Build a website for next to nothing with wordpress.

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Anyone these days can Build a website for next to nothing. There are some great tools out there and with web hosting companies offering one-click application installation as standard there is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go.  A self-hosted WordPress installation is a good way to go.  The software is FREE and has a very easy learning curve.  Reliable hosting just starts at around £4.50 a month for a multisite setup.

There are a lot of hosted site building platforms such a “Wix” “Weebly” Square Space” etc. There is even a hosted version of “WordPress” These all look good but when you want to start making them work for you then you have to pay for every little extra.  For starters, you will need to add your own domain name so a premium plan is essential. Need to add a contact form? Install an app.  Remove adds and limits from your contact form? Upgrade the app to the premium plan.  Add a shopping cart? A further upgrade and even more dosh needed.

This being said, yes there are premium themes and plugin upgrades but with thousands of themes and plugins widely available you are going to be able to build a website for next to nothing.

What you need in place to build a website for next to nothing.

Before we can start we will need WordPress. A place to call home and name.

What is WordPress?

For clarification, there is WordPress.org who supply, distribute, maintain the software we are going to use to build a website for next to nothing. There is also WordPress.com who provide a hosted platform that, as mentioned above, provide there own hosted version of “WordPress” at a premium and works very much like “Wix”, “Square Space” and “Weebly”. For this tutorial, you can forget about wordpress.com.

WordPress is a CMS or content management system software.  Basically, it is a platform for building websites and blogs. It is very easy to use and you do not have to know anything about coding as this is all done for you.  It is open source so can be used, manipulated, and even redistributed.

WordPress started out as a platform for bloggers back in 2003 and has evolved into the great website software we see today, powering over 27% of the internet.  There are thousands of themes and plugins that can help you get your site looking and functioning as you want to.  Most come with premium options that may look tempting but there are plenty of good ones that will get the job done without having to pay a penny.  For example, on this site, I have perfectly good contact forms and one of the best e-commerce platforms around at no cost at all.

Web Hosting.

When you build a website for next to nothing you will need a place to build it and for it to live. This is where then ‘next” as in “next to nothing” comes into play.

Good quality shared web hosting does not need to cost the earth.  I am not talking about all unlimited bundles. I have been there and it stinks. For around £4 a month you can get unlimited storage with unlimited sites. Which looks good value on paper but in reality all you might get is grief, as overloaded servers work slowly. Now, a good quality shared hosting service is essential, and for as little as £2.92 a month TSOHOST will give you 15GB of storage with an unlimited bandwidth. This is more than enough for 100,000-page views a month. And when you need more resources you just upgrade with a click of a button.

There are other hosting companies available but TSOHOST is my personal favourite. I have used some of the bigger names and some of the smaller ones, but no one compares to them in uptime, speed and customer support. You can sign up for one of their plans by the links on this post’. I will get a small fee for every successful referral but I would not recommend them if I did not believe them to be any good. If you decide that TSOHOST is for you, you will be supporting this blog when you subscribe from these links.

You can sign up for web hosting with TSHOST here.

Domain name.

Your website will need a domain name.  This is the web address you type into the address bar at the top of your web browser to visit your website. You can purchase your domain name when you sign up for web hosting. TSOHOST will give you a free domain name with a yearly plan. Or if you go with a monthly payment option then you can get a .uk domain for just £1 for the first year. Currently £5.99 for every one year’s renewal after. Other suffixes available at varying prices.

Choosing a domain name.

This is something you need to think about carefully. Be warned, your first choice may not be available as it may have already been registered already.

Choose a name that is relevant to and describes the subject of your site.

Keep it as short as possible, and avoid using hyphens (-), underscores (_) or anything else to separate words. Joined phrases work best for domain names. For example, “janesknittingshop.uk” is easier to remember and type in, than it is for “janes-knitting-shop.uk”. With the later, the user will have to remember the hyphens or know the difference between hyphens and underscores? As well as having to locate them on the keyboard. Using the shift key can result in a missed typed web address.

Touch-screen keypads on mobile devices are tricky at the best of times. Keep the number of keystrokes to a minimum.

Make it catchy. Especially if the business name or whatever has not yet been established. This is worth thinking about. Keeping focused on the subject of knitting as a way of example,  “knittingmagic.uk” is quite catchy. However, it probably is so catchy that it has been already taken, even if it doesn’t host a live site it could be parked somewhere waiting for the highest bidder. Not to worry, magic is not the only word that means “magic”.  With the help of an online thesaurus, and a little imagination you can find plenty of alternatives or Synonyms. So “knittingmojo.uk” could be the one!

I had a big task with my own domain logomojo.uk. With’Logo”, already oversubscribed I finally decided on magic, but it was already taken. Hence logomojo.uk and.co.uk where born. There is a current  .com that I have my eye on and a current .au but neither of these is in competition with me.

Build a website for next to nothing.

So you have purchased your web hosting package, and registered your domain name with your host. For this tutorial, we are using TSOHOST‘s U.K.Cloud Web Hosting Platform. to install WordPress. Other hosting services may use, different, but still easy one-click methods.

Sign into your control panel.

Install your Free SSL certificate.

Before you install WordPress, if you are using TSOHOST, you can add a FREE SSL certificate with “Let’s Encrypt”. This adds a layer of protection between your user’s browser and your website. You should have an SSL certificate if you intend to exchange information on your site. Anything from, a simple contact form, to financial information, like credit card details.

It will install trust with your users as the “Padlock” symbol in your user’s browser. Other advantages are Search engines like “Google” and “Bing” favour securer websites in their search result placement.

Your Web host will offer you a premium SSL at a price. Between £40.00 to £250 per annum. Not all have a one-click install for Let’s Encrypt certificate. However, you can install a “Let’s Encrypt certificate” manually on to your server. But this can be tricky and is not recommended for beginners.

You want to select the "Lets Encrypt" To install your FREE SSL.
You want to select the “Lets Encrypt” To install your FREE SSL.

Be sure to select “Let’s Encrypt”. The “SSL Certificates” option is for a paid for service. I am not sure if there are any benefits to a paid for SSL, other than they are usually installed by the hosting company. Whereby “TOSHOST” offer you both, and this is one of the reasons that I chose them.

Install WordPress.


Click on “Add new website.

Add new website
Type domain name build a website for next to nothing

Enter your domain name and click on next.

Now go to manage websites and click on the domain name you have just entered.

click manage websites
instal applications

Locate the applications options and select “Install Applications”

install wordpress

On the next screen select the new software tab, locate WordPress and click on the green “instal” button.

It will take about a minute for the software to install on your server.

Once installed you will be presented with your login details. A random username, and a temporary password, that you will need to change ASAP from your profile as soon as you have logged in.

login details

Make a note of this information, and keep it safe. Click on the green login button next to your new installation. You will be presented with a link to your WordPress admin. It will look something like this.

http://yourdomainname.uk/wp-admin/

Once you have clicked on the link, you will be asked to log into your new websites admin area. Or more commonly known in the WordPress community, as the “Back-end”

wordpress login build a website for next to nothing

Enter your login details provided, click “login”, and, WALLA!

wordpress dashboard

Welcome to the back-end of your new WordPress website.

Now is the time to edit your profile and change your password.

Click admin, then “edit profile in the top righthand corner.

On the following page, you can enter and change your details.

Note: The email field may already be populated with a default “admin@yourdomain.uk” or something similar. Unless you are already familiar with the host’s email service and have already configured this email address I recommend that you change this to your regular email now! You will receive an email with a confirmation link to the email address you entered once you have saved your profile changes.

Password.

At the bottom of the profile page under “Account Management,” you can change your password.

generate password button wordpress

The field will automatically fill with a random mix of numbers letters and other characters. You can go with this random string (recommended) and make a note of it, or you can choose one of your own.

No matter how obscure and unguessable you think your passwords are, it has nothing to do with guesswork. Bots are used to crack logins with “brute force attack” buy trying every combination at high speed. Passwords containing real words and phrases combined with memorable dates, like birthdays, and historical events, get found first.

It can take months of hard work to get a website, or blog, ranking on the first pages of Google search results. Then only days to see your traffic drop, caused by malicious hacking, leaving you no other choice than to, either spend a fortune getting a professional to fix things, quickly, with no guarantees. Or to shut everything down and start over. Just because you build a website for next to nothing in monetary terms Loss of time spent can seem like a lost fortune.

Themes.

WordPress Themes

Your new WordPress site will come with a default theme already activated a few others installed just for good measure.

The current default theme is WordPress “Twenty Seventeen.” (they have not given us 2018 this year). You can change the theme with the ” + Add new” link. We cover themes in our article How to install a WordPress theme the easy way.

wordpress twenty seventeen,

This is the Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme. We will be using this one for now.  Forget about the header image for now. There are thousands of FREE themes available that work straight out of the box, which is great when you want to build a website for next to nothing. You can find more detailed information on how to install a WordPress theme in my tutorial post “How to install a WordPress theme the easy way“.

Change your URL prefix for SSL enabled website.

The default URL prefix is”http://”. If you have added an SSL certificate (as described above) the prefix needs to be “https://“. On your dashboard, go to Settings/general, and locate WordPress Address (URL) and Site Adress (URL). If the prefix is http you need to change this to https.

Now scroll down and click the “Save Changes” button.

If you have change the settings you will need to sign in again.

You can ignore this step if you decided not to install a SSL certificate.

Permalinks.

Now you need to set your permalinks. These are the unique URLs to each of your pages and blog posts, and archives. A permalink is the web address of the content on your website. You can choose one of the options available or add your own custom structure. For ease of readability to both your readers and search engines I always recommend the pretty links options. These are “name & date” or just “name”.

WordPress permalink settings.

https://logomojo.uk/2018/06/16/build-website-next-nothing/
or
https://logomojo.uk/build-website-next-nothing/

Rember to press save to set your changes.

Let’s add some pages.

It is time to add some pages. There are types of “page“.  There is your blog page and your Static page.

You only have one blog page and this is where your “posts” will be displayed in the order of latest first. You can scroll down to earlier posts. More on posts later.

The static page is, well as the name suggests, static. This page doesn’t move or change in the way the blog page does. You can have an unlimited number of static pages. This is just as well, you will be needing them.

Your new WordPress installation May already be populated with a couple of “simple” pages + one sample post. You can either change these to your needs or delete them and start over. The purpose of this tutorial, we are starting over.

Add a new page.

Add new page wordpress link

On the toolbar at the top of your admin panel select new and then click on page. You can also access pages from the sidebar and select add new page from there.

Now we are presented with the page editing section. So the first step is to give the page a title. This one is going to be our blog page so we are just going to call it “Blog”.

Name your page.

We will not be adding any other content to this page as it will be automatically populated with your posts as you publish them.

publish your page.

Click on publish and weight for the page to refresh before moving on.

Add another new page.

This time we are going to call it “Home“.

WordPress page editor.

As you can see, I have added some content. You can use the drop-down menu to select the content type. ie; Paragraphs and headings. Headings are a great way to separate your page/post content. They aid readability for humans and search engines alike.

Wordpress headings selector
hightailed heading 2

Add an image to the page.

while we are here let us add an image. Place your cursor where you want the image to be placed and click on “Add Media” ay the top of the editor.

Add Media from wordpress editor add image

On a brand new WordPress installation, you will be presented with this.

Select media file to upload

Click “Select Files” to upload your image from your computer or device.

Attachment Details.

Make a point of filling out the details section before clicking on “insert into page/post“, The most important two are the title and Alt Text.

The title, If it doesn’t already, should be descriptive to the image subject, or the topic of the post or page. This will be added to the images URL.

Image attachment details

The Alt Text should describe images, as the original sole purpose of the Alt Text was, and still is, to describe the image subject When, for any reason, the image can’t be displayed in the user’s browser. The Alt Text is also used by search engines when ranking pages, as they use the Alt Text in association with the content to determine if the page or post has relevant images. Pages with relevant images rank higher than those that do not. At least one image on each post or page should also contain the relevant keyword phrase included into the Alt Text. For example, the long tail keyword or keyword phrase I am using in this post is “Build a website for next to nothing”.

Image added to WordPress editor.
Image added to WordPress editor.

Most themes support “feature images”. You can add one to each post or page to be featured in a prominent position on the blog page, or feed, as it is often referred to.

Set feature image.
Set feature image.
Feature image preview.
Feature image preview.

Now it is time to publish the page.

Publish wordpress page
Click “publish” to publish your new page. The button will change from publish to update.
Published first page build a website for next to nothing
your new page should look something like this.
Front home page settings.
Or like this with the page attribute set as the front page. (dependent on the theme).

Determine front/home page.

Remember earlier we set up two pages. “Home‘ and Blog“? By default, WordPress sets the post page or blog page as the homepage. This can be great if the blog is the main purpose of the website but you may want to change this to a “static page”? Just like the screenshots above as taken from our demo site that was also a “build a website for next to nothing”.

WordPress settings reading
From the sidebar menu in the admin area select settings-reading.
Set home page display
Use the drop-down menus to select the home page and the blog page. Be sure to click on save at the bottom to save your changes.

This setting can also be changed in the “Customizer.

Menue.

Menus allow your readers to navigate, find their way, around your site. They are groups of clickable links. This is how to set up your primary menu.

Primary menu
This is how the Primary menu looks on the Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme.
Add menus
From the sidebar go to Appearance-Menus.

First of all, we need to give our menu a name.

Create menu in WordPress
Enter a name for your new menu and click “Create Menu”
Select pages for menu
Tick (check) the pages you want to add to the menu. Click add to the menu.

You can drag the pages to arrange them into the order that you want them to show in the menu.

By ticking the auto add box will ensure all new pages added will be added to the menu automatically.

The top menu box will designate the menu as the main site menu.

Remember to save menu.

Menu bar

Customization.

From the top toolbar click Customise.

From the top toolbar click Customize.

A menu like this will appear on the right-hand side.

Customise menu

From here you can change and add things to enhance the appearance of your site. What you can do in the customizer will depend on the theme you are using. Each theme will have its own documentation.

The first thing you would want to look at is “Site identity”

Site identity

Here you can Change the name of your website and add a tagline or short description. These will be displayed in search results by default. You can also add a logo and an icon or favicon.

You must click the “Publish” button at the top before leaving the customizer to save any changes.

The other thing we are going to change is the headder image.

Change header image

Here you can change the header image. You can add a video instead that will play silently in the background. If you do go for the video option I recommend using the “Youtube URL” option.

Rember to click “Publish” to save your change

Congratulations. You now know how to build a website for next to nothing.

Conclusion.

So there you have it. All the simple basic information on how to build a website for next to nothing with WordPress. Take time to explore and play around with all the other features.

Next Steps.

How to install a WordPress theme the easy way“.

How to install a WordPress plugin the easy way.

Sell products online with WordPress & Woocommerce.

I will be adding more articles on WordPress website building soon, starting with how to install Plugins.  I will also be showing you how to turn your site into a fully functional e-commerce platform at no cost other than a little time. Please follow us on Facebook to find out as soon as these posts are published.

As you can see, the possibility is endless, as you build a website for next to nothing.

Need more information, or advice, on how to build a website for next to nothing?

If you have any questions on the topic (build a website for next to nothing) of this post please use the comment section below. I will get back to you with a reply as soon as possible.

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