How to create affordable websites

'The new generation of CMS', 'can't be matched by other solutions' - PC Advisor

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Strong demand for affordable websites

Far too many businesses still don't have an effective website. But that's because most website designers can't make a living writing decent sites at the price clients want to pay.

These business owners don't have the skills or inclination to use any instant site software but would pay for a good, affordable solution. That used to mean a friend or employee but since CSS, these amateur sites are never to an acceptable standard.

A new type of instant website builder is required

With the right approach designers can still make money on low cost sites and more importantly demonstrate the value a good site can bring to a business. The approach needs to be similar to blogging, but look like a business site. Blogging is fast and simple and builds well structured, usable sites that readers actually like; and there's no reason business sites can't be the same.

Here are the requirements for how it can be done

1. Use a good page generator or CMS. WYSIWYG and text editors might help designing templates but are too slow for entering content.

2. It's vital to keep the content 100% separate from the design. Apply a new template and the site should instantly look completely different.

3. Don't use and online database CMS. These take too long to setup up and maintain, particularly with the ongoing security issues.

4. One CMS must be able to create multiple sites. You then only have one program to upgrade and don't have to remember the different ways to update each site.

5. Sitemaps and menus must be created automatically. Sitemaps are important for SEO and menus allow easy multi-site cross linking.

6. Make sure you can backup the content files. Rebuilding lost sites could ruin your business if it's not automatic.

Design considerations

7. Page structure must be simple and consistent. Title, heading and consistent paragraphs just like a blog. These work better and require less complicated templates.

8. Navigation menus must be automatically generated. Otherwise it takes too long to make changes.

9. All compliance, accessibility and SEO features must be as automated as possible. It takes too long to hand code these features on low cost sites but they must be included.

10. Blog style templates should be used. These can be attractive, professional but can be created or adapted for each client very quickly.

11. Good usability is vital for any site to perform and fortunately simple, graphic free templates work better.

12. A structured CSS system is required. Cross matching a library of separate CSS layout, colour and text style sheets will save time building custom designs.

Advanced features

13. Use code libraries or generators to supply the forms or features required in each site. It's not feasable to write any code from scratch for low cost websites.

Low cost marketing

14. Use online marketing only; SEO and viral. The minute you spend money on advertising you won't be able to provide budget websites.

15. The most successful CMS systems have free versions that build experience, new users, customer loyalty and back links to their sites. Using a re-brandable CMS with your own back links will market your service and bring in paying customers for free.