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If your vision for a website exceeds the money you can beg or borrow from your friends and family, you're going to need some financial help. You can find options varying from traditional loans to crowdfunded donations online. However, as you raise money for your website you need to remember that there is no such thing as free money.
One path for getting financial help to build your website is one of the oldest ways for raising capital for a new venture: going to a bank and asking for a loan. Depending on your plans for the scale and monetization of your website, you could try to get either a personal loan or a business loan. Personal loans are easier to get but will generally be for smaller amounts than a business loan. However, traditional banks will require a substantial business plans and projections to entertain giving you a business loan.
Crowdfunding is a way of raising money by posting the website idea for which you are fundraising on websites like Kickstarter, RocketHub, or Fundable. If people like your idea and would want to use the website themselves, they can donate money. Depending on the exact terms of the service you use, the money could be free, you might have to choose a reward (such as free website membership) for donors or you may have to give donors an equity share in your website.
One variant on crowdfunding are crowdfunded loans. Sometimes called peer-to-peer lending, services such as Prosper and Lending Club allow you to get a loan funded by individual investors rather than a bank. You list your website idea, and members of the service who are interested loan you money at a given interest rate. After you get the loan money, you will have to make monthly payments to the service, which distributes shares of your money among your individual investors.
However you get financial help to build your website, stay aware of the obligations you are incurring. This means the interest you will have to pay on any loans you take out, and the risks of defaulting on that loan if you take out more than you can handle. Defaulting on a peer-funded loan will still hit your credit rating, and giving away equity could open you up to legal entanglements. Failure to follow through with the rewards you promised to donors will jeopardize your ability to raise money through similar venues in the future. Make sure not to get in over your head.
Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.