As a startup, you're constantly dealing with razor-thin budgets that result in compromises on many features that most businesses take for granted. It used to require a six-figure budget to maintain a professionally-designed website capable of handling a ton of global traffic.
Things have changed, and here are a few features that will have your startup maintaining a professionally designed website that loads lightening fast around the globe and can handle massive traffic spikes for those moments you needs it the most - all for less than two dollars per day!
Use a Website Design Template ($20-$55 one time purchase)
Don't ever spend a dime or one minute of your time on building a website from scratch. There are hundreds of thousands of professionally designed website templates out there that even $100M+ revenue companies are using. Templates on websites like Theme Forest range from just $20-$55 dollars, which means for an extremely low one-time fee your website can have a professional look and feel.
There are three important things to remember when shopping for website templates.
First, you must choose a template that requires no customization beyond changing the template's text and images. Working within the template constraints means you can finish your website from purchase to launch in 1-2 hours, provided you already have the content ready. Otherwise, even the most simple-sounding custom features can crash the site or take weeks to perfect.
Second, make sure the template is responsive. This means it functions well on tablets and mobile devices. No matter what kind of business you are, there will be more mobile traffic than you can imagine.
Third, you must make sure the template loads fast out of the gate. Input the template URL into a speed testing site like GT Metrix and choose the fastest loading template. This might be the most important factor to consider.
Implement a Content Delivery Network ($20/mo)
Website load speeds are more important than ever considering expectations for instant content have never been higher. There's only so much optimization you can do on your own through website code and image sizes before you hit a ceiling. The only way to break through that ceiling and maintain a fast load time with users around the world is with a CDN.
It sounds super fancy and expensive, but a typical startup website won't cost more than $20 per month to maintain a content delivery network.
Here's how it works: A user's geographical distance to your website server still makes a massive difference in load times, and a CDN will basically replicate your website content across servers around the globe. This means that a potential customer in Australia won't have to wait for your content to load from the server you rent in Utah because your content is on a CDN that has a server in Australia.
A CDN will cut precious seconds off your load time, resulting in more visitors staying on your website.
Rent a Virtual Private Server ($20/mo)
Choosing your hosting is important and don't fall for that seductive $5/month hosting offer. Your website is hanging out on a server somewhere, and you don't want to be crammed onto a server with a ton of other websites.
Think of a server like the NYC subway - getting on a crowded car sucks, especially when you're trying to fit on with a ton of your best friends. It doesn't take long before some friends can't fit on board and have to wait for the next train, or some crazy person causes a ruckus and delays the train for everyone.
Servers work more or less the same way. Having a ton of sites on the same servers can clog traffic for people trying to access sites on that server. Even worse, one website might get a virus or other fatal error that could take down everyone on the entire server!
I learned about a VPS the hard way when a company video went viral with 12M views in four days. Our shared server had made it through other smaller viral moments (3M & 4M views) like a champ, but the 12M views sent it sinking like a rock.
A VPS is basically your very own train with no crazies to take you down. It sounds expensive, but a solid VPS can be rented for $20 per month and have enough power to handle large traffic spikes for those unforeseen moments that should be a time of celebration - not scrambling through calls with your hosting company support center.
There's never been a better time to start a company, because it has never been less expensive to maintain a professional business presence. Utilize a free website platform like WordPress and spend the roughly $1.33 per day to maintain a lightening fast, professional company website.
It is hard enough for startups to get someone to hear their pitch or check out the website, so be sure you spend the few bucks it takes to deliver a presence that makes it worth sticking around.