Web design options

The relentlessly helpful® blog by John Espirian

31 October 2018
Web design options

Before you can blog, you need an online space you control.

The best place to blog for your business is on your own website – so before you dig in to my business blogging guide, you need to set up that online space. This post covers some options for getting started.

Don’t leap to an expensive professional website design until your business processes are well established. If you’re ready to invest, I’ve got a couple of great design agencies for you.

📚 This post is part of my business blogging guide.

Free option – create a free website or use social media.

You can blog for free in two main ways:

  • Set up a free website
  • Use social media to publish articles

Create a free website.

No serious business will run on a free website. Perhaps it may be of value if you’re testing the viability of a new business, but even then I wouldn’t go down this route.

You can set up a free website via WordPress.com or Blogger.

Use social media to publish articles.

If you’re on LinkedIn, use the ‘Write an article’ button to publish your own blog content for free.

I recommend using LinkedIn in this way to republish content that you’ve already shared on your own website – but if you don’t have a website, publishing direct to LinkedIn is fine to start with.

The same advice applies to Medium. You can set up for free and then publish “Stories” there.

My business blogging guide includes a section on republishing to LinkedIn and Medium.

Low-cost option – pay for hosting and create your own website.

This is the best place to start for almost all businesses.

You pay for your own web hosting and get a site that belongs to you. Then you can blog as much as you want, safe in the knowledge that that content is in a space you control.

My recommended combo is SiteGround for hosting and WordPress for the website platform.

I’ve been with SiteGround since the start of 2017 and they’ve been fab. WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system and powers more than 25% of all websites.

You also need to pay for a domain name (the unique web address that appears in the browser bar, e.g. espirian.co.uk, apple.com).

Web hosting should cost less than £100 per year.

A domain name should cost less than £10 per year.

These are the bare minimums.

Developing a WordPress website takes time and can have costs, e.g. you may need to buy a visual ‘theme’ to make the site look nice, or you may need to hire someone to create some graphics or do maintenance work for you.

Even if you have a more substantial budget, this DIY approach is a good option for the early stages of your business. You’ll still be finding your way with your brand identity and the tone of voice of your content.

Only when those things are firmly bedded in and working well should you shoot for the stars and get a full website build from a design agency.

Pro option – hire a web design agency.

If you’ve outgrown the DIY routes above and want a slick, custom-made design for your website, you’ll need to engage a professional designer or web design agency.

For brevity I’m going to stick to recommending only a couple of web design agencies. I know plenty of web designers, but I don’t want to turn this into a list of links.

Pro design costs.

A professional website from agencies like the ones below will cost in the low to mid thousands of pounds. This is why it’s important to have your business identity and processes nailed before you invest.

Only if you’re asking for unusual or advanced ecommerce features should a website cost you more than £10K.

Jammy Digital – web design agency.

Martin and Lyndsay are web designers who build high-performing websites. They also create outstanding written and podcast content, which is how I first discovered them.

I’m a member of their Make Your Mark Online membership community, which helps small business owners with ongoing support and best-practice advice on good web design. This is a good option if you don’t want to commit to paying for a full website design but need help to improve what you’ve got already.


How much does it cost for a website? by Jammy Digital

Kabo Creative – web design agency.

Penni and Jo produce amazing content and have great style in their designs. Their business is newer than Jammy Digital, but their quality isn’t in question. Some of their content looks as though it was produced by HubSpot (a multi-million-dollar business).

Kabo Creative can also work on separate design projects. So, even if you don’t need a full website, they could help you with your content.

Payment models are based either on a traditional project fee (50% upfront, 50% on completion) or on a smaller upfront fee for SMEs, with a larger monthly fee for 1–2 years. This is like a payment package that makes the service accessible to smaller businesses who may not have a large amount to invest at the start of a project.


How to drive traffic to your business website by Kabo Creative

Umbrella Digital Media.

Imogen works best with small business owners who need guidance on all stages of web design, development and maintenance.

She makes the process of website creation easy by showing non-techie clients what they need to know. Then she helps them add more features that allow them to grow their business, turning the website into an asset rather than a cost.

I love the notion of being “under the umbrella”, with Imogen as the expert guide on a path to a better website.


How to use psychology to create the best homepage
by Umbrella Digital Media

This Demanding Life.

Holly works with start-ups and small businesses who need help to create a WordPress website that tells a consistent story about what they do and why it matters.

As a former social media strategist and marketing consultant, Holly knows about the importance of personal branding and putting the right message out into the world.


9 ways to improve your website immediately by This Demanding Life

Let’s wrap up.

We could all benefit from producing helpful content to promote our businesses, and the best place to publish that content is on a website you control.

Even if you have a small budget, I’d strongly recommend paying for your own hosting and setting up a WordPress website.

If your business is well established and you’re ready to have a web presence with real style, choose a pro design agency.

OK, ready to blog?

Once you have an online space that you can control, you’re ready to start blogging so that you can establish some authority in your industry.

Click the button below and let’s start the guide proper.

Start the blogging guide


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John Espirian

I’m the relentlessly helpful®️ LinkedIn nerd and author of Content DNA

I teach business owners how to be noticed, remembered and preferred.

Espresso+ is a safe space to learn how to ethically promote your business online and get better results on LinkedIn.

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