We’ve all heard about it before: creating a website can be expensive. There are many things that make that assertion seem true; like hiring professionals to design the site, buying a domain name, maintaining the back end side of things, and so much more.
The current reality is that even with some of the above factors still being necessary it’s now much cheaper to build a website than you might suspect. Whatsmore it’s so easy that even the most non-tech-savvy people can now create a simple business website on a budget. So how do you do that?
Step 1: Get a domain name and web host
First off you’re going to need a domain name and web hosting. A domain name is the address of your website (such as google.co.uk and facebook.com). Meanwhile, web hosting is a service that provides a place to store all your site’s data. It also takes care of all technical elements (backend), so your website will be up and running 24/7.
You can register a domain name and get web hosting separately, but that just complicates things. In most situations, it’s probably best to simplify things and use a web hosting plan that also offers a domain (for free or at low cost). In general, when looking for a reliable web hosting provider, you should make sure they provide basic features including (eCommerce hosting is however slightly different):
- Backend support at any time, every day.
- High-speed performance.
- Automatic site backup.
- Uptime guarantee.
- Free domain registration.
- Easy WordPress installer.
It’s worth shopping around for a web host and picking something that suits your needs at a fair price point. If you’re a small business you might want to check out hosting plans from Hostinger, Bluehost or other providers.
Step 2: Choose the right CMS
Next your going to need a Content Management System (CMS). This is a piece of software used to build and manage your website. There are so many CMSs available such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Different CMSs have different features, so it’s highly important to opt for the right one.
So which one you should choose? For general small business use, WordPress is the obvious choice for several reasons:
- Suitable for all kind of users. It’s friendly for those without prior experience, but professional web developers can also use it for more advanced features.
- Highly customizable and powerful. Any imaginable type of website can be created with this platform. The available plugins are especially helpful to add any additional functionality to your site you might need (without learning to code).
- Responsive and mobile friendly. Most themes in WordPress are responsive by default, so you don’t have to worry about customising your website for mobile users.
- Huge community. Don’t worry if you have any problems when using this platform. WordPress has a huge and supportive community that will help you out.
- It’s completely free!
Of course, there are many other CMS’s, some more suited to specific business types like eCommerce shops, make sure to do some research before you choose and pick the right one for you.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Now you’ve got your CMS picked out and hosting/domain partner sorted, its time to set up your CMS (this assumes you chose WordPress). The easiest way to install WordPress is by using a one-click installer provided by your web hosting service (almost every reliable hosting offers this kind of installer). If your hosting service doesn’t have one, you need to install it manually.
Step 4: Customise your website
Alas, all the technical stuff is done, and it’s time to create the website of your dreams! When it comes to customising a website, one of the first things that come to mind must be choosing the right theme. Fortunately for us, WordPress has tons of free themes to choose from. You can also tweak them later if you’re not completely satisfied with the one that you like.
To install a theme, simply login to your WordPress admin dashboard by typing https://yoursite.com/wp-admin (replace “yoursite” with your domain). Look for the Appearance menu on the sidebar, then click Themes.
On the Theme menu dashboard, enter a specific keyword to find themes that suit your website. Finding the right theme may take a while as there are plenty of options to choose from, but it’ll be worth it in the end. After installing and activating the desired theme, you should be all set to add content to your site.
I’ve shown you how easy it is to build a website without having to spend much money. That’s great and all, but what’s next? Here are some things you can do to your website:
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- Set up a website email to make it easier for people to contact you.
- Improve your site’s SEO so it can rank high on Google search engine result page (SERP).
- Share all your posts to all social networks.
- Gain customers by driving traffic to your site.
- Post regularly and engage with your visitors.
Feel free to experiment with your website to see what works. It won’t be perfect right off the bat, but that’s fine! The more you learn, the more likely you are to find the perfect combination that leads to optimal performance.