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How Can I Create A Website For Free?
8 min read

How can I create a website for free?

It’s almost unthinkable these days to start or run a small business without it having a website. A good website enables businesses of all types to attract customers. And even if you don’t sell online, potential customers will probably want to visit your website to check you out before deciding whether to buy from you or not.

However, getting a web agency to create a smart new website for your business doesn’t come cheap and you may not have the money. The solution could be to create your own website, which (in reality) might not be free, but it needn’t cost you a small fortune either.

Creating a website for free: The pros

  • Obviously, the main advantage of creating your own website is it could save you anywhere between £1,000 and £5,000 (or more).
  • Creating your own website also means you can choose when and where to work on it, and at your own pace, to your own deadline. No agency meetings.
  • You should be best placed to know what website best represents your business.
  • And if you don’t stray too far away from using a good readymade template, you may be able to create a decent website, even if you lack experience. The process is reasonably easy, while advice and support is available.

Creating a website for free: The cons

  • Not everyone has what it takes to create their own website. Create a poor website and you could fail to attract customers or put some people off.
  • If you lack skill, some low-cost self-made websites can look basic and much the same as many others.
  • Your DIY website may not be fully responsive (so it looks good on all devices) or accessible (so it can be understood by most people), which may drive away many potential customers.
  • If you don’t know how to optimise your website for search engines such as Google, you’ll fail to attract many potential website visitors.
  • Creating your own free website could take up many days or weeks of your time, time that you could use to do other things.
creating a website for free

Can I really create a business website for free?

The short answer is no – not for the longer term, and not without the website builder having an annoying presence on your site. Some DIY website building solutions offer free trials lasting for days, weeks or even months, but after that, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription to keep your website live. Other options provide very low introductory offers, but again, you’ll ultimately need to pay a monthly subscription (£5-£15 or more; a monthly subscription for Shopify, which is popular with online sellers, starts at £19).

When you use a DIY website-builder solution, you normally get access to a library of free high-quality royalty-free images that you can use on your website, which will save you lots of money (you can also add your own images, if the quality is high enough).

You also normally get use of a professionally designed website template, which can save you lots of time and ensure that your website looks good, as long as you don’t radically change colours, typefaces, page designs, etc. There are apps that enable you to create a business logo for free/low cost. 

Best low-cost and free website builders

If you’re strapped for cash but believe you can make a good job of building your own small-business website (or at least want to give it a try), here are just a few of the best website builder options (although many others are available, so search online before making your choice).

  • Wix

    Used in 190 countries and available in 30 languages, Wix is reported to be the world’s biggest website builder, “powering more than seven million websites”. Wix offers 800+ website templates to “help get you started on your website creation journey”. Every day, about 45,000 people start to build a new website using Wix.

  • GoDaddy

    GoDaddy started as a website domain registration company, but it expanded into website creation and e-commerce. It’s reportedly “trusted by 21+ million customers around the world”. GoDaddy offers online tools for building your own website, as well as hosting, email and marketing options to “help owners grow their business”.

  • Ionos

    With Ionos, you can choose from 400+ website design templates to create a website with your own domain (free for the first year). Template designs offer plenty of flexibility and you can choose images from a large royalty-free library. Create your website with the Ionos website builder and you’ll pay between £9 and £25 a month, depending on your package and the features you need.

  • Site123

    According to Site123, its “advanced wizard, with its ready-made styles and layouts, will teach you how to make a website and help you set up a perfect online presence with practically no effort”. You upload your words and images and Site123 will help you to “come up with a totally responsive, search-engine-optimized website”. Most choose Site123’s Premium Package, which comes with a free domain for one year and e-commerce functionality.

  • Squarespace

    Use Squarespace and you get access to award-winning customisable website templates and free library images. After a free 14-day trial, monthly subscriptions start at £10. According to Squarespace: “Every website or online store comes with integrated features and useful guides that help maximise [your] prominence among search results.” Squarespace users also get access to a free online business logo maker.  

How to build your own low-cost website checklist

So, we’ve looked at the pros and cons of creating your own low-cost website. You have an idea of the likely costs and some of the popular options many small businesses choose to create their own low-cost website. You’ve decided to have a go yourself, but you’re not sure what it involves. Here is a checklist of key tasks for small business website design.

Look at other small business websites
Find ones that you like and ones that you don’t like. Try to understand why and use that knowledge to help make your own website as good as you can make it.

Compare your DIY website builder options
Many describe themselves as free, but they’re not really free after an initial period. And you may not get the best domain name or be able to prevent adverts. Carefully consider what you’ll get for your money and look for the best deals.

Choose your package and a domain
Some website builder basic packages have been created for new or micro businesses and it can be wise to start with one of those. You may get a domain name and website address as part of that package (you’ll have to register one if not). If you already own a domain name, you should be able to transfer it. Many packages include email addresses linked to your URL/business name.

Think about your branding
If your business doesn’t have any branding (ie its own colours, typefaces, logo, strapline, etc), you’ll either need to pay a professional to do it (which should bring better results) or do it yourself. For consistency (which is key), you could pick a website template and copy its colours and typefaces. Free business logo maker tools are available online.

Pick your template
Usually, you can search by business type or sector for templates to use or adapt. You can also add, delete and rearrange pages and add images and features to your pages. If you lack knowledge, don’t stray too far away from the template, otherwise your website could end up looking like a “dog’s dinner”. Stick with recommended colour palettes, suggested fonts and page layouts.

Write your copy
Having chosen your template, you’ll be able to see what copy you need to write. Keep the language simple, concise, professional and friendly. Engage customers. Put across your business and what it sells in the best possible way. Give potential customers clear reasons to choose you and let your business’s personality shine through.

Finesse your copy
Keep on writing and editing until you end up with high-quality, error-free copy that’s rich in keywords that would help visitors to find you via Google. Your keywords are likely to centre on what you sell and possibly your location. Show the copy to others to get their feedback (include existing or potential customers – their opinions are key).

Build and launch your website
Go through each page of your template, uploading your copy and images. If you have any questions or run into any difficulties, ask your template provider for assistance. Amend copy to better fit if necessary. Make sure your website pages look good whatever device they’re viewed on. Keep it simple. Once you’re happy, launch your website and publicise it. Regularly update and improve your website where possible.   

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