Cheaper AND Better – Use ThemeForest for Basic Web Sites

Need a basic “marketing” web site? For your company? For your new product? For your nonprofit?

You know, the typical Home Page, Who We Are, What We Do, Contact Us, etc. In the old days, we would pay a designer somewhere around $5,000 to design and build a really simple site from scratch (goes up from there).

Those days are over. Head-on over to ThemeForest and browse their “Site Templates.” You’re bound to find one that you really like.

Most are:

  • Meticulously designed using the latest technologies (HTML5, CSS, JS)
  • Well-documented and very easy for a technical person to edit
  • Extremely flexible, with lots of different layouts to choose from Responsively designed, so they look great on Web, Mobile and Tablets

You still might need a designer to make some custom modifications, but the end result should be a much better site at a lower overall cost.

Ways to Discover What People Actually Want

Thanks to Paul Graham (YCombinator Founder who’s written fantastic essays), Lean Startup, and others, you’ve probably been exposed to the concepts of “minimum viable products,” “customer development,” and rapid prototyping.

In a perfect world, we would be absolutely sure that folks actually want (and will pay for) the thing that we’re building before we actually build it.

So, how do we get as sure as possible? How do we get solid qualitative and quantitative feedback? Opinions, feelings, visitor stats, conversion stats, pricing stats, etc?

Here are some useful techniques:

  • Talk to would-be customers in-person and over the phone and ask them about the space that you’re interested in. What services or tools are they using? What do they like / not like?
  • Create rough wireframes in Balsamiq Mockups. Later, create high-fidelity wireframes in Photoshop (you’ll need to hire a Web/Mobile Designer for this).
  • Show those wireframes to a handful of would-be users (in the style of Coffee Shop or Hallway Usability Testing). Print them out or stitch them together using InVision, Flinto, or a similar tool.
  • Create Product Landing Pages that describe what the product is and how it works, as if the product actually exists. Can be done quickly with a Themeforest Template, Weebly (web site creator), or UnBounce (landing page creator with analytics). Check out how we did it here.
  • Bring traffic to the landing page. Buy ads on Google, Facebook, and Reddit. Track how many folks visit the page. How many click on the call-to-action (“Sign up Now”), how many provide their email address, etc.
  • Once you have enough email addresses, send a survey (we recommend SurveyMonkey) asking some questions about what they might want, how much they’d be willing to pay, how likely they are to buy, etc.