Is building a website going to cost you thousands of dollars?
When you’re first starting your business, there’s a lot of expenses that come up. Creating a website that is introducing you to the world doesn’t have to be one of those expenses. But is that possible? Can you set it up to where you expand later as your business grows? The simple answer is yes, and here is how.
All you need is your domain, hosting, WordPress, a theme, page builder, and any additional plugins that help you expand the functionality of your website.
The domain is just your website’s name. Hosting is the software for you to save your website. For example, think of the iPhone, “iPhone” is the name of your phone. The software that’s in it is your hosting. WordPress or your CMS that you’re using, those are the little apps that can make it work.
Let’s break it down and start with your domain; there are free domains that are available for you to get. The only thing with a free URL is that they’re not going to rank very well in Google. I would recommend that you purchase one; that way, you can secure it to your business now. This will ensure, nobody else has it, and you won’t have to pay a private party to get the domain later on. Those people could try to charge you anywhere between 100 to 1000 dollars. If you can secure your link now, do it.
The most expensive domains I have seen can be up to $30 a year. But you can get a domain that’s as cheap as $1 or $2 for your first year. After that, it’s usually anywhere between $14 to $18 a year.
Along with purchasing your domain, I highly recommend that you make it a private domain. If you don’t, you are going to end up with numerous phone calls of people trying to sell you their web design services. You do not want this. I accidentally did that once, and it is a pain. I’m still getting phone calls on one of my domains. When you make your URL private, you are hiding your personal information so that companies can’t spam you. Spending that little extra is not expensive either. It might be a couple of dollars a year. This means, at most, for a domain, it could cost around $30 a year.
The next thing that you want to have is hosting. There is free hosting that you can get. But like a free domain, you’re not going to rank very well, nor is it secure. These companies have to pay to keep their hosting and their servers updated, safe, and backed up. But if you don’t pay them, than there’s not going to be any workforce behind it to keep it updated and secure. That is why Google isn’t going to rank your site very well. So if you only need a temporary website, free hosting will do. However, if you want to have a professional website, then you need to make sure that you choose an excellent hosting company.
You could go through a company like MightWeb, which I love. Mightweb is the company that I resell my hosting through to my clients; that way, they have everything with me as I’m designing their website, but then they still have full control over the hosting. You could even go through a company like GoDaddy, inmotion, a2, or Siteground. I have used all of them.
I prefer MightWeb personally because my WordPress website links to my Chrome extension. I have custom API’s that are connecting it, and I need a website and a server that’s going to have a lot of uptime. If my extension isn’t working, my users can’t use it. That means my hosting needs to have excellent performance, a high percentage of uptime, and excellent customer service when issues arise. Their cost is also reasonable. The cheapest plan is only $4 a month, equaling just under $48 a year.
One-click install WordPress
When you get your hosting through a company like MightWeb, you get a one-click install through your cPanel, allowing you to click a button and install WordPress. The best part, you don’t need to know how to code to get WordPress up and running. Just one click and done. Easy Peasy.
After you have WordPress installed, you need to have your theme to use.
For designers, Oceanwp has a child theme that you can easily brand to your clients. I enjoy doing this for my clients because it gives them a more professional feel. Oceanwp also provides many additional add ons to expand the functionality of the theme. If you are interested, you can purchase them from their website, I believe for one site, it’s only $39 a year which helps to pay for your support and any updates needed. OceanWP also has some one-click themes that you can install, allowing you to see templates, and when you find the one you like, you click install, and it will apply all of those customizations to your website.
After you have your theme, you’re probably thinking, my entire website is customizable. How can I make my pages also customizable and professional? Use a page builder.
Having a page builder is essential when you want to increase your productivity by getting your site up and running. Another benefit is they allow you to design your page without needing knowledge of code. The best page builder I have come across for this is Elementor. Elementor has over three million active installs and almost a five-star rating on the wordpress.org. And it is free. Elementor has completely dominated the page building community for WordPress. You can visually design your page as you’re putting it together, which I think is excellent. They have many widgets that you slide over and see your page come alive as you’re creating it.
On top of that, they also have templates with a one-click Install. After you apply it, you change all of the information that you need to change to make it yours. If you want to expand the functions, Elementor does offer a paid version. I use this and love it.
As you can see, when you put both Oceanwp and Elementor together, it’s as though you have an all in one platform, making it easy for you to customize and create your website without the need to know code or spend tons of money on a developer to create it for you.
Once you get your website up, depending on the functions you need, WordPress provides enough options for you to get the job done.
Plugins for functionality
I love having the central color palette plugin installed on my website. As a business, you have your brand. Your brand has specific colors. You’re going to want all of your colors very cohesive through your website. When I built my first website, I didn’t want to take the time to apply my colors, mainly due to laziness. I found myself just clicking on the default colors in the color palette. My site looked awful. Now, after taking a branding course by the amazing Mor Cohen, I learned to use the central color palette. It allows you to choose what your branding colors are and apply them as the default color palette. Making it easy, so you do not have to go back and forth with your branding style guide. Instead, it’s just on your website and ready to go. Best of all, this plugin is free.
E-commerce websites allow you to offer products on your site. The best and most used plugin for this is Woocommerce. It’s a free plugin that turns your website into a store to sell your products to your customers. Woocommerce is a free plugin and offers many paid add ons to expand the functions of your store if you need too.
Here is a shortlist of add ons you can purchase:
- Subscription products
- Shipping carriers
- Mix and match to offer customizable wine clubs
- Booking addon for coaches who need to book paid meetings with clients.
- And many more
Membership sites are a way for you to restrict specific content that shows only to those who are “members” of your website. This membership can either be sold or given for free, that is entirely up to you. I have owned a membership website for over three years as a way to sell “memberships” to my Chrome Extension.
Many membership plugins are available for you to choose from, but the two best plugins are:
Restrict Content Pro
I have personally been using Restrict Content Pro for over three years. You can choose from multiple add ons and integrations, depending on what you are looking for on your membership website. Not to mention, they provide you with excellent customer service.
WP-Members is a free plugin with over 5000 active installs. Active install means that is how many people have that plugin installed and activated within their website. They also have almost a five-star rating. So you know that it is actively worked on and updated. It’s also highly recommended amongst multiple blogs.
WordPress is an excellent platform for photographers. When you use OceanWP and Elementor, you can create gorgeous portfolios of all of your images. If you add a membership plugin, you can create an area for each one of your clients to privately view their photos without it being open to the public. An excellent option for photographers who do boudoir shoots. This kind of photoshoot needs to be secure and not shown to the world. Those women and men are trusting you to be able to take these photos, but not show them openly to the world. So having a membership website is an excellent way to provide them with the security of knowing their photos are private.
As you can see, to create an inexpensive website, all you need is your domain, your hosting, theme, page builder, and any additional plugins to extend the functionality of your site for what you need. At most, for basic functionality, you would only be spending about $100 a year, which is less than $10 a month for you. Plus, you will be setting up your website to allow you to build on it as you grow.
If you do want to add on any of the add ons, you might end up paying around $500 a year, which equals to be about $42 a month. That is very comparable to both WIX and Squarespace when you start to compare the different functions among all of them.
WordPress is an excellent CMS for you to use to build your website. You will keep your costs low, and it’s something you can start with now and build on later as you expand your business.