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It’s finally time to dress up your website and make its design as fabulous as its content. If you’re a small business owner, however, you may not know where to even start.
Do. Not. Fear.
There are several resources that will help you affordably create a website that looks almost as if you hired Jeffrey Zeldman himself to design it.
So get ready, buckle down, and check out the following options to ensure your website looks like a million bucks.

Create a Beautiful Website Without a Staff Designer

1. Buy a Professional Theme

The cheapest option for getting a killer website is to simply purchase a professional theme.
A theme is a pre-designed “skin” that lays over the top of your website. The theme controls the look and the feel of your website while allowing you to still customize your website’s plugins, menu items, and color palette.
Some advantages for buying a theme include:

  • Quality — Premium themes are high quality, unique, mobile responsive, and customizable.
  • Fully-coded — You don’t need to know how to code, but you receive all the benefits of a fully-coded website.
  • Auto-updates — If WordPress updates, then your theme will update too.
  • Affordable — Professional themes usually range from $29 to $150, which is much cheaper than hiring a designer to whip something up from scratch.
  • Functional — Themes are fully functional and making simple changes is easy.

The one disadvantage to buying a theme is you are somewhat limited in terms of design. For example, if you decide you want to change a portion of your website’s design, you’ll need to either purchase a new theme or look into hiring someone to help you tweak your CSS.
Once you have a theme installed, you can easily customize it yourself. You don’t have to know how to code — just how to navigate WordPress.

Tip: Want to do more with WordPress? Check out WPBeginner for in-depth how-tos.

To help you out, here is a list of great tutorials that will show you how to install WordPress, add pages, add menus, and more.

2. Hire a Freelancer

Another stellar option if you don’t have an in-house designer, but don’t want to do any of the design work yourself is to hire a freelancer.
Keep in mind that a freelance designer will likely buy a WordPress theme and customize it for you. As mentioned above, you can do it yourself. It just takes time, and there is certainly a learning curve.
The main advantage to hiring a freelancer is the opportunity cost. Rather than spending your time learning WordPress, you can spend your time making money. Additionally, your website will be up a lot quicker if you leave the design to an experienced professional rather than taking it on yourself.

Tip: Not sure if hiring a freelancer is worth the $$$? Check out our guide to DIYing vs. delegating small business tasks.

To find a qualified freelancer, check out websites like Freelancer, Guru, or Upwork.
Remember: If you hire a freelance designer, your website will look great and probably be up more quickly. However, if you ever need to make a change, you’ll either need to do the research yourself, or you’ll have to hire a freelancer again to help you out. Once a website is up, however, it’s not difficult to learn how to make quick changes in WordPress.

3. Use a Design Agency

If you don’t want to fiddle with your WordPress site at all or you’re worried about working with a freelancer, then hiring a professional and affordable design service is a great option.
There are several advantages to hiring a professional firm to design your website including:

  • Quality —Design firms usually guarantee the highest quality of work
  • SEO — Most professional design services will take your design to the next level by making sure it’s properly optimized for search engines.
  • Mobile Responsive — If you are looking to reach your intended audience, it’s imperative that your website is mobile responsive. When you hire a professional design firm, you can make sure your theme is mobile ready.

While hiring a professional design service may be slightly more expensive than doing it yourself or hiring a freelancer, you can be confident that the quality will be high, the turnaround quick, and the design process focused on you.

No Designer, No Problem

If you are a DIYer, you can purchase a theme and learn WordPress yourself. If you like to work with freelancers, it’s easy to hire someone to help you by pursuing freelance content mills. Either way, you’ll end up with a beautiful website. And that’s what matters, right?

Megan Hendrickson

Megan Hendrickson is the content manager at Bluehost. She draws on more than a decade of editorial experience — and a stint at one of the nation’s top business schools — to write about tech, small business, and marketing for the Bluehost blog.

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