If you’re just starting out with your small business, there’s no doubt that money can be pretty tight. You might feel like you have no option but to totally forgo a website until you start making some money, but consider how powerful of a marketing tool you’re missing out on. Instead of thinking you need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to hire a big web shop, I recommend considering some more affordable options (at least in the interim).

Here are some ideas to get you up and running with a small business website when you have a small (or no!) budget.

Starting it out with a little self-promotion

If you have a medium-sized budget (we’re talking $3000ish) and want to for sure work with a pro to get your site up and running, consider a Squarespace template-based site service (like I offer!). This gives you the best of both worlds: you’ll get a beautiful, polished site with some serious web strategy in mind, without paying big agency prices for a full-fledged website built from the ground up.

Consider going the DIY route with platforms like Squarespace or Shopify

Platforms like Squarespace and Shopify are both very much template based, so if you need to get up and running quickly and you absolutely don’t have the budget for a pro of any kind, these might be a good route to go. Both of these options are self-hosted, meaning that you won’t have to figure out a hosting package, and you’ll be able to pretty easily select and customize a pre-made template on both platforms. As a bonus, they both have really good support articles and support teams in case you get stuck. Squarespace is good for a basic content site, and if you want to get up and running selling a product, Shopify can be a good way to go.

Hire someone who is just starting out

If you have a few dollars to spend, consider hiring a student or a freelancer who is just starting out. I know when I was just beginning my freelance journey, I would have LOVED to get a real world project to add to my portfolio, and a lot of times, I’d really go above and beyond what I was charging to make sure the project was a success. But please, please, please do not ask these students or beginning freelancers to do the work for free! This option assumes you have a small budget: everyone should be compensated for their time spent working for you (but I’m certain you already knew that 😃).

Maybe bartering makes sense

Depending on your service or product, you might want to consider bartering with a freelance designer or small web shop. If you strike a deal that ends up being beneficial for both sides, just make sure you get your agreement in writing!