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Top 3 tips on how to create your website - cheaply and professionally

Thought Leader

Top 3 tips on how to create your website - cheaply and professionally

I have been an entrepreneur for 13 years and have created several websites for both businesses that have worked - and businesses that have failed! In this time I have learnt a thing or two about websites and I can give you some tips on how to save money when developing your own.

Tip 1 - do the thinking and create the wire-frames

Websites become expensive when you have to pay someone else to do the thinking for you, but what do they actually do? A website designer will sit with you for hours and extract from your mind what you think to be 'the perfect website'.

Firstly, visit websites that you absolutely love and write down what you love about them. After that visit websites that you actually don't like and write down what you don't like about them. Once you have an idea of the 'dos and dont's', it's time to think about yours. I would suggest that you visit the website Balsmiq will help you to create the wire-frames for your website. But what is a wire-fame?

Wikipedia cites it as " an image or set of images which displays the functional elements of a website or page, typically used for planning a site's structure and functionality". Creating the wire-frames is like drawing a house with lines. You don't finish it with all of the pretty colours and nice images but you create the skeleton of the site. Using the wire-frames, you think about where the buttons should go and where images should be, etc..

Balsamiq also provides options for you to add links, so that when you click on SEND, a new page should appear with the message 'YOUR MESSAGE WAS SENT. THANK FOR GETTING IN TOUCH!' It's much easier than it sound, promise! I advise that you spend a lot of time on this process because once you have all the buttons, links, picture spaces etc, it's much easier and CHEAPER to get your site developed.

Now, once you have created the wire-frames, print them all out and put on the wall to visualise your site. Pretend it's real and test that if you click on a button, it should do something. Does it open a new page, did you create this new page? What does it say on this page? These are the questions you need to ask yourself, as if you have small mistakes and navigation issues solved at this stage you will save yourself a lot of time and money.

This is the most difficult (and expensive) part of creating the website.

Tip 2 - bring your vision to life and make it pretty

Hurray! You now have the wire-frames saved in a PDF where you have mapped out all the pages, the buttons locations, images, text areas, etc. Now it's time to make it pretty. Your next step is to find a graphic designer (not a website developer) to do the JPEG images for you.

For this you have 2 options:

- find a talented friend that can do them for FREE
- go to websites which showcase designers from all over the world that can do designs for you at a very low price.

Good websites to visit are, or You will be able to add your wire-frames to the site, describe what you want and ask for graphic designers to do the work for you.From there designers will bid for work. From my personal experience, last time that I used I paid only $50 (FIFTY DOLLARS!) for a website to be designed and I used free trial of 30 days to create the site.

Once the designer has turned your skeleton wire-frames into an image, with nice photos and text, you must print it out again and put on the wall and test it. Pretend the buttons work, if you click, where does it take you? Are all pages with links correctly? This is a crucial step as so many silly mistakes are made that are much harder to resolve later. If everything is working, then it's time to turn the JPEG images into a website.

Tip 3 - hire a developer

Once you have finished the designs and 'tested' everything, it's time to create your site. Again, you can find a developer on freelance websites. I use a lot because it's easy, simple and payment is secure.

DO NOT negotiate outside of the freelancers websites. If something goes wrong, there is no way you can recover the money if you paid the freelancer directly. I made the mistake of paying someone directly via PayPal, instead of using the Elance system and as soon as the payment was made I never heard from the freelancer again, so make sure you do things properly and all communication is made via the website.

The easiest way to develop a website is to make sure you use an example of a website that you admire.The more thinking you do before you contact the developer the cheaper it's going to cost you and the faster the delivery.

Rafael dos Santos is a Brazilian multi-award winning entrepreneur, founder of This Foreigner Can, a social enterprise that helps migrants to improve their lives by training them to become entrepreneurs. You can chat with him and his team on Twitter or take a look at Facebook.
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Well Connected

This is a very informative and interesting post! I'm going to build a website, but unfortunately, I don't have any experience. I have already chosen one of the free website builders  and I hope for a good result. Your article has helped me to find out many useful things that I should take into account. Thanks a lot!

Well Connected

Nowadays a lot of people build their websites by themselves, so your tips are very relevant. Thanks! Also I've recently found out about modern projects that focus on new directions in website building like Of course, some people find these projects to be pretty simple, but in my opinion, they offer a new approach that will become more and more popular among web designers.