Most start-ups cannot afford the luxuries of ordering a custom website build-out or paying a retainer to an online marketing agency. I'd even venture to say that the thought of building a website is off-putting for most would-be business owners. However, fear not my aspiring entrepreneurs, you don't need big money to look like a big company.
1. Use inexpensive website services to launch in minutes. Programmers can cost a fortune and take an exorbitant amount of development time—two resources a start-up rarely has at it's disposal. Avoid both of these pitfalls by using services such as Weebly or Yola. For a few dollars a month, you can in minutes have a professional-looking, fully functional website up and running without any programming skills. If you can drag, drop, type, and upload, you too can launch a website.
2. Don't build it, "app" it! Need to add an e-commerce store? Use Shopify.com. Need to accept payments? Paypal is the answer. Want to provide live customer service online? Consider BoldChat. Bottom line: don't be so quick to plan out and build custom website features and applications. In today's world there is an inexpensive app—or subscription-based service provider—for almost every online business need.
3. 'Get found' in web searches utilizing inexpensive SEO tactics. Search engine optimization is key to garnering traffic to your website. Google and Facebook ads help, however, getting your brand to the top of organic search result rankings is a must. Consider services such as Web.com, MarketingZen.com or Wpromote.com to launch SEO campaigns quickly and inexpensively. Don't forget to tattoo your URL on everything. Online videos, business cards, e-mail signatures, guest blogs, online directories—anything and everything should list both call to action messaging and your domain name.
Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, author (Never Get a 'Real' Job), TV commentator and founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.