Is it really possible to build a company website in just an hour?
Not if you want a custom design, custom programming, and a custom marketing plan, no.
You’ll spend weeks, maybe even months, designing your website. And unless you’re doing it yourself, it’ll cost thousands of dollars.
Based on 2018 data, a custom website for a medium-size company can cost around $30,000, with prices as high as $50,000 for custom applications and eCommerce.
That’s because a website from scratch is just much, much more expensive than one from pre-built modules.
But sometimes all you care about is getting something up in a hurry.
You want it to look good, sure, but it doesn’t have to be entirely unique. It just has to work and buy you some time.
Building a quick website will free up more time for you to focus on finding clients and building your business.
If that’s the case, then yes, you can absolutely build a company website in less than an hour.
All you need is a hosting company with the right software, a Content Management System (CMS) to keep you from having to write any code, and a nice template to make everything look good.
Here are the best resources to help you put it all together.
Want to keep your website online?
Then you’ll need a hosting solution. Today’s hosting companies are very affordable, and they’ll worry about the technical details so you can focus on keeping your site up to date.
Most of these offer fast installs for different Content Management Systems, which we’ll cover below.
Dreamhost has been one of the biggest players in the hosting market for years. They have solid service and an affordable pricing scheme starting at just a few dollars a month.
One of their best offering is their WordPress hosting. You can also use their one-click install for WordPress.
Another of the discount hosting options is HostGator. Like Bluehost, a lot of bloggers use them and recommend their services.
They have a few different plans depending on whether you’re looking to run a WordPress blog or something more complex.
3. WP Engine
If you already know you’re going to use WordPress, consider checking into WP Engine. Instead of offering hosting for different types of platforms, they focus exclusively on WordPress—and do an excellent job.
Last, but not least, is Siteground. While they have cheap plans like other platforms, they’re most known for scalability. They can handle websites of all sizes and can grow as your site grows.
Now, it’s worth noting that not every CMS needs a hosting solution since a few provide it themselves. Let’s look at each one next.
Content management system (CMS)
By far the fastest way to set up a powerful, well-organized website is to use a content management system (CMS).
Developers love to argue about exactly what constitutes a CMS, but in practical terms, it boils down to this: with a CMS, you don’t have to write any code.
You can log in to your website, create new pages, categorize them in different ways, edit them, add pictures, and change almost anything.
In the old days, you’d have to do this all by editing HTML or PHP. A CMS removes that step and lets you edit without understanding a lick of code. It gives you a foundation that lets you build a website in minutes, not weeks.
Today, WordPress dominates the CMS market with nearly 51% market share. Drupal and Joomla! claim very distant second and third place, with 5% and 3% of the market, respectively.
These are the most popular CMS platforms.
WordPress is the CMS of choice for bloggers around the world, and it’s an incredible piece of software. It’s flexible, supported by a passionate developer community, and best of all, free.
It’s built for blogging, but you can download thousands of templates and plugins (both paid and free) to make it do just about anything.
That said, it is built with developers in mind. While it’s definitely one of the most powerful CMS options you can find, it’s not the most user-friendly if you’re afraid of code.
Although Drupal has a somewhat higher learning curve than WordPress, it’s a powerful and customizable CMS, and it’s also totally free.
Like WordPress, Drupal also has an active developer community that builds plugins and themes.
Although the framework is slightly more advanced, Drupal still works similarly to other CMS platforms in that it allows you to “mod” it with add-ons.
The upside of using Drupal’s more advanced platform is that it’s extremely flexible and dynamic, which is perfect for developing more advanced websites and applications.
Whereas WordPress is designed for blogging, Drupal easily supports communities, eCommerce stores, and almost anything else you can imagine.
The downside is it doesn’t include much functionality out-of-the-box, unlike most of the other CMS platforms on this list.
Joomla! is Drupal’s closest competitor, and it’s also a great platform for anyone looking to build anything from a simple static website to a robust online user community.
Like the others, it uses plugins, also called extensions and templates, to expand the functionality of the base platform, and it’s totally free.
The advantage of Joomla! is that it does a lot straight out of the box, and you can be adding pages to your website and fiddling with the design within minutes.
It’s easy-to-use, powerful, and with the right modules, you can make it do almost anything.
The downside is that there aren’t quite as many modules as Drupal and WordPress.
Also, if you’re looking for an ultra-simple website, you might be overwhelmed with everything Joomla! gives you.
If you want something that’s even easier than the options we’ve shown you thus far, then consider checking out an all-in-one hosted CMS, such as Squarespace.
With Squarespace, you simply buy an account and start building your website. You can have it up and running for less than $20/month, and you don’t have to install anything.
The great part of Squarespace is that it’s incredibly fast, and you don’t need to use any code.
The downside: it’s not free. But when compared to a custom-designed site, it’s still a good deal for most smaller websites.
If you’re looking for something that includes the best of both worlds, consider checking out Sitejet.
Similar to Squarespace, Sitejet handles all the hosting for a few dollars a month. And like Squarespace, you can quickly design your own site using the what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) builder.
But the advantage of Sitejet over other platforms is that it includes the ability to add custom code.
Even if you don’t understand code, this can be helpful in case you need to hire a developer later on to add new functionality to your site.
Okay, so this is completely different than the others on this list. But depending on your needs, it might just work.
If you’re looking just to create a company blog, Medium might be perfect for you. All you need to do is set up an account, and Medium handles everything, from hosting to design to updates.
It’s also free.
Of course, that comes with a lot of downsides. First off, it’s just a blog. You can’t add a store or fancy “contact us” page, for example. And it’s also run by Medium—so if their rules change, your traffic could disappear overnight.
But if all you want is a simple blog to use for your business, this is definitely the fastest option on the list.
Shopping carts and eCommerce
Technically, shopping carts and other types of e-commerce software are another type of CMS.
They are such a specific type though, and they’re so essential for many companies, that I decided to put them in a separate section.
The eCommerce world is a bit more diverse, too. WooCommerce takes first place with 21%, Shopify second with 18%, and Magento rounds off the top three with 13% market share.
If you’re selling any type of physical products or services with your website, you might want to consider some of these packages.
WooCommerce was designed by WooThemes back in 2011. But in 2015, Automattic—the team behind WordPress.com—purchased the software.
It runs seamlessly with WordPress, which means you get all the benefits that go with it. Namely, you can use WordPress plugins to add all kinds of features, and adding a built-in blog is a cinch.
Shopify is one of the biggest players in the space, running over half a million sites. It’s one of the most trusted platforms for an eCommerce store.
Its primary limitations are that it’s designed mostly for smaller sellers, so if you’re running a big enterprise this might not be the best solution for you.
Magento is a major player in the eCommerce market, but if you’re just starting out it’s probably not the best option. It’s an enterprise-level platform that works with industry giants like Coca-Cola.
The great news is that you can do just about anything with Magento, and if you’re running a premier-level business you can’t go wrong.
But if you’re just looking to sell some homemade candles—Magento will probably be a bit overwhelming.
PrestaShop is a smaller player in the eCommerce space, with 5% market share—but it still has a dedicated user base who rave about its functionality.
One of the best parts of PrestaShop is that it’s open-source software, so you can download and use it completely free.
Last but not least is BigCommerce. It doesn’t dominate the industry like WooCommerce or Shopify, but it’s carving out its own niches.
You’ll find options for WordPress, B2B sales, and other features.
Content management systems usually come with built-in designs and themes, but you’ll probably want one that’s better suited to your business.
For most CMS’s, there are thousands of free themes available for you to download and use, but in general, the premium themes have the nicest designs and offer the most functionality.
Also, because premium themes cost money, fewer people are using them overall, meaning it’s less likely someone else will use your same design.
Here are a few marketplaces that offer great CMS themes.
16. Theme Forest
Owned by Envato, Theme Forest is an enormous marketplace of themes and templates for all types of websites.
Currently, they have themes for WordPress, Joomla, and Magento, as well as HTML and PSD website templates that don’t require a CMS.
17. Template Monster
Perhaps the largest collection of high-quality templates and themes on the web is Template Monster.
It’s another place you should look if you’re shopping for a quick design.
They have templates for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, WooCommerce, Magento, and PrestaShop, as well as half a dozen other Content Management Systems.
You can also buy logo templates, turnkey websites, stock music and just about everything you need to get a website up and running fast.
Taking the prize for the most energetic and exciting theme marketplace, RocketTheme offers solutions for Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, and Magento, as well as Grav and phpBB3.
19. Elegant Themes
If you’re looking for themes just for WordPress, look no further than Elegant Themes. They have a huge selection of designs for the platform, including their flagship WYSIWYG editor Divi.
Divi is one of the best options out there for transforming WordPress into an intuitive, easy-to-use CMS for the non-technical.
Logo and Identity
If your company doesn’t have a web-ready logo, then you’ll need to pay someone to create one for you.
With logo houses, there are essentially two choices, ready-made design or from scratch.
Here are the top two picks.
20. 99 Designs
99 designs was one of the first websites to bring the concept of “crowdsourcing” to graphic design.
You can post a design contest, and designers will compete for your business, submitting different designs for your approval.
Or you can buy one of their ready-made logos and have them customize it for you.
Either way, it’s an easy way to get a logo made fast.
If you’re looking for another fast option for a great logo, check out Upwork, the freelancer hub formed from the Elance and oDesk merger back in 2014.
The downside of Upwork is that you’ll need to hunt around for a great designer. But thankfully, that process is quick and simple. Just post your requirements and you’ll start getting proposals within minutes.
Check out the portfolios of your favorite designers and pick one for the project. Because the marketplace is so large, you’re guaranteed to find a great designer for your project.
There’s so many options and so little time—so which platforms do you choose?
Well, it comes down to your needs and constraints. If you’re looking for something that works straight out of the box, you’ll probably want to start with a done-for-you app like Squarespace.
If you’re not afraid of some coding, a platform like Sitejet or WordPress with a template would work great.
And if you have a bigger budget and aren’t afraid of getting your hands messy with code, you can experiment with a more custom solution.
Plus, make sure the platform you choose works with what you need. For example, not every platform comes with an eCommerce solution, so if you need that functionality, make sure it’s available.
But fast website design isn’t just a pipe dream. With today’s technology, just about anyone can design a great-looking site before the day is out.
What will you use to design your company website?
About the Author: Nathan Hangen is the co-founder of Virtuous Giant, creator of IgnitionDeck, a crowdfunding plugin for WordPress. You can follow him on Twitter via @nhangen.
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