Rapid Websites Blog

Affordable web design

In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential for any business or individual looking to succeed. However, creating a website can be an expensive endeavour and most small business or start-ups cannot afford a big budget for their website. However, if you do a bit of research, you will find that there are affordable website creation options available that can help you create a professional and functional website within your modest budget.

Here are some tips for creating an affordable website:

  1. Do it yourself using website builders: There are several website builders available that offer low-cost plans. These website builders allow you to create a website without coding knowledge, but you will need to invest some time in learning how to use them and get them to do what you want them to do. Some popular web builders include Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify. Also some large web hosting, e.g. GoDaddy, have their own website builders. It’s worth doing some research on the pros and cons and ongoing costs of each and try them out to see if they work for you.
  2. Keep your website simple: A simple design is often more effective than a complex one. A simpler website will also be more affordable as will not require as much time to design and develop. And a bonus is that it can be easier to navigate and should load faster.
  3. Use stock images: Professional photography and artwork can be expensive, but stock images are a more affordable option. There are many websites that offer stock images for free or at a low cost (check out our article on free stock photography). Make sure to choose images that are high quality and fit your brand. You can augment the stock photography with your own photos to present the ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ flavour of your business.
  4. Use social media: You can use social media platforms such as Facebook to establish your initial online presence and to promote your business and your website. If you can effectively manage your own social media profiles that is one less thing that you will need to hire a professional to do.
  5. Find a web designer that specialises in affordable web design: If you find the idea of creating a website yourself intimidating or simply don’t have the time, you will need to hire a professional to create your website. Web design agencies can be expensive and are often geared towards offering a premium service to companies with deep pockets. But freelance/sole-trader web designers are usually more affordable and used to working within tighter budget constraints. Budget focused web designers such as Rapid Websites offer fixed price packages that should come in a lot cheaper than a custom quoted job or someone working on an hourly rate basis.

10 considerations for creating a new website

Building a website can be an exciting and challenging process. There are several important points to check to ensure that your website is functional, user-friendly, and optimized for search engines. Here are some essential points to check when building a website:

  1. Domain Name: Choose a domain name that is easy to remember, relevant to your business or brand, and easy to spell. It should also be unique and not too similar to other domain names.
  2. Website Design: Your website should have a professional looking and aesthetically pleasing design that is easy to navigate, with high-quality images and content. The content needs to be logically organised and laid out in a way that is easy to scan as most people do not spend a long time reading on web pages. Make sure key points and calls-to-action are prominent.
  3. Copy (written content): The content on your website should be well-written, relevant to your business or brand, and engaging to your target audience. It should also be optimized for search engines with relevant keywords and meta tags.
  4. Mobile Friendly: Your website should be optimized for mobile devices to ensure that it is accessible and user-friendly for users who access your website from their smartphones or tablets.
  5. User Experience: The user experience on your website should be seamless and user-friendly, with clear navigation, easy-to-read content, and functional links and buttons.
  6. Search Engine Optimization: Optimize your website for search engines, including relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and title tags, to improve your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines.
  7. Security: Your website should have security measures in place, such as SSL certificates and firewalls, to protect user data and prevent hacking or malware attacks.
  8. Speed: Your website should load quickly, as slow load times can negatively impact user experience and SEO rankings.
  9. Analytics: Install web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to track your website’s performance and monitor user behavior and engagement.
  10. Hosting: Choose a reliable web hosting provider that offers fast load times, excellent uptime, and reliable security features.
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How to get a website for your business

When it comes to getting a website for your business, there can be a confusing amount of options available. For those on a budget, one popular choice is to use a do-it-yourself (DIY) website builder such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc., while another option is to use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress. While both options have their own set of pros and cons, in this article we will explore why WordPress is often considered a better choice than DIY website builders.

First and foremost, WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning that it is completely free to use and customize. DIY website builders, on the other hand, are proprietary systems and are limited in terms of customisation. Because WordPress is open-source, a vast community of developers are constantly creating extensions to add almost any features you could imagine, giving one a wider range of options and features to choose from. Proprietary DIY website builders can also come with high ongoing fees and, in the case of e-commerce websites, commissions on sales.

A big advantage of WordPress is its flexibility and scalability. With DIY website builders, you are often limited in terms of design and functionality. WordPress, on the other hand, allows you to create a website that is tailored to your specific needs, whether it be a simple blog or a complex e-commerce site. And as your website grows and evolves, WordPress can easily adapt and scale to accommodate your changing needs. This is why WordPress is the most popular platform for building websites. According to data from W3Techs, WordPress is used by 43.2% of all websites on the internet in 2022.

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Website Design Cost

How much does it cost to get a website created in New Zealand in 2023?
While it’s not very helpful to answer this with ‘How long is a piece of string?‘, it is actually pretty much the case. Firstly we need to define what type of a website we are talking about. A website could be anything from a simple web ‘page’ consisting of some text and images to a complex web application. But for most people asking this question, they are probably looking for a basic small business website, commonly referred to as a ‘brochure website’. The purpose of such a website is typically to serve as an online marketing tool to promote the products and/or services of a business. So even if we go with that type of website, you will still find very wide range of costs to build such a website.

Some years ago, we actually conducted a website design pricing survey where we created a mini brief for a simple small business website and sent it to 24 New Zealand web companies requesting a quote. At that time we received a wide range of prices all the way from $1200 to $15000. I would expect to see a similar wide range of quoted prices if I were to conduct this survey again today although given recent high inflation I’d expect the range to be pushed upwards a bit.

There are also ‘cheap’ options available right down to a few hundred dollars. The cheaper options tend to be built by overseas developers who whip them out with very little thought or consideration or are based on misleading marketing that does not reflect what the website will end up costing after extras and ongoing costs.

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New Layout for 2023

We have introduced a new layout for 2023. This new layout will be the basis for new websites that we create. Our new layout expands on our previous base layout which was introduced in 2019 and utilises new WordPress block editor features for maximum flexibility and ease of use.

You can view a screen-shot of a demo web page created with this new layout below.

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Rapid Websites now offering E-commerce packages

We have now introduced our new Rapid Websites E-commerce package package for selling your products and services. To build our e-commerce websites we use the popular Woocommerce ecommerce platform. Credit card online payment can be handled by PayPal or Stripe and/or payment by bank deposit can be offered as a payment option. If you require another payment we can also set that up for an additional charge, just enquire for pricing.

Some great features of our new e-commerce package include:

  • Mobile Friendly Design: Both your store-front and your admin work great on mobile devices. Your customers can shop on the go, and you can manage their orders from anywhere.
  • Organize Your Products: Group your products by category, add variations to each product.
  • Inventory Management: Use WooCommerce’s built-in inventory management to track your stock level, hold stock if an order is cancelled, and hide out-of-stock items from your store-front.
  • Shipping Options: Offer a shipping calculator on the shopping cart page, so there are no surprises at checkout. Let customers choose between pickup, local delivery, and shipping.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Benefit from WordPress’s built-in SEO best practices.
  • Create Coupons & Discounts: Make your discounts apply to only one item or all of them.
  • Checkout Options: Allow your customers to create an account on your site or check out as guests.
  • Enable Product Reviews: Let customers post reviews of your products. You can even ensure that those comments come only from verified customers.
  • Analytics: Use WooCommerce reports to monitor your profits and track orders, traffic, and growth trends. Integrate Google Analytics (also free) for more in-depth analytics.

Looking for Free Stock Photography for your Website?

Stock photos can be a great way to add some visual appeal to your website. istockphoto.com by Getty Images is one of the largest online stock photography libraries. They offer a huge selection of photos, graphics and videos for almost any topic. Although they are not very expensive they are not free. If you are looking for free stock photography, there are some good free libraries that have sprung up in the last few years. Generally you won’t get as comprehensive of a selection of photos in the free stock libraries and often the quality will not be on a par with the photos you can purchase for a fee on the likes of iStock, but I’ve noticed the range and quality of the free stock libraries growing significantly in recent years.

At Rapid Websites, our picks for free stock libraries are:





New Zealand Specific Stock Libraries

New Zealand Tourism and other regional tourism bodies provide some high quality stock photography of New Zealand places. They generally provide these for free if they are to be used for promotion of New Zealand as a tourist destination. You simply have to request permission to use the images and let them know where the images are going to be used.

Here are some NZ stock photo libraries:



Keeping your website secure

At Rapid Websites we take the security of our client’s websites seriously. As standard, we install and configure some of the best available security and backup plugins to protect our client’s websites from attackers. We also now install secure (SSL) certificates in our hosting accounts and set up the websites we build to use secure https protocol. Here are 5 ways to help keep your WordPress website secure:

  1. Keep your WordPress software up to date
    WordPress now automatically self-updates when minor releases such as security updates and bug fixes are released. This is great for keeping websites safe from WordPress exploits and vulnerabilities. We also recommend keeping your website regularly updated with major WordPress releases and plugin updates. In WordPress these days, updates are very easy for a website owner to perform, basically just a click of a button. However it is prudent to make a backup of your website database before performing updates. We make this easy by installing an easy to use backup plugin.
  2. Use strong passwords
    The security plugin that we install will guide you in setting your password to make it sufficiently ‘strong’. We highly recommend a password manager such as KeePass.
  3. Two factor authentication
    For extra security it can be worth taking the extra step of setting up 2 factor authentication.
  4. Run malware scans
    The number one reason hackers install malware on vulnerable websites is so that they can use the infected websites to distribute spam. The security plugin that we install will run scans on your website to detect if anyone has tampered with your website files or installed malware  on your site.
  5. Make regular backups
    Prepare for the worst case and protect your investment in your website by always having your own up-to-date backup of your website. We install a backup plugin to make this very easy, just make sure to use it!

This website is now using our new layout

We have updated our own website to use our new website layout that is available to you as an layout option for the website that we build for you. So this website now serves as a demo of the layout! We can customise this layout to provide a unique look and feel matched to your own brand.

Fantastic new multi-purpose layout available

We have just launched a brand new, flexible, highly-customisable, modern, responsive layout. We believe this will be a good base layout for most websites going forward. Our old layouts are still available and are now all offered as responsive designs (mobile-friendly). You can see all the layouts on the Layouts page.

The following is a wire-frame representation of the home page layout. All elements are optional and can be configured and repositioned as needed to suit your purposed.

Here is a mock-up of an example website based on this layout:

The layout is designed from the start to be mobile-friendly and give a good user experience on mobile phones and devices.

Responsive website design templates now available

New in 2014: We’ve revamped our templates to make them responsive. A responsive website is one that adapts the layout to suit different screen sizes. This means that the website display can be optimised for small screen mobile devices, smart phones and tablets as well as standard computer screens. If a website is not responsive, usually the text will appear very small on a small touch screen and will require you to zoom and pan around in order to read what is on the web page. A responsivly designed website will change the layout when viewed on a small screen so that the page contents can be easily read without zooming.

We’ve Lowered Our Hosting Prices

UPDATE 18/9/2018: We have lowered hosting rates yet again so this information is out of date. See our pricing page for current rates.

On 16 May 2012 Rapid Websites reduced hosting prices. The new rates can be found at:

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Website package deals now available

We are now offering some great package deals to get you up and running with an affordable quality website solution. We have introduced 2 packages – the Starter Package & the Deluxe Package.
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Results of website design pricing survey

As we announced in our last post we have conducted a survey of New Zealand web site design costs. For the purpose of our survey we requested quotes from 24 web design firms from all over New Zealand including Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Whitianga and Napier on the North Island and Christchurch, Nelson and Wanaka on the South Island.
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Survey of New Zealand website design costs

We are currently performing a survey of web design costs in New Zealand. We expect this will produce some very interesting and perhaps even shocking results. Read more »

How do we do website design for so cheap?

As we say on the home page ‘We work smart – You save!!!‘. So how do we work smart?

We use the ‘best of breed’ web development software and platforms

Years of experience in developing websites have lead us to discover some of the best web development software and platforms. This allows us to deliver cutting edge websites that can easily be expanded to handle almost any requirement that you can think of, and at the same time develop these websites in a highly efficient and timely manner. Our tools and platforms are carefully chosen to avoid bloat and promote rapid web development. In short, the software that we have carefully chosen helps us to get the job done faster.

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Attention NZ business owners looking for a website DONE DIRT CHEAP!!

If you want a website for your business but don’t have the budget to spend thousands on getting a website built, what are your options?

Well, you possibly could find a ‘cut rate‘ web designer to build a website for considerably less than a reputable professional web designer but chances are the results will also look and function ‘cut rate‘. It’s that old adage of ‘you get what you pay for‘.

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