Everybody knows that in order to make money online, you need to have a website. If you have a skill you can market, a product you can sell or a service you can provide, then all you need is a website and you can start making money. But many people have no idea how to get started with creating their own website, and don’t know where to begin. So I’m here to help!
There are three options when it comes to building a website in 2021.
- Hire a talented developer to create something brilliant for you (the best option if you have high budget)
- Use a packaged website builder (the best option if you have a low budget, but the worst if you want to make money via your website)
- Build a self-hosted website yourself (the best option if you have a low budget and want to make money via your website)
Hiring A Developer
Hiring a developer to build your website for you is undoubtedly the best and easiest option of the three. The pressure of building the website is off your shoulders, and an experienced professional will take your vision & content and bring it to life.
Premium website developers, who can create fast, responsive, secure, and functional websites usually charge starting from £1,200, and average around £4,000 for a website. They will create an incredible website in abut 4-6 weeks, which gives you the ability to make more money online.
There is often confusion around how much a web developer brings to the project, and how much a client should know about what they want before they hire someone. Here is what I would recommend knowing before you reach out to a developer:
- What is the goal of the site? Sales? Advertising? Blogs? What do you want the website to do for you? This should be easy to decide (you can have multiple goals!).
- What is your target user of the site? What type of person would you like to arrive on the site and think ‘oh this is exactly what I’m looking for!’. Once a good developer knows this, they will design your website so that it appeals to your target user. Knowing this before starting your website is key to having a website that converts users to customers.
- What kind of functionality do you want? A shop? booking system? A contact form? Some kind of ability for users to log in? Have an idea in mind of what you would like to have on the site. This will help your developer to create an accurate timeline and budget for the work.
Once you have these things decided, start reaching out to developers. There are a few ways that you can find developers to reach out to:
- Look at websites you like, and pop to the footer to see who built it.
- Ask friends of yours with websites who they hired and if they enjoyed working with their developer.
- Click here to check out the graduates of my Freelancer Bootcamp who are all working as freelance web developers and actively working with clients.
Send the developer a quick message with the above details, and see if it’s possible to get on a call or get a quote from them. I think a call is always a great idea as you can see if the developer is a good communicator and if you will work well together.
Here are some red flags to watch out for when speaking to a potential new developer:
- Are they listening to you? At this crucial stage, it’s important for you to do most of the talking. This is your business and your brand, so you need to be sure that the developer truly understands what you want. If you feel like the developer is not listening to what you want, at this stage, then I would not work with them.
- Do they understand your vision? A great developer will be invested in every project that they do. Are they asking questions that show that they understand what you want to achieve? Do they have their own suggestions and ideas about how you can get what you want, which you agree with?
- Have they got a good reference website? Ask the developer for a reference website they have built so that you can see their work. Check the website on mobile and tablet, as well as on a desktop. Over 50% of all web users these days are on mobile devices, and yet many developers build websites which don’t look great on mobile. If their reference website looks good on mobile then that’s a great sign.
Working with a talented website developer from the get-go is 100% the best way to go. It future-proofs your site, you can make it look exactly how you want, and you get the insight and experience of someone who makes websites all day, every day when it comes to SEO, security, design and profitability. It’s also cheaper long-term than the low cost packaged web builders which I’ll describe below.
If you are interested in hiring a developer, it’s a worthwhile investment if you have the budget! The problem here is that not all business have this budget, and because of that they are stuck and don’t know how to move forward. But there are other options!
Use a packaged website builder.
Packaged website builders are companies like Wix, SquareSpace, & Weebly etc. They allow you to build a ‘drag & drop’ website and are marketed as an easy and quick way to get your business online.
Packaged website builders do have their place in the market – but they are only right for certain website. If you want a simple website that you never intend to make any money off, then those website builders will be the best option for you. For example:
- A personal blog for friends and family
- An online CV to send to employers
- A simple website with recipes or helpful tips which you want to run as a hobby
- A standalone static website for a company which just gives the contact details etc
However, if you think you’ll ever want to grow beyond this – and want the ability to make an income from your site, then you will not only outgrow the capabilities of these website builders, but you’ll find that the cheap prices you saw on sign up, get very expensive very quickly. These companies are smart, they get you in when you’re small with cheap fees, but as you grow, those fees increase. I’ll give you an example:
- If you would like to have a WordPress.com blog then you can sign up and create your blog for free. With this free account, you will have WordPress branding and ads for WordPress on your site which users can see. You can create your blog posts, but you can’t add any functionality and can’t even add a video to your site.
- Let’s say you want to remove the intrusive WordPress.com branding from your website and be able to upload videos which you can’t do in the free version. Now you are paying €96 per year.
- Your blog is doing well, and you want to add some kind of functionality to your website so that it’s not just a blog. Something simple like for SEO, or maybe a booking calendar so that people can book in with you. Now your website will cost you €300 per year. But you won’t be able to process any payments yet or make any sales.
- You have decided you want to sell ebooks or products, and earn an income from this. Your website will now cost you €540 each year to run. You must pay this if you want to take any payments on your website.
Every additional feature will cost you an additional monthly sum, and suddenly you are stuck. Trapped with all your designs and features you can’t export or use to build your own site, at the mercy of their hair-raising fees! You’re locked in – they own your domain (your website name), your hosting (where your website lives), and you don’t have the coding knowledge to start from scratch.
But what about the middle ground? I know right at the start, you might not have the budget to hire a professional. Well, in that case you want to future-proof things as much as you can. Don’t lock yourself into an expensive but pretty prison with a packaged website builder. Instead, learn the ropes and create your own self-hosted website so that you can start your online business in the right way.
Build Your Own Self Hosted Website
This is the best option for someone who needs to create a website that makes them money, but doesn’t have the budget to hire a developer yet. Future-proof your business by creating a self-hosted website, which doesn’t use packaged website builders like the ones above.
With self-hosted websites, you buy a piece of “land” on the internet (hosting) and you build your website here. You aren’t locked into any expensive services, and you own your tech outright. If your website is like a house, then self-hosting your website is like buying your own place. You can paint the walls any shade you like, drill nails to hang photos, and add an extension if you feel like it. You can do anything you like because you own your house.
With a packaged website builder it’s like renting an apartment in a large apartment block – except your landlord increases the rent every time you get a pay rise! You don’t have the same level of control over what you can do, and moving is such a palaver that you usually just stay put.
Self-hosting is a much better option for any business, as it gives you the very best foundation for when you’re ready to grow. If you want to add an online shop, accept messages, be found on Google and plug in to your social media pages then you can do that easily. Those things are better suited to a developer, but it gives you options for when you’re ready to take the plunge and make a serious business online.
Here is a cost overview, for a self-hosted WordPress website:
- To set up the website you pay for your domain name (from 50p depending on what name you choose) and buy your hosting (from €29)
- You set up your website and create a blog. There is no branding on the website apart from your own, and you have the ability to upload videos and add any content you like. You have immediate access to 50,000 different types of functionality that you can add to your website. Shops / members areas / booking systems etc. Your price is still €29 per year.
- You decide to add a shop to sell ebooks and products. Your total cost is still €29 per year.
- People like your ebooks, so you decide to create a members area which people can pay to join and access premium content. Your total cost is still €29 per year.
- You decide to optimise your site for SEO and add adverts to it so that you can make a passive income. Your total cost is still €29 per year.
- You build out your site to have 3 membership levels, 400 products, a booking calendar for consultations, a blog, and a series of video guides. Your total cost is still €29 per year!
It’s a fact that self-hosted websites are cheaper to run and a better way to make money online. But the reason many people don’t have these is because you have to set them up from scratch yourself – and most people don’t know how to do that. The steps to creating a self-hosted website are not much more complicated than a website builder – the problem is that it’s really hard to find out how to do it. Companies would rather you pay them hundreds to do this for you, than help you do it yourself.
And that’s where I come in!
I have worked as a web developer for 10 years, and knowing how to build websites has helped me immensely in so many areas of my career. Without the skills to build a website, most of the products I have launched would just have remained ideas in my mind. I would have had no idea how to execute them. And a lot of people are in this situation – they have a great idea, excellent products, a growing business, but they don’t know where to start with building their business online.
I’ve created my “Website in a Weekend” course to teach people how to create self-hosted WordPress websites in just 2 days. This allows you to future-proof your business and avoid being trapped by expensive website builders.
This course will give you the knowledge and tools to build a basic but great-looking website yourself. One that you own, and no one can take away from you. And trust me, when you’re ready to go pro, your developer will thank you for using WordPress and creating a solid platform for them to grow your website with!
So, if you’re ready to be empowered, learn a new skill, and create your very own corner of the internet, then join the Website in a Weekend course here. We currently have a discount code which gives you £100 off the WIAW course. Enter ‘WIAW100’ at checkout!
No matter which of these three options you choose, you will have made a great step getting your business online. You can reach customers and clients globally, and scale and adapt your business as you gain new customers and clients.
I hope this has helped you to decide which option is best for you! If you have any questions then just leave them in the comments below.