If you are reading for this article, you are probably looking for tutorial to build your own website, want to hear about my experience of DIY a website or looking for cheap way to get your business site or blog. Here i said the word “cheap” is not totally mean to the cost, but also mean for the limitation, capabilities, accessibility and authoritative.
You can get a website as low as $0 cost, but what you can do for the site? Are you totally own the website? Can you do a little more decorate or adding new feature?
No Right? That’s even costly.
That’s why i want to share with you here to help you find the best website builder that suit of your need, of course i will guide you and tell you my experience from “saving $2,500 from web design company, and DIY my Website for only $141.”.
How I save $2,500 from Website Design Company and build a Website Myself for only $141.
Few years ago, i trying to get a website to start my online business. I was like you, have totally no ideas where to get start. I open google chrome, searching the keywords “web design” on google. I simply click on one of the website, go thru every pages of the design company website. I find the design company support to ask for more information about building a website.
This is the quotations I’ve received from the company.
The cost of build a website is almost $2,500. This is a huge investment for me, and when I got the quote, I was like “wow” let me think about it.
When I’m frustrated about to get a website, a friends who major in IT told me about WordPress, and guide me for every single step to make sure i can successfully build out my first website. After 2 weeks hardworking, my first WordPress website is live, this is how’s it look like.
Finally, i got my first personal website in my life. I get my domain name (maomaochia.com) from godaddy for $8.99 the first year and get a single web hosting server from SiteGround for $3.95/mo. the first year price. The total cost for this first website only $56.39 ($8.99 + $3.95*12 month), 44x time cheaper than the design company and it save me about $2,440.
After years, I’ve improve my site by adding premium plugins and get a superior WordPress themes, the average cost still as low as $141 per year. As for now my website is 8x time better than the first website, and here’s the cost.
- Domain $12.00/year
- Hosting $119.50/year
- Plugins $4.90/year
- Themes $4.90/year
- Total $141.30/year
How to build A Website?
Through my above sharing, what do you think? Do you want to build your own website? From my past experience, I save $2,500 to build my own website for only $141, and the results is undoubtedly excellent. I’m a finance student which have no HTML or coding knowledge before knowing about WordPress, if I could do it, of course you could too.
I know you come here for a purpose, and today, I want to share with you all my secret about build a website. You don’t have to be fear or sweat, because I will guide you like your mother take care of you. (just kidding)
In short, if you are ready to make your own website live then continue reading it. The tutorial have been divided into 4 steps, here is the quick go:
- Step 1 Choose the right CMS
- Step 2 Buy a domain and hosting
- Step 3 Setup and install WordPress
- Step 4 Customize and design
Lastly, I will guide you from zero to make your site live, keep focus on every single step then you won’t be have any problems, but if you really have, contact me ! I will reply asap. Alright, let’s start the tutorial.
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT CMS
If you wish to build a great, functional and mobile responsive website in shortly, you’ll want to decide on which CMS (called as content management system) to use.
What is “Content Management System”?
Properly, again in 2005 very long time ago, when people want to make a website or even a simple blog, they need to build it from scratch by using HTML (code), CSS and even Flash. These took quite a lot of time to complete build up a website, it take month or even year depends on the size and it is difficult to build yourself because you have to learn the coding stuff, it take time to learn.
That’s why for traditional mind, building an internet website is expensive and very difficult to do (Yes, they are right if you build from scratch), but they don’t know the world technology is evolution quickly. The time goes to today, Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress have made creating an internet website accessible to everybody.
Simply mean, a website builder platform (or CMS) is a user-friendly platform for constructing websites and managing your individual content (like images, blog post, video) online, instead of using the old methods of writing HTML code.
The CMS Today
In today market, there are tons of CMS website builder platform, just check out wiki and you can find out how many CMS available today. Due to the advancement of marketing skill, it make people don’t know how to choose the right one. Research from W3Techs, WordPress is used by 30.6% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2018, including those spammer site, backlink site and other non purpose site, WordPress actually cover more than 55% in the CMS markets.
There are more new entrants to the CMS market, and here we glad that only 2 are new in the top 3 growing CMS platform, and they are:
WordPress gain the huge support but Shopify and Squarespace are still rapid growing these years, their service and ability cannot be ignored and they deserve it. In Malaysia these are the top 6 CMS that we often see.
From the top 10 CMS in the website platform market, WordPress still is the main stream that lead the worlds.
These are the famous site that using the platform:
- Build with WordPress: BBC America, Time, The Rolling Stones, Beyonce, TechCrunch, Justin Bieber
- Build with Joomla: Holiday Inn Express, U.K National Crime Agency, OpenVPN, High Charts
- Build with Drupal: Linux, Harvard University, GE Transportation
- Build with Magento: Land Rover, Bulgari, G2A, Kinguin, YMEUniverse
- Build with Blogger: WEB UPD8, Hyperbole and a Half, Blogger Buzz
- Build with Shopify: WaterAid, The Economist, Sunday Somewhere, Penguin Books
- Build with Bitrix: Citrus, Eldorado, Leroy Merlin
- Build with Typo3: Sedo, Parallels, Notebookcheck
- Build with Squarespace: TrustPilot blog, Slidebean, Lyft, Wired
- Build with Prestashop: Asarayan, Decathlon, GeneveCompany
I Still Recommend WordPress..
Even some great platform came out in this few years, I still recommend WordPress because:
WordPress vs. Website Builders: Website builders service including hosting but are expensive and often very limited as WordPress are free. They are good for single page website, which you don’t need a lot of feature.
Guy! In the next step i will begin tap into the building sections, make sure you meet these 2 points to continue reading:
- Go with WordPress CMS. Below writing cover tutorial in WordPress, if you wish to use WordPress only go with it.
- Learn to build your WordPress website. On the below i will show you the complete guide to build a website and my experience of how i achieve to save $2,500 from web design company.
STEP 2: BUY A DOMAIN & WEB HOSTING
With a purpose to build your WordPress (or any other platform website), you need:
- A website domain name (for example maomaochia.com)
- Website hosting (a service that connects your website to the internet and storage that save all your website information)
Here to said, WordPress.com and WordPress.org is different things. All we have talk here is WordPress.org, and only org have the power to achieve all we need easily. The WordPress platform itself is free, however a website domain name and web hosting will have to pay by yourself. But don’t worry, a domain plus hosting can only cost you $3 – $5 per months, its cost less than a Starbucks.
Like i have said on the above, there are many free website builder platform which you can create your website for free but your website name are under the service company name. For example maomaochia.wix.com which look unprofessional if you are going to build a website for serious purpose.
More over, use your own hosting can manage your website down from online, it help you in SEO, user experience and many ways. If you don’t like the current hosting company you can switch to other but if you using free web platform hosting, you can’t do anything.
On the below, i have recommend 2 hosting company (Bluehost and SiteGround) provide top service in the industry, simply go with one of it to pick your domain and hosting.
Bluehost Domain and Hosting
1. Go to Bluehost
You can get a domain and hosting from Bluehost.com, they offer excellent service with affordable price for web hosting and provide FREE domain name when you sign up.
2. Choose Web Hosting Plan
When you head over their website then click “Get Started Now”, you’ll be taken to their hosting plan page. Right there are 3 plan available, i suggest you to choose the “basic” option since it’s really good for new websites and now they are running special promotion of $3.95/mo (original price $7.99/mo).
Another two option “plus” and “prime” are good, but for a new websites you don’t really need all this feature and unlimited stuff unless you have million of people browse you website each day.
3. Get a Domain
A domain for website is like a person name, it call who you are. If you are going to build a business or brand, the domain is best to use the business name or brand name. Before you learn other complicated factor of choosing a domain name. Keep your domain short and simple, using .com, .net, or .org at the end, avoid using weird extensions like .pizza, agency or other.
If you’ve got your domain, type in and press “Next” to continue.
4. Create Your Account
Now you have to fill in your information to create your account, i don’t think you have any problems with your own information, so just fill in everything they need and here to remind to use a real email, because the purchases receipt and for any information bluehost will contact you via email.
5. Get What You Want and it’s Done.
Here, select how long you like to signup for, only 36 – 60 month will get the cheapest rates. Last, unchecked all options unless you really need. If you want to keep your domain information anonymous, go and select “Domain Privacy Registration”.
Once you have paid and registered, create your password and go to the next step.
SiteGround Domain and Hosting
1. Go to SiteGround
Another choice to get domain and hosting is from SiteGround.com. Siteground provide extremely good customer service and hosting, it’s allow you to choose a host location in your nearby country to improve your site performance.
And YES, I’m personally using siteground hosting for my website.
2. Choose a Plan
There are also 3 plan available in siteground, for new websites i still recommend you to go with “Startup” plan, unless you have more than 2 websites then you may choose to “GrowBig” or”GoGeek”.
3. Enter Your Domain
Now, let’s pick a domain name, i think i don’t have to keep repeat the thing, what is domain… So, let’s enter yours.
4. Fill in Account Information
After choosing your plan and domain, it’s now fill in your information, if you’re already have an account, simply click to login.
5. Purchase, it’s All Set.
Last step, siteground hosting period for startup is $3.95 for the first time buyer, here you can choose how long do you want to sign-up for. You don’t need to rush for it, simply take the 12 months to test the water, even I’m already use siteground for several year, but maybe you may want to switch to another host or upgrade to another plan.
Choose a data center that close to your country, for SEA country use Singapore, the performance is good, loading speed is excellent. Purchase and it’s all set.
STEP 3: SET UP AND INSTALL WORDPRESS SITE
When you’ve purchased your website domain name from one of the domain seller and get your web hosting from server company, then it’s time to install WordPress to your server.
There are two methods to install WordPress in your hosting server. The first method you can just install in just few clicks but you have to make sure the hosting server have the features, allow you to one click install. If you get my recommended hosting, the one click install feature of course will be included.
But, if unfortunately the hosting you get don’t have the one click install feature, then you might have to go through the second methods to install WordPress for your website manually.
1. ONE CLICK INSTALL To Create A Website With WordPress (Magento, Joomla, PrestaShop and Drupal):
Most of the famous hosting service provider company have integrated the one-click install featured, because it can help user easily to install a platform in their server. Few well-known hosting company integrated with one-click installation are SiteGround, Bluehost and Hostgator. For other company you can check with their company support for more detail.
Here, if you eventually choosing my recommended company, you should find the one click installation in c-panel.
The following i will use SiteGround for demonstration, the steps should be similar on several major hosting companies:
- Log in to your internet hosting account.
- Go to your c-panel (know as control panel).
- Select the word “WordPress” or the icon.
- Click “Install” and choose the domain where you want to install.
- Fill in some info and process to finish install WordPress.
In case you are entering to China markets, here is another guide for: Install WordPress in Alibaba Cloud Web Hosting.
2. MANUALLY INSTALL WordPress To Your Server:
If you found your hosting company don’t provide one click installation, don’t worry, here is how to manually install WordPress for your new website.
- Download WordPress file from wordpress.org/download.
- Create a new database and MySQL users account. (If you bought a single website hosting, you are probably don’t need to create one, just ask your hosting support if you don’t know.)
Here we need 3 things: Database Name, MySQL username and MySQL password.
- Upload WordPress file to server.
Using FTP (FileZilla): The FTP address is usually ftp.yourdomain.com, username and password are the same that you used to register to your host.
Directly in cpanel: login to your cpanel, go to file manager and upload WordPress zip file to your website folder and unzip it.
- If you see “index.php” file in your server website folder just deleted it and run installation: use url > yourdomainname.com/wp-admin/install.php
- Choose a language and enter your database connection detail.
- Fill up some info and click “Install WordPress”, you will soon access to your new website.
In case you are not clear with the above manually install process, here is the guide in detail: How to install WordPress Manually.
STEP 4: CUSTOMIZE AND DESIGN YOUR WEBSITE
Choose a Template/Theme for your website
After you have successfully login to your WordPress website, you’ll see a basic default theme:
However you don’t want your website look like the same with other people, that’s why you need a theme. A template theme that can make your website standout with other website, every themes have their own style and you can find one that you love and suit of your website.
Here’s why we choose WordPress, because there are countless themes available for you to choose and most of them are FREE. Beside, you can also find premium theme from marketplace like envato.com which make your website to another level.
How to Install Your Best Free WordPress Themes
1. Log into your WordPress dashboard
In case you’re unsure about it, browse the link: https://yoursitedomain.com/wp-admin (replace “yoursitedomain” to yours).
Below is what the WordPress dashboard look like:
Every part is clearly labelled. In case you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry – I’m will guide you step by step to the end.
2. Entry FREE themes
When you’re entering to the dashboard, you’ve got more than 1500 free themes for you to install. How to go ? Go to “Appearance” > “Themes” and you will see.
If you need one high featured and professional WordPress themes, you can check out to ThemeForest.net to find one you like, but on an average cost in themeforest are about $30 and for multi purpose theme can be as high as $60. I’m using soledad themes for this blog cost $59.
However before you bought a premium theme, I still suggest you to stick with the free themes. There are many free themes that are well made and powerful, it allow you to at least for the first few years, once you find the themes is blocking your site growing, only you can find a better themes that suit your need.
Now you will see there are huge themes available on WordPress and very easy to obtain one.
You may find your themes by key-in particular key phrases or use filters to find the themes that suit of your style. Take some time to discovering the themes you like and don’t forgot to find the themes that is responsive. It mean while people browsing your website using mobile device it will automatically fit in to the best look.
3. Install and Set up your new theme.
After you have discovered a theme you want, installing is very simple:
- Click “Install”.
- Wait a few seconds, click “Activate”.
** If you like to change a new themes, don’t worry the content, posts and pages that you have previously created it won’t be deleted. Changing a themes won’t affect anything about your website.
How to Create a Page and Add in My Content
What you have done until this step.
✅ Get your domain and hosting.
✅ WordPress installed.
✅ Themes activated.
Now, it’s time to start creating your website content. Let me guide you some fundamental:
1. Add and edit Pages.
- To create a new page, in your WordPress Dashboard, look for the label “Pages” > “Add New”.
- When you’ve clicked, you’ll discover the display that look like what you’ve possibly seen in Microsoft. Add pictures, text and other tools to create your pages, publish it when you have done the writing.
2. Add to Menu.
Now you may want to add your pages to navigation menu.
- Click on “Appearance” > “Menus” in WordPress Dashboard sidebar.
- Select a menu to edit or create a new menu.
- Tick the page you want to add and click “Add to Menu”
- Lastly, set where the menu to show on Menu Settings (Primary Menu/ Home Page Header Menu).
3. Add and edit Blog Posts.
If you want to write a blog for your website, it’s the same process as adding new pages.
- Click on “Posts” > “Add New Post”.
- Choose a Category.
- Create a tags.
- Upload a featured image.
But there are different as a blog can be categorize and use tags to let your reader easily to find similar blog posts. For example you want to share some articles about food, you can create a new category named “Food” by click on the “Add New Category” to add in.
Another way to create a new category on “Posts” > “Categories”. On there you can also write description for the category or create parent and secondary category.
When you’ve created it, add it to the menu, and it done!
Customize Your New WordPress Website
WordPress is powerful in customization, it allow user to customize almost everything, but before you to into professional customize, let’s learn the basic.
1. Changing Your Website Title and Tagline.
Page titles is like your name that tell people who is this, what is this site about. It also tell search engines like google and yahoo what’s this site to be show in search result and directly affect your website rankings, so that you need to make sure the titles is you or the website really are in the keywords.
It is best to use a unique title on each web page of your website. For instance, I’m using my name “Maomao” for the title as this is my personal blog.
Taglines in a few words, explain what this site is about. My tagline is “blogger Malaysia” as I’m a blogger from Malaysia.
(Can’t discover it? To preview your site title and tagline, simply move your mouse over the tab at the top of your web browser).
To change the title and tagline in your WordPress site, go to “Settings” > “General” and you will find it:
2. Disable Commenting for Posts & Pages.
If you don’t want your pages to allow your visitor to place a comment on your pages or posts. Below are how to do it.
How to turn off commenting on single pages:
- On the page you want to turn of commenting, click on “Screen Options” at the top right.
- Click “Discussion” field. The “Discussion” field will appear at the bottom.
- Untick “Allow Comments”.
Turn off comments on all page by default:
To turn off all page by default simply go to “Settings > Discussion” and untick “Allow people to post comments on new articles” and don’t forgot to “save”.
3. Set up a Static Front Page.
Are you frustrated on why your home page looks like a blogs? That is because you are missing to set your static front page. For default your home page will be set to your latest posts.
A static front page mean you can set a page that you have created and that doesn’t change. But for a blog page, it will keep update and display new change once a new article have published.
How to set up static front page:
1. First, go to “Settings > Reading”.
2. Click on “A static page” and select a page you want to set it for front page (Home page), and set another page for blog posts page (will frequent update).
4. Create your sidebar.
Every WordPress themes have a sidebar like default “Categories”, “Meta” and “Archives” to show on every blog posts page. Business use to show “Sign up for newsletter”, “FREE Giveaway”, “Advertisement” and other marketing content. Because sidebar always stick to blog posts which have high exposure.
To eliminate the sidebar or edit to a new items, here’s how to do:
- Go to “Appearance” > “Widgets” in the WordPress Dashboard left sidebar.
- Right here, you can add available widget to the sidebar or using drag and drop to do so. To delete it, simply drag the widget out of the sidebar or click “delete”.
If you have knowledge in HTML, you can also use “HTML widget” and wrote in your own code to show on your sidebar. But for newbies, you can just simply ignore it, just use the available normal widget is enough for you at the current stage.
Power Your Website by Adding Plugins
1. What’s a plugin in WordPress?
“Plugins” are extensions or a piece of program containing a group of functions can be added to a WordPress website to increase WordPress’ capabilities and make the website go beyond the original feature that don’t come built-in from scratch.
WordPress have the most powerful plugins in all major CMS, you can do almost everything from linking Facebook page to website, improve website security by adding anti-virus or start selling online by creating an online store. Here got everything you need.
2. How to install a Plugin to my Site?
Install plugins in WordPress is also an easy work, simply go to “Plugins” > “Add New” and you will find countless free plugins in there.
There are more than 25,000 different FREE plugins (still counting), that why i say you can do almost anything in WordPress.
Find a plugin you want, click “Install”, wait for 2 seconds click “Activate”, install a plugin is that easy.
When you grow a little bit experience, you could find even powerful plugins from envato market with a cost. There are many company that provide premium plugins to make your Website go to the next level.
These are the top 3 plugin that i recommend, so that you don’t need to waste your time in find journey:
- Yoast SEO: If you wish to increase your WordPress web site exposure, this is the plugin you must need. Yoast Seo is powerful, it help you to optimize your website seo by allow to adding several meta tag, xml sitemap and description to make search engine find you easily.
- Contact form 7: Almost every WordPress site need it. Contact form for a website let visitor to connect with you easily by without logging to their email account just fill-in form to complete. I personally use it on my contact me page, it’s easy and free.
- Smush Image Compression: Loading large amount of images can slow down your website loading time. Smush can resize, optimize and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful. Make your website load faster and improve your website user experience.
To save your precious time, here are Top 10 Free WordPress Plugins that use in among every website.
Congratulations you have successfully get your site!
Yeah, you have successfully finish this guide, if you follow everything, you should now get your functional WordPress website. From now you may keep learning to improve your website, and here is next thing you can discover:
- How to translate your website to multilingual (92 Language)
- How to Increase WordPress Website Speed (90 Score Google)
- 30 Seconds to Backup Your Website in WordPress
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or find me on social media.
Your sharing is my power of writing, if you find this guide is useful, please do share to social media, thank you very much.