A good website can go a long way towards growing your business. But it’s also a big investment — expensive both to launch and keep up. This poses a problem for start-ups running things on a shoestring, because website development is one budget that you don’t want to skimp on. A bad website will turn potential clients away before they even have a chance to find out what you’re offering.

The good news is that there are many ways to grow your business without a website, all of which will allow you build capital first, so you can invest in high-quality web developers down the line. Here are five platforms that you should make use of if you’re not quite ready to shop for a domain name.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is far and away the best place to build business contacts today. Given that all your potential clients, competitors, and hires are on it, you should be too.
But since everyone’s here and not everyone will be a boon to your business, you have to be strategic about who to talk to, just like at a networking party.
Use the website’s advanced search features to find exactly who you’re looking for.

Don’t connect with just anyone. Read each profile carefully before sending a request, to make sure it’s the kind of quality connection you want to be making.
When you do decide to reach out to a given company or individual, make your message personal. This will heighten the likelihood of a positive response.
If you’re the one that sends the LinkedIn request, you should also be the one to build the relationship. Suggest a meeting or phone call to discuss how you might work together. Finally, one great way to benefit from LinkedIn is to look for ways you can help. The connection will be stronger if there’s something you can offer the people you’re reaching out to, instead of just trying to sell your product or services.

Pinterest

Pinterest is an attractive and affordable way to tell your company’s story and connect. It’s a great tool for driving brand engagement, especially if you’re trying to reach a diverse audience. Just make multiple boards targeting different client segments. It’s also an excellent way to drive sales directly without a website.
If you’re a retailer you can Pin beautiful images of your products along with punchy descriptions of how they can be used.
And once you do have a website you can build web traffic by linking each Pin back to your domain and leaving a Pin It Button on your home page so people can share your content easily.

Directories 

The yellow pages may be kaput, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an Internet equivalent. Online directories are an often-overlooked resource for new companies. It’s as important as ever to have your company listed—including your name, hours, contact information, etc. In addition to factual details, directories like Yelp offer another precious benefit: the customer review. With an average of 142 million unique visitors each month, Yelp is an excellent way to get your company noticed. Since it can be tedious to sign up for multiple directories, use Moz Local to see where your listings could be improved.

Referrals

Referral may be the old-fashioned way but it’s still the gold standard of getting the word out about your services, and it’s a missed opportunity for many entrepreneurs. Once you’ve done high quality work for a few clients, they become an invaluable resource for spreading your good name. It’s important to broach the subject at the right time; aim for just after the delivery of the final product or completion of the project, when the deal is fresh and customer is feeling satisfied.

You might also offer a reward — a discount on future services, for example — as an extra incentive for the client to give you a stellar reference. It’s also a good idea to put a system in place for referrals to cut down on the workload involved. For example, project completion can come with a standard follow-up survey for the client to fill out, with information on your business which they can forward on to their contacts. Whatever system you put in place, make sure to follow up on your referrals.

Local Media

Businesses looking to develop in a specific locale can make use of various local media to grow. For example, if you’re having a launch event, try to get it listed on your town website or listserv. This could be excellent free publicity. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to local media outlets — newspapers, news channels, bloggers — and they’ll spread the word about your event for you. PR is valuable in its own right, but it also drives SEO. Once your website is up and running a few online video and news articles will send you right to the top of searches.