What’s the cheapest way to build a quality website

Samantha, Kent

Ouch, this is really piling on the pressure, Samantha.  Okay, I will try my best to answer this for you as simply as I can.

As an SME the average amount of money you have to spend on a 20-page website is roughly between £2,000 – £3,500.  This is not taking into consideration lead magnets, email automation, conversion rate optimisation and proper goal tracking.  All of those I will, unfortunately, have to explain later.

As a digital marketer who has run his digital agency since 2006 (wow, I’m getting old) I have picked up a few things that really helps me deliver a quality product for an affordable price.

So although others may have their own opinion, this is mine.  Yes, this is the basic version.

Firstly, you need to find a team, and in your team, you should have the following:

  • Content Writer
  • Graphic Designer
  • SEO Expert
  • Web Designer
  • Project Manager

Now, this does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money, you can hire each member for very specific task through freelancing.

First, let’s start with how you would like your website to look.  Now I am a big believer that life is complicated enough, and in a complicated business like web design, that can have lots of twist and turns, clear and concise in good.

So first I want you to go onto www.themeforest.com and choose a WordPress theme.  No, your website will look nothing like this theme in the end but you need a place to start, and this is as good a place as any.

Right now you are looking for a theme that has great functionality.  Do the images appear from left to right, is there a parallax section, is the navigation really good, do you like the layout design?  These things are incredibly important to think off first because these are the things that take days to build.

Once you have chosen a theme you like, hire your graphic designer and your content writer.

Graphic designer

Your graphic designer should help you with the logo, illustrations, images and the creation of the home page, nothing else.  Your graphic designer is not your web designer so do not fall for his charms.  Yes, he will try to sell you a website but stay strong.

You are looking for your graphic designer to understand the emotional response you want your customers to feel when they visit your website.  Not everyone can afford a “branding” expert so make sure that you use this opportunity to understand how you want your business to look and the type of customer you want to attract.

Show your graphic designer the template framework that you would like the design to fit into and ask him/her to create the home page.

Content writer

You do not want to hire a content writer that just writes articles; you want a content writer specifically for websites.  Your content writer must understand the tone you want to create, must be able to create catch headlines and to be able to condense what you are trying to say in small, yet powerful punchy words.

Use your content writer to help you create the content for the home page, nothing more at this stage.

With the help of your graphic designer and content designer, you should be able to create a home page you are happy with, and you can afford.

At this point, it’s always a good idea (if you have the budget) to also create the about us page, main service page and contact us page using the same process as above.

Next onto the web designer

As an SME the best value web designers are WordPress web designers.  Another benefit is that by using WordPress, with minimal training, you can manage the content yourself as you will undoubtedly want to make changes later on and WordPress allows you to do it with the minimum of fuss.  Especially as you have chosen a template, which is designed for people who wish to manage their own website content.

Now hire your web designer along with your project manager

Project Manager

From now on you need to work closely with your project manager.  Although you may feel like building a website is a simple task, given how many “build your own website” companies there are.  You are not looking for basic; you are looking for quality.

At this stage, you need to list all the things you want your website to do.

Maybe you would like an automated email system, lead magnets, and an advanced search facility, basically, something fantastic that separates you from the rest of your competitors.  We call it a digital asset.

Spend money on your project manager and let him/her help you with all the confusing stuff.

You web designer should not be your concern, only the project manager.  Create a deadline and set a budget from the start and work to that budget.  Make sure your project manager has agreed on the terms with the web designer and that he/she is willing to sign an SLA agreement (services agreement).  This means that you and designer know exactly what you can expect from the project.

At this stage, you should feel quite smug.  You know what everyone is doing; you have a budget in place, a set list of tasks with an SLA agreement.

The next step is the SEO expert

Think about how much budget you have for marketing over the 12 months and find a reliable SEO expert to choose keywords that have short and medium terms goals based on that budget.

If you have chosen a template then your blog normally comes with it, so don’t worry about any design aspects from your SEO expert.  They are simply there to help with keyword research and on page SEO.

From this stage, you need your content writer and SEO expert to work together creating your content.  This way you do not have to worry about your content writer having to rewrite any content further on down the line for SEO purposes.

In WordPress, there is a plugin (don’t worry if you don’t know what that means) called SEO Yoast.  Ask you web designer to add the plugin, Smush for image compression and anything else that can either help the websites speed or on page SEO.

Moving forward you then just follow the guidance of the project manager.   Everything goes through him, and your focus is on managing his work and making sure that everything he/she does is explained clearly to you, so there are no funny surprises.

I hope that helps Samantha and best of luck.

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