How To Make A Website For Less Than $100
February 13th, 2018
Creating a website can be a complicated and daunting for someone who does not know how to code. But no worries! We are here to give you a step-by-step guide on how to get online quickly, without the need of a web developer, and all for less than $100!
Before creating a website, you need to buy a domain name and purchase hosting. You might be wondering what this means, right? A domain name (also known as a web address or URL) is the name of your website, such as www.seedx.us. When you have a domain, you need somewhere to store your website – this is hosting, which is the physical storage of your website. The two together allow people to reach you online by typing in your domain name.
The first thing you need to do is to check whether the domain name you want is actually available. There are several tools you can use to check for an available domain name, like Instant Domain Search and Name Boy. If your desired domain name is available, you can proceed to purchase it. If not, don’t panic – Our advices below will help you find the right domain name!
A domain name is more than an address. It’s your business or your blog, your very online identity! That is why your domain name must represent you. Make it recognizable, easy to remember and a proud representation of you and your brand.
Domain names have a certain structure you should be aware of:
Prefix is an internet application protocol of your domain (http: – standard, https: – secured);
-Subdomain is the third level domain of your website name (usually the sites use “www”);
-Name is the second level domain of the website, picked by the person registering the domain;
-Extension is the top level domain and it can be picked for the variety of available choices.
When you choose a domain name, one of your choices will be what domain extension or Top Level Domain (TLD) extension to use. There are hundreds of top level domains from which to choose, but here is the breakdown of the most popular ones.
-The original top level domains (TLDs) are: .com, .net, .org, .int, .gov, .edu and .mil. Have in mind that only some of them are available for general use and .com is far and away the most important.
Many country code top level domains (ccTLDs) exist, and some are: .au (Australia), .cn (China), .in (India), .jp (Japan), .ph (Philippines), .me (Montenegro), .uk (United Kingdom).
There are also topic specific generic top level domains (gTLDs), though their use has yet to catch on widely, such as: .accountants, .agency, .business, .city, .digital, .photography and .social.
If you are not sure what to choose for a name, here are some tips that you should follow:
If you are promoting yourself, it would be ideal to use your first and last names (johnsmith.com or janesmith.com). If you are promoting your business, you should see if your business name is available. Use a search engine like Google, search for your proposed blog or website name. Does your search show any sites with similar domain names? If it does, try a different name. Giving your website a name that’s similar to other existing sites is the first step to failure.
Pick at least five words or phrases that describe the key topic of your website. Write them down, then mix and match the words to create possible domain names. Choose the one that sounds good and will be memorable.
The dictionary can actually be helpful!
If you have to spell out your domain name more than once for it to be understood, then it won’t work. Keep the name simple to remember and easy to enter in an address bar or search field. Simplicity is important because you don’t want your future visitors to incorrectly type in your name and be directed to a different site. If you’re determined to have that oddly name, make sure to register common misspellings and redirect visitors to the main domain.
How easy is this one?
Up to 25% of all websites are “.com” domains. It is still the preferred extension and the easiest to remember. Have in mind that some browsers accept address-only entries in their address bar. If you type just the domain name, they will return to the “.com” site.
If you can’t get your domain name down to one memorable word (which is almost impossible these days), consider adding one or maximum two more words. Do not use acronyms – people will never remember the letters unless it’s a highly catchy name.
It’s of paramount importance to make sure that you are not violating anyone’s trademarks. To check within the US, visit uspto.gov/trademarks and do the search before you register the name. Also, if you are going to include some big name product, such as Twitter or Facebook, review their terms and conditions. Most will not allow you to use their name in any part of your domain.
You have to be absolutely sure you love your domain name. Once it’s set, you have it for years to come. If you decide later to rename it, you will lose time, money, branding and ranking.
Before you register your desired domain name, it’s always a good idea to check social networks for the same name. Check facebook.com/yourdomain, twitter.com/yourdomain – and secure them as well. KnowEm is a great tool to use to see if certain names are already branded on social platforms.
Once you’ve found the perfect domain name, you will want to purchase it from a domain register or web hosting company. Some web hosts will register a domain name for you for free (usually for one year) when you buy a web hosting services from them, while others will do it for you for you, but you will have to cover the registrar fees (an annual fee of $10 – $15 for the “.com” domain).
When registering the name, you want to make sure that you are assigned as the owner, the administrative and technical contacts for the domain name you purchased. You also have to find a reliable company to register your domain with. Our suggestion is Inmotion Hosting, as they offer many free benefits, such as free SSD Drivers, free Domain, free Data Backups and you’ll have 90-Day Guarantee, meaning that you can try them risk free. We are not affiliated at all, but just truly love their service.
Once you have your domain name and hosting, you need to put some content on your website. The easiest way to do this is with a content management system. This will allow you to change the structure and design of your website, to manage navigation, to add pages and to add content without needing any coding experience.
You have two choices – install with 1-click installation or manual installation. One click install is very easy, so we recommend going down this road.
One click installation is just that – one click and you’ve installed WordPress. Most web hosts will have the 1-click installation integrated as standard within their dashboard. This service will have you up and running in a blink of an eye and help you make your own website with ease!
1. Go to your control panel within your hosting account;
2. Click on “1 Click Installs”,
3. Find the “WordPress” icon and click;
4. Choose the domain where you want to install your website;
5. Click the “Install Now” button and you’ll get details of how to access your new WordPress website.
In case you’re using Inmotion Hosting like we suggested, you can install WordPress in one click using Softaculous.
Login to your Control Panel and click on the Softaculous link, which is located under the Software/Service section.
After clicking on the Softaculous icon, you’ll be taken to the tool’s installation dashboard.
On the left hand side of the page, you’ll notice a list of different categories to choose from.
Click on the “blogs” category and then choose “WordPress”.
Once you click on “WordPress”, find and click the blue “install” button on the bottom of the page.
The next page will require some basic information about your installation preferences.
Fill in the “In Directory” field with the domain that you want WordPress installed on.
If you want it installed on your main domain, leave this field blank.
Next, pick a name for your WordPress database by filling in the appropriate field. You can also modify the security and change the prefix of the database if necessary.
Then enter a basic description for your website in the relevant box.
Leave the WPMU box alone unless you have extensive experience with WordPress installations.
Choose your login details and enter a valid email address into the “email” field. Once you’ve completed this form, click on the “install” button and you should be ready to go in a matter of minutes.
You can login to your WordPress account by going to yourdomain.com/admin and logging in with your details.
If you don’t have the “1-click-installation” capability, then you will have to install WordPress manually. Follow these quick steps:
Step 1: Download WordPress http://wordpress.org/download and save it to your local drive on your computer.
Step 2: Create a new folder on your desktop or somewhere on your computer and unzip WordPress in that folder.
Step 3: Find the file named wp-config-sample.php and change the name of it to: wp-config.php.
Step 4: Open the wp-config.php (using Notepad or Dreamweaver) and fill in the following lines:
define(‘DB_NAME’,’database_name_here’); – Database name (if you don’t know it, ask this from your hosting support)
define(‘DB_USER’,’username_here’); – Your hosting username
define(‘DB_PASSWORD’,’password_here’) – Your hosting password
Once you’ve filled all the areas noted in the above example, save the file.
Step 5: Now log into your hosting ftp – the FTP address is usually ftp.yourdomain.com, username and password are the same that you used to register to your host.
Step 6: If there is any file named “index” – delete it. After that, upload all the files from your WordPress folder to your FTP server.
Step 7: Once you have completed the previous steps, go to the URL:
After this, you will be followed by the page saying “Welcome to the famous five minute WordPress installation process!” and you are done.
In order to make your site look right, you’re going to have to get a theme.
The theme is the design of your website, what your customers see.
The way you manage the website doesn’t change, no matter what theme you have.
There are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. It’s important to choose a theme that reflects your business, but making the choice can be a challenge.
So, how to choose the right WordPress theme?
You can have themes designed for restaurants, themes for corporate sites, for selling products and services online or for simple bloggers – the list is endless.
A good place to get started is the WordPress themes directory, that has hundreds of free themes and you can use the built-in on-site filtering tools to select themes by layout, subject (such as food and drink or photography) and features (including the ability to use custom headers or integrate accessibility features).
But, the issue with free themes is that they are widely used and therefore your website my not stand out as much as you would like.
Also, because the creators aren’t paid, some free themes don’t have the level of support that you might need.
Be careful when picking a theme and be sure to read the reviews. A bad theme can be 1000x more harmful than helpful.
The alternative is to pay for a professional theme, which will give you more layout and design options and better support in case there are any issues.
You have purchased your very own domain name and hosting. You have installed WordPress on your server, set it up and now you’re ready to venture into the online world with your new website.
WordPress automatically installs a very basic theme to get you started. It looks like this:
The theme is called Twenty Fifteen and is really simple and clean design, but hopefully you found a theme that better matches your business or style.
Step 1: Login to your WordPress Dashboard. You can do this by typing your web address along with /wp-longin, for example: http://www.yoursite.com/wp-login.
Type in your username and password.
Step 2: Once you’re logged in, this is your dashboard:
Click the “Appearance” section on the left of the dashboard and choose “Themes” – this will take you to the main page for WordPress free themes section.
Here, you’ll be able to search for themes via a range of really handy filters like: Most popular (Most downloaded + used themes), Featured (Themes chosen by WordPress and featured), Latest Theme (Latest themes to be released on the platform).
WordPress themes mainly contain the following:
The complete design or style of your website
Styles for blog posts and blog archives
Additional stylistic details
In most cases – Responsive design
If you’re looking for something a bit more professional, more design led and more robust, than premium themes might be what you’re looking for. Premium themes have many advantages over free themes, such as reliable code base and superior support if something goes wrong with your site. You can get premium themes from Theme Forest and MyThemeShop.
When you have the theme you want for your website, click on the option “Install”, and then click “Activate”.
Feel free to change themes as many times as you wish, as it has no effect on the content you already have on there (blog posts, pages, images).
One of the great things about WordPress is that it can be extended almost infinitely with plugins. There are more than 48 000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory. These allow you to add new features to your website without having to do any coding. These plugins are the most important plugins you should install and configure:
Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines. It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole.
OptinMonster – OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows ou to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2018.
W3 Total Cache – Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, which means more visitors for your business website and more conversions. W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. This reduces the load on your server and your website becomes faster.
Akismet – Spam is the bane of our lives and it doesn’t just affect email; it also affects blogs. If you create a blog as part of your website and allow comments, then chances are you will get spam comments posted by users or bots.Akismet helps to identify and eliminate those spam comments so you have a clean website.
Contact Form 7 – The built-in WordPress contact form is a little bit basic. That’s why thousands of people useContact Form 7, both for their contact page and to collect visitors’ emails.
Wordfence Security – You’ll want to keep the hackers away from your website, so a security plugin is a must.Wordfence Security secures your site, lets you block attempted logins and bad bots, and even reminds you to keep your plugins and themes up-to-date for additional security.
Share Buttons by AddThis – Share Buttons by AddThis is one of the most-used social sharing plugins. It will automatically add social sharing buttons to each blog post to make it easy for readers to like and share your post on social media. Social media sharing is important for engagement, reach and SEO, so a plugin like this is essential.
Comments – wpDiscuz – WordPress has built-in comment management, but sometimes you need a little bit more.Comments – wpDiscuz plugin allows you to customize comment forms, integrates with social login, has antispam features and much more.
Envira Gallery – While you can easily create image galleries in WordPress without using a plugin, these galleries are fairly basic. Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful responsive galleries in WordPress. You can create multiple galleries, add them anywhere on your site, create albums, open images in lightbox popups and much more.
WooCommerce – If you’re planning to sell items on your website, then you need to be able to upload them easily, sort them into categories, add prices, and allow people to purchase them using PayPal or a credit card. That’s exactly what you get with WooCommerce. All you need to do is install the plugin, configure the basic options and start selling.
MonsterInsights – MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors, such as where are they coming from and what are they doing on your website. You can then optimize your site accordingly to improve your earnings.
Soliloquy – Sliders on your WordPress landing pages allow you to easily display your featured content, products and announcements in a beautiful and interactive way. Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider in the market. It allows you to easily create your own beautiful sliders and add them anywhere on your WordPress site.
CSS Hero – WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to you theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time consuming for a business owner. CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code.
BirchPress – If you need a solution for your business website where your users can book and pay for appointments, then BirchPress is the solution for you. It allows you to easily add a complete online booking system to your WordPress site.
Choose all the plugins you might need on your website, but be aware that many plugins can slow down your website, which is not good for SEO.
If you have followed all these steps in this guide, then chances are you now have a website for less than $100! Your easy-to-manage website is completely accessible and mobile-friendly, search engine optimized and ready for your users to engage with you and for you to collect your customers’ emails so that you can engage with them!
Newsletter Sign up
Get the industry's best marketing, branding, and technology tips to your inbox every week.
Want to see more? Take a look.
Ready to conquer digital?