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How to Build a Website on Any Budget (Even $5K or Less!)

May 29, 2024

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Welcome! As the founder & lead copywriter of CU, I’m obsessed with seeing how words can light up a creative entrepreneur, breathe fire into their spirit, and revitalize the passion they have for their business. 



The Value of Good Branding

Good branding – and more specifically, a great website, is an investment that immensely pays off in both the short & long term. While it can feel costly, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

In fact, achieving the look and functionality of a high-end website is possible with a modest budget of $5K or less. This blog post explores various options, from DIY to professional services, to help you find the best fit for your needs and budget.

Done-for-You Services:

  • Entry copy services: $3500-$5K+
  • Top tier copy services: $5K-$15K+

DIY Option:

  • The Essential Copy Course® by CU Edu: $797

Trust us when we say, it all starts here. Investing in quality brand messaging and copywriting is essential. It sets the tone for your brand and ensures your website effectively communicates your value proposition.

After all, it’s words that sell things.

Yet this is a step many people want to skip over to get straight to the visual aspects of building their brand. But everything is easier, more strategic, and more effective, when you first figure out what you want to say, who you’re saying it to, and how you’re saying it.

Granted, we totally understand that hiring a professional copywriting isn’t right for everyone, which is why we created a course that walks you step-by-step through the CU Way. Aka the same process we’ve used to successfully write for 200+ entrepreneurs – resulting in inspired & compelling copy, written by you.

If you’re ready for done-for-you work, explore or agency services and if the DIY/DWY route is more your speed right now, The Essential Copy Course® was quite literally designed for you.

Brand Identity: Crafting Your Visual Story

  • Junior-level Design: $2500-$5K
  • Senior-level Design: $5000-$12K

Once you have your brand foundation articulated, you can finally move on to the pretty aspects! Your brand identity visually communicates your business’s personality and is responsible for making a memorable first impression. Whether you choose professional design services or a DIY approach, this investment is crucial for garnering attention and driving brand affinity.

Website Design: Creating a User-Friendly Experience

Done-for-You Services:

  • Website Template Customizations: $2000-$5K (We offer these as an add-on design pairing to any CU copywriting package.)
  • Custom Website Design: $5000-$12K+

DIY Option:

  • Website Template: $500-$1000+ (We love Showit templates designed by TONIC, Saffron Ave, and Northfolk — you can save 15% on any of them with the code: COPYUNCORKED)
  • DIY Customizations: $0-$597

This is the one you already know you need: website design. And for good reason, as a well-designed website enhances user experience and drives conversions.

Once again, you can choose between done-for-you services for a polished finish or DIY options for budget-friendly flexibility. With so many great templates and template customization services on the market these days, you certainly don’t have to invest in custom website design. Especially when your business may evolve significantly over your first few years.

Regardless, a website is never truly “done” – it’s always evolving, as the living, breathing online hub of your business.

Brand Photography: Showcasing Your Business

Done-for-You Services:

  • Full Brand Shoot: $2000-$10K

DIY Option:

  • Stock Photo Subscription: ~$350/year (We love Elevae and you can save 15% on any membership with code: COPYUNCORKED.)
  • Mini Shoot: $350-$750

High-quality photos are vital for creating a professional look – and they’re often the unsung hero of a stunning brand and website.

Professional photoshoots can easily skyrocket in cost depending on complexity and factors such as travel, studio costs, props, models, etc.

We recommend considering the cost and benefits of a full brand shoot versus more affordable stock photos or mini sessions. Or at the very least, plan to have one big brand shoot a year and then supplement throughout the year with stock photos as “filler” or “background images” and to keep your brand feeling fresh.

Making the Right Choice for Your Business

The good news is, you’ve got options! Creating a high-converting website on a budget is achievable. By strategically choosing where to invest and where to save, you can develop a site that stands out and effectively sells your offers. Whether you opt for professional services or DIY solutions, the key is to ensure each element of your website works together to create a cohesive and compelling brand experience.

If you’re planning to go the DIY/DWY route and need the perfect place to get started, be sure to check out The Essential Copy Course® (TECC). Copy dictates design, so it’s undoubtedly the best place to begin your website project and ensure the end result works as hard for your business as you do.

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