Yes, that’s right it is possible to set up a website on a tight budget and I’m going to tell you how.
You may be wondering why I’m giving you advice on setting up a budget DIY website yourself when I’m a professional website designer. The reason is simple, I know that not all business have the funds to invest in a professionally designed website.
And that is OK.
Starting a small business is a big risk and can take up a large chunk of your initial cash. Most small businesses will opt to save money by not hiring a designer and creating a website themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, though, when you do have the money to invest in a qualified designer please consider it. Even the most proficient DIYer doesn’t have the same experience as a pro.
Anyway, back to how you can set up a website on a tight budget.
You’ll definitely need:-
- A domain name (e.g www.myawesomebiz.com)
- Website hosting to store your website online
- A theme and software to build your website
A domain name is an online address that you use to direct people to your website. Having a domain name for your business is essential if you want to create a trustworthy and professional image. You can read more about domains on my jargon-free guide to domain names and hosting post.
Choosing A Domain Name
In an ideal world, you could choose any domain name that you wanted but, unfortunately, we don’t and you may find that your desired name is already taken.
This isn’t too bad if you are still in planning stages of your business and haven’t quite settled on a name yet. But can be such a letdown when you have the name set in stone. My advice is always to check out available domains before making your mind up.
It will save you the disappointment of discovering your brilliant new business name has already been snapped up. Forcing you to use your second or even third choice for your domain.
Already established business don’t have the luxury of changing the name so you may have to play around with different variations. For example, .co instead of .com or adding a hyphen between words.
Where To Register & How Much Does It Cost
You can register a domain name for very little these days, typically less than £10. Some hosting packages even give you a free domain name with their services so do keep that in mind.
Domain names are bought and registered to you for a set amount of time; a year being the shortest time period.
There are numerous companies where you can buy domain names; I have listed a couple below (please note that the providers with * are affiliate links so I may receive a small commission if you go on to purchase through the link)
- 123 Reg from £6.98 for 2 years*
- Go Daddy from £1 for 2 years
- UK Reg from £1.99 for 2 years
- Easyspace from £9.98 for 2 years
- Heart Internet from £3.49 for 1 year*
You can’t have a website without hosting. Hosting is required to store your website files, pages, images and content online.
Why You Should Choose A Reliable Host
It is vital that you choose a reliable host. Having a good hosting provider will make a world of difference to your website. Two of the main reasons being load speed and server security; which I’ll explain a bit more below.
The speed of loading is incredibly important not only to your visitors but also your reputation with Google. People want your website to open fast, like lightning fast, within 2 seconds fast. If it is too slow they will just click back and be gone, never to return.
A slow website also has an effect on your ‘bounce rate’. A bounce rate is the % of times visitors come onto your website and then click straight off again.
If you have a high bounce rate, Google reads this as your website isn’t relevant to searchers and you aren’t providing a valuable experience for them. Bad news for your website.
Some hosting providers seem to have more occurrences of websites on their servers being hacked compared to others. This could be for a number of reasons; vulnerabilities in their security or out of date software for example. In my experience, this tends to happen more with cheap providers.
If your website is hacked, you may lose all your hard work or have dodgy content or viruses added. Basically, a complete nightmare and stress you could do without when trying to run your business.
When I say cheap hosting should be avoided, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend lots of money on a host.
Where To Register & How Much Does It Cost
There are so many hosting providers for you to choose from; all offering you various add-ons and extras to tempt you to sign up.
The cost depends on the features and your website requirements; most packages are on a month-to-month basis, but you can sometimes make savings by block buying a yearly package.
The following providers offer packages at reasonable rates (please note that the providers with * are affiliate links so I may receive a small commission if you go on to purchase through the link)
Now you’ve sorted your domain name and hosting it’s now time to work on the website. The fun part.
Getting To Work On Your Website
The easiest and quickest way to get your website up and running is by using WordPress. WordPress is a free content management system, which lets you set up your website in no time.
I fully recommend using WordPress for your website and 20% of the websites on the internet also use the software.
Most hosting companies have a ‘one-click install’ option for WordPress. Making it even easier to set up. You can be set up within a few minutes by just logging into your control panel and clicking through the options.
With the basic website set up, you now need to roll up those sleeves and get your creative juices flowing. It’s time to make it look good.
But wait, you’re not a designer! How will you be able to add graphics, fancy effects and content?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn to code and take a design course to make your website look good.
Finding A WordPress Theme
You can use a pre-made theme that is installed on your website. Allowing you to customise the colours, logo, menus and layout using the built-in options.
Awesome, right? But how much does it cost?
Not as much as you might expect; themes generally tend to be between $30 – $60 depending on what you are looking for and the functions you need.
If we take the average cost of $60 that’s £40 at the current UK currency rate. With UK VAT, that is a total of £46 for a premium theme.
You won’t be limited for choice either, as there are numerous websites you can find pre-made themes including:-
If a paid theme is out of your budget you can choose a free theme to start with. The free themes do have limited options regarding changing the design but can be used to get your website up and online in the meantime.
You should check out these free themes:-
WordPress Themes Directory has 100s of themes to browse and install, making it an ideal place to start your search for a free theme.
Other Resources You May Need
When designing a website, you often need other resources; images, graphics, fonts. So, where do you find these items, and best of all for free?
- Creative Market – Every Monday they have 6 free downloads available from the marketplace. This may include graphics, vectors, themes and fonts.
- Stock Photos – High-quality stock photos are a must for your website. Check out my list of the best places to find stock photos.
- Google Fonts – If you need web-friendly fonts to use on your pages or designs Google has over 700 available to use.
- PicMonkey and Canva allow you to edit photos and create graphics to use on your website and social media pages.
As you can see it is possible to set up with a DIY website for your business within a tight startup budget. The main investment is your time and energy but if you are willing to get stuck in then you can create a great online space.
Please note that prices cited in this post are correct at the time of publishing and the prices may differ.
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