By Omer Shai, VP Marketing, Wix.com

For any start-up, money is tight. The thought of having to employ multiple agencies or individuals to help with all elements of business set-up from search engine optimisation to website-building fills most people with fear.

But Wix, a freemium web publishing platform aimed at start-ups, says the internet is chock a block full of free social media platforms and apps that can cost nothing to use or maintain and can give businesses a big marketing step in the right direction.

Omer Shai, VP Marketing, explains; LinkedIn is key for networking for new business, and there are so many desktop apps too, from traffic-generating tools to live chat services. These ‘freemium’ services are a gift to budding business owners who only ten years ago would have paid thousands for these types of services.

The first major undertaking for most new start-ups is to build themselves a website, an online ‘shop window’ to let the world know their company is up and running. But for a brand new business, setting up a website can be one of those things that can spiral way beyond the initial budget.

Every savvy business person knows the value of a good website, but most new business owners perceive web design as complex, technical and time consuming and so will usually take the decision to outsource. But it’s not always necessary to throw thousands of pounds at a professional web designer.
Here are my tips for retaining complete ownership of the web building process so that not only can you end up with a beautiful site with the minimal of hassle, you will save yourself tons of money and lots of time.

Firstly, before even considering putting mouse to mouse pad, first think about what your website represents — is your brand fun, colourful, how do you want to represent it pictorially and verbally so you have a clear ‘look and feel’?

Then turn to the internet — there are several ‘freemium’ website building brands out there, of which my company, Wix is one. This means the majority of your website is free to build, using ready made templates, effectively turning your web browser into a development tool. With hundreds of customisable designs, whether you’re a ballet dancer or a bike repair company, you simply drag and drop and create your own site then publish it instantly. You can even build in flash or HTML5, web or mobile, ecommerce and analytics and even link your site to social media channels.

Consider business apps too — apps aren’t just for kids playing on iPhones. If you want music, video or a contact form for customers on there, there are now all sorts of apps you can add in as well, including traffic-generating apps, and the majority of these are — you guessed it - free.

The beauty of a web building site is that you really don’t need any web design skills to build a great website but if you do want a “safe pair if hands” , many platforms have a pool of accepted designers, we call them Wix Pro Designers, who are professional designers who are experts at building sites using the platform. They use their skills and experience to leverage the service and what it has to offer at a very fair cost to the client.

So, whether you decide to do the whole thing yourself, or employ a professional, try to stay in control of the process, listen and be clear on your goals for the site and stay true to your business instinct and your site will be the starting block for a successful business.