We’ve made a lot of noise about our starter website package before. We believe it doesn’t need to cost the earth to get a decent website up and running. But it can’t be very good for £250 they say… really? Says who? Certainly not us! Rather than just take our word for it, we thought we’d show you what we recently built for a client, all for that magic two hundred and fifty English pounds sterling plus value added tax.
Sterling Drivers are a temporary driving and logistics recruitment agency – they supply temporary staff to businesses of all shapes and sizes. As a recent start-up company Sterling Drivers had an extremely tight budget, but of course we like a challenge.
We already knew which way we would take this project. We needed a high impact website, optimised for conversion. In came the Astra theme, not a theme in the usual sense, which I’ll explain more shortly, but one of the fastest, most lightweight and highly customisable WordPress themes there is. Not only are Astra websites fast, but they can be made to look exactly how you want with the visual theme customising tool, both quickly and easily.
The number one reason we love Astra is its pre-built starter templates. This is a huge reason why we can build websites at such a low cost. We’re able to massively reduce website design time by using pixel perfect ready to use website demos from Astra’s library of starter templates. Not only that, but the templates are integrated with all the main page builder plugins, such as the one we like to use, Elementor.
We love Astra that much, we’ll write about it more another time, but back to this project. We have our starting point, so what next?
Content is king! Ever wondered where the phrase “Content is King” came from? In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”, which was published on the Microsoft website. He knew! Nowadays, the phrase is often spoken about in SEO terms, but for us, it’s the content that takes an Astra starter template to another level.
Your website has no more than five seconds to catch your visitor’s attention. There is not one single thing that achieves this, but a combination of elements. This is one of the main reasons we love Astra’s starter templates. The demo content included in them gives you a big steer on how to structure your pages for the highest impact. The homepages typically:
- Are concise and too the point
- Provoke an action from the visitor
- Have a prominent headline
- Include all key elements above the fold
- Use short and unique copy
- Have a logically placed call to action
- Include attention-grabbing graphics
What you have here is an extremely good starting point. Tried and tested layouts, optimised for the biggest impact and results. We then take that starting point and work the client’s own messages into it, usually with great effect.
We’ll now elaborate on that final point in the list above… attention-grabbing graphics. Now, we know what you might think… this is where you need a higher budget, either for a graphic designer to make something bespoke or to pay for the right to use stock imagery. Wrong. There are a number of great websites where talented creators post their work and these photos can be used freely for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. For this project we used Pexels but we also use Unspash on other projects.
Although it is not required to credit or attribute the photographers, in order to encourage them to continue sharing their great work, we’d like to thank the following photographers for the use of their work on this project:
Norma Mortenson – https://www.pexels.com/@norma-mortenson
Tima Miroshnichenko – https://www.pexels.com/@tima-miroshnichenko
We now had the structure and content in place and wanted to add a few extra little bits to finish off the project. The website had two main functions. To promote the client to businesses looking for staff and to capture registrations for individuals looking for temporary driving work. The main call to action of the site was around the latter. Here we needed a simple user registration/login and membership plugin and chose the free version of Ultimate Member to use on the site.
Finally, to bring everything together, we used the very neat Shortcode in Menus plugin. This allowed us to introduce context-sensitive links to the menu, in this case we showed different links depending on whether the user was logged in or not, which is obviously a nice feature with any website with accounts. Whilst we’re on the subject of navigation, the starter template we used also made use of the Elementor Header, Footer & Blocks Template plugin, so the client will be able to change the repeated elements of the site easily using the Elementor page builder, which is bundled with this build.
Of course, these extras are on top of everything we install and configure in our typical WordPress set up.
Value for money
We think the finished article represents real value for money. The client agrees and to say they are pleased is an understatement. If you’re interested in a professional website for a surprisingly cool £250, contact us today.