daunting. Discerning between efficient and money-saving solutions need not create further barriers. These tips provide direction, with an eye on your target audience.
KEEP affordable theme templates for WordPress.
Sign up for WordPress and begin building your brand presence immediately. WordPress provides a free, easy-to-use content management system (CMS), which is SEO friendly and adaptable to aesthetic and functional preferences with cheap (or free) themes and plugins. Themeforest offers hundreds of beautiful template choices at affordable prices, giving you the flexibility to experiment with the look of your WordPress site. Template prices range from $35.00-$45.00, and with designer support available to customers, the installation process is stress-free.
SAVE expensive custom web design FOR LATER.
With your Themeforest tailored WordPress site climbing up search engine results, the time needed to build a custom site and consult with designers can be afforded. Making an eventual transition to a custom, professionally designed layout will set you apart from your competitors. With a larger budget and a few months to strategize, developing a custom web design will make sense down the road.
KEEP crowd-sourced logo design.
Imagine having over a hundred interpretations of your own custom-branded logo design to choose from. On sites like Crowdspring, you set the price and deadline of your logo design project, and designers from around the world compete for your approval. With logo design projects starting at $269.00, crowd-sourcing creative work on Crowdspring is a fast and affordable solution without sacrifice of flexibility or quality.
SAVE expensive branding firm FOR LATER.
Even crowd-sourced logo design requires review and approval of the drafted product, but working with a marketing firm takes the time commitment to another level. Not to mention the expense of researching target audiences for optimal brand appeal (we’ll cover that later). However, when prepared to invest in a logo design with longevity — one which surpasses Internet trends and can be adapted to fit all forms of advertising space — contracting a professional design agency will be your next step.
KEEP cloud hosting services.
Imagine your website wants to be the party of the year. Without a venue to hold all the guests and snacks (and the DJ, obviously), how would you manage it? You wouldn’t. Hosting services provide the “venue”, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Cheap but uncompromising, cloud hosting operates from a large pool of computing resources delivered over the Internet, which allows you to start small and easily scale up as you grow. With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you need now, not what you think you’ll need a year from now. Get it through Rackspace, and enjoy pay-as-you-go service that adapts to your guest list (web traffic) and booze storage (content).
SAVE dedicated servers FOR LATER.
Basically, hosting your site on a dedicated server is like renting a 50,000 seat arena when all you really need is a friend’s basement. It is a physical server that must be maintained (and paid for) in anticipation of high volumes of traffic. Like a well-known event arena, it has been around a bit longer and will provide consistent and dependable services to your guests (no leaky toilets or perturbed landlords). Also like a flashy stadium, it is more expensive to maintain and requires that you call ahead before making any changes.
KEEP free tools for website analytics.
Google Analytics provides free insight into the behavior of your web users. Discover how users found your website, how they interact with your content, and most importantly, what they are buying. Set web traffic goals and monitor the progress. Experiment with call-to-action button placement for optimal results. Develop a strong understanding of who is visiting your site, and with what frequency. Google offers an expanding array of webmaster tools that allow you to research, target, and monitor web users for free.
SAVE pricey analytics software FOR LATER.
There are marketing products for every conceivable aspect of understanding your user’s needs and characteristics, but which will you need in the beginning phases of web development? Before investing in benchmarking software that can cost thousands of dollars, consider the free Google-powered resources that allow you to make and measure quick changes to your ever-changing web site.
As the late Steve Jobs once said, “half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” With so many brilliantly affordable and time saving solutions available online, there is no excuse for giving up your startup goals. Budgeting wisely for web and logo design, hosting, and user research doesn’t require sacrificing quality. You can build an impressive Internet presence with the right tools, like Google Analytics and Themeforest, without the stress of a massive investment. Persevere to insist on quality and affordability for your business ventures, and prepare to succeed online.