Updated: Sep 23
As someone who builds websites across multiple industries and platforms for clients, I am a firm believer that not every business needs a website. As a business owner, we take on so many expenses and often times, though the idea of having a site is great, I think an informed cost/benefit analysis is a good use of time.
For those who may be unfamiliar the cost of launching a website can add up quickly. There is the cost of the domain which can range anywhere from $12.99/yr on up. The cost of hosting the site can be as low as $8.99/mo to upwards of $45/mo depending on what you feel your business needs really are.
Of course, each hosting platform runs periodic discounts (think holiday/change of season specials) to give users a break off the price, but in order to cash in on these you normally have to pay for a year, or two (or in the case of Godaddy you must pay for a 3-year term) in order to reap the benefits. Kudos to you if, as a new business, you have 3 years of tech expenses in the tuck... but in your earlier stages, there is probably a better way to distribute funds. I will cover this is more depth in a later piece.
Additional costs will include hosting a mailbox with your business domain, e.g., email@example.com. You spent all this money on hosting and building a site you may decide that having a non @gmail or @yahoo account is what you want straight out the gate - though on the backend, most are connected to Google (stick a pin, I'll revisit in the future). If you are planning to accept payments via your website, there is usually a processing fee of some sort. You will easily spend $350-400 or more, especially if you hire someone to design the site for you. Note, this all may be before you make one dollar with your company.
The point that I am getting at is that you have options. Social media is ah-mazing, and most importantly, it's free*. I highly recommend those who have that talent, to leverage that space and build an audience - - as for us, ehh, we are still a work in progress. However, if you are reading this and still are yearning for a website, here's a #ghinkshack: Google Sites.
Allow me to explain.
(Short backstory) Collaborated on a project with a former colleague for my w2, and she suggested we set up a site via Google Sites - - didn't know it was a thing at the time. We did what we could with it's limited design options, but it worked for the project at hand. Fast-forward months later, and I am in the process of launching my own website. Now even though I know how to create on other platforms, I really wanted to save some money (i.e., be cheap) so I was curious if Google Sites had the capability of connecting your own domain to its existing platform, for free (think www.ghinks.com versus www.ghinks.com/google-sites)
It took me about two weeks to figure it out, but alas I found success!
We have since moved on, but using Sites bought me time. Time that allowed me to be more intentional about my business needs and use of funds.
Via Google Sites, you can purchase a domain (which is not free), design a website, and host that very website via that platform at the very low cost of whatever you paid for the domain.
Just know that it has very primal (read: limited) design capabilities, but with a little imagination, Canva, Procreate, or whatever your design tool of choice, you can do some very creative things to set up a minimalist website. The reason I like this option, even as a simple landing page, is because it allows you to determine whether your business truly needs a site without bleeding money.
I will probably create a separate post to walk you through how to actually set it up.
More to come...