If you want create a website from scratch, but you only have a short budget and absolutely zero technical knowhow, then this short guide is for you.
This article is meant for absolute beginners who just really want to create a website without all the technicalities and complications. So if you’re a startup business owner who just wants a website for his office to show off to clients, or a foodie who wants to write your restaurant reviews online, or you’re a do-it-yourself guy or gal who just needs a site, then keep reading! I will stray away from as much technical jargon to keep things as simple as possible.
Let’s enumerate what we’ll end up with when we’re done. By the end of the article, you would have:
- Your own website that people can visit at http://supermegaawesomewebsite.com,
- Optionally have your own email address at [email protected],
- A certain zen-like state of mind.
What You Need
Okay, so before we begin with the actual steps, we’ll need the following:
- An idea of what your website is going to be,
- A credit card or a Paypal account with $100 dollars credit, and
- A soda or a glass of water just in case you get thirsty, it’s always good to be hydrated.
What Is a Website?
Before we do anything, it’s important to know what we are actually creating first. Yes, we are creating your own website, but what is it really?
In a nutshell, a website is a bunch of files in a special computer, and this special computer can be accessed by using a special web address on your web browser. After accessing the web server, it’s going to crunch those files together and in the end we would be able to see a pretty looking web page.
The bold words in the previous paragraph are the stuff that we need to get. Luckily for us, there is a place where we can get all of those all at once.
Getting a Place in The Web
I would recommend getting the GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting – Basic Plan. This plan gives us everything that we need to create our site right away with the least amount of hassle. The best part is that we don’t have to worry about the technical details of setting everything up.
If you’re wondering what a “Managed WordPress Hosting” plan is, I’ll break it down:
- Managed – GoDaddy will be the ones who’ll make sure that everything runs smoothly, updated, fast and without any problems. And if you need any help, you can ask their customer support.
- WordPress – This the content management platform that will be used. It’s what you’ll use to publish your content online. It’s awesome. If you want to know more about WordPress, WP101 has a great intro video on What WordPress Is
- Hosting – Everything will be placed in GoDaddy’s servers, so everything can be accessed quickly and with almost no down time.
When getting the plan from GoDaddy, they also provide you with a domain name for free. This is awesome since now we don’t have to do anything aside from signing up in order to get the full package!
As an added bonus, you can also get email addresses by getting their Basic Plan. The first year is free, so this is a no-brainer if you’re going to use email to converse with customers and other people.
Check out this link below for more details on their plans (and no, they’re not paying me to recommend them):
Fill up all the details, find the domain name that you want (you don’t have to use supermegaawesomewebsite.com), then continue to check out and pay for it.
I recommend that you sign up for at least one year so that you can avail of their discounts. You can also scour the web to check if there are any promos available.
Congratulations, You Now Have A WordPress Website!
After you’ve gotten your GoDaddy hosting, then your site should now be working fully. You can start browsing to your domain http://supermegaawesomewebsite.com and see your site.
Initial impressions of your site is that it might look.. empty.. and it looks normal. Don’t worry, let’s fix that up!
Accessing Your Website
Since you’ve signed up with GoDaddy, they’ll give you a URL where you can access the administration side of your website. If you can’t find it, you can add a
/wp-admin at the end of your URL. e.g. http://supermegaawesomewebsite.com/wp-admin and log in from there. Once logged in, you’ll end up in your WordPress Dashboard.
GoDaddy has their own “Quick Setup” system to help beginners customize their site. I recommend going through this setup process if you aren’t familiar with how WordPress works.
Now it’s time to get familiar with WordPress. As I’ve mentioned earlier, WordPress is the platform you’re now using to publish your content. In other words: you log into your site, create pages and blog posts and literally hit the publish button.
The next step now is to learn how to use WordPress. If you haven’t used WordPress before, the dashboard is a bit of an information overload if you’re seeing it for the first time. I recommend that you explore the different areas on your own pace.
If you need guidance, there are a lot of tutorials on how to use WordPress online too. One of them is WP101. WP101 makes things super easy by providing lots of tutorials in video format, and they have a huge library of videos that will teach you all the ins and outs of WordPress.
They have a few free videos in their site. For example, you can watch WP101’s video tutorial about the WordPress Dashboard.
Making Your Site Look Pretty
The next step is to change the design of your site to make it match your personality and/or needs. You’ll need themes for that. In short, themes are like “skins” for your WordPress site.
There are a ton of free and paid themes out there. If you want free themes, then there’s no doubt that the WordPress.org theme directory is your number one option.
Since there are a lot out there though, it’s sometimes hard to find the perfect one for you. Theme Friendly’s Find Themes helps by providing reviews for themes and gives them a score based on their review. They have a number of themes in their site, and probably the best thing there is that you can click on filters while browsing themes, so you can view only themes fit for portfolios, businesses or blogs, and many more.
There are also paid themes, but for starters I would recommend the free ones first. If you decide to take the premium route check out Premium WordPress’ list of theme shops.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention ThemeForest, it’s because there are a lot of themes there that add a lot of bloat (unnecessary features) to your site. So if you really want to find a theme from there, tread carefully.
Adding More Functionality To Your Site
As you create your site and continue to add content to it, you might find yourself wanting to add more stuff like contact forms, maybe some icons, or a Google Map, or something else. For these kinds of stuff, you’ll need plugins.
As with themes, there are also a ton of free and paid options. And like themes, the number one choice for free plugins is the WordPress.org plugin directory. It’s a common saying within the WordPress community that if you need something in your site, “there’s a plugin for that.”
For premium plugins, you can also find premium ones in CodeCanyon.net. But I would recommend going through the thousands of free ones in the WordPress.org plugin directory first.
You might have noticed that the total cost indicator is a range instead of a solid number. It’s because there are various ways to push the cost down like watching out for promotions, and opting for free themes & plugins.
So if you play your cards right, you can actually have your own site from scratch (powered on for a full year), for only $27.18
Most likely the succeeding years won’t be as cheap as the first year, but if you have your site up and running for at least a year already, then I would like to think that it’s a success and the other future costs aren’t a problem anymore.
Hopefully you’ve learned a bunch from this article. And if you didn’t know about WordPress before and you’re now a proud WordPress user, consider joining the numerous WordPress communities online. Just search for a WordPress group in Facebook
Wait! Don’t Close the Tab Yet!
Hold on! I’d like to mention Page Builder Sandwich before you close this tab. I’ve mentioned a lot of awesome stuff above, but you haven’t seen Page Builder Sandwich yet.
Page Builder Sandwich will let you design your pages in your brand new site easily without knowing any piece of code. It looks and behaves kinda like editing a word processor document, but it’s for websites. With it, you’ll be able to make your site even more awesome with carousels, icons, buttons, image backgrounds and plenty more easily.
You can try out the demo, or watch the video below. What’s cool is that we’re still below the $100 limit