Options for Building Your Website
There are two basic options for building your own website. You can either build it with a hosted service or you can build it on your own hosting account.
A hosted platform handles all the technical stuff so all you need to do is choose a design and start adding content to your site. These services typically let you customize your site to some degree but they tend to have a fixed set of templates to choose from.
Sites on these services tend to look very similar to one another and depending on the service, you may or may not be able to use your own domain with your website.
Building a website on your own hosting account gives you a lot more flexibility, both in the design and the functionality of the site, but it requires more technical know-how. You’ll need to be able to install software, configure certain parts of your website, and other such things.
A self-hosted site gives you an unlimited number of choices for the way your site looks and your website can be built on whatever domain you wish.
Site Building Tools
There are quite a few site builders that you can use to create a website with little or no technical knowledge. Some of the most popular options include:
These tools all give you the choice of your own domain or a “subdomain” on their website. A subdomain is something like yourwebsite.squarespace.com, with “yourwebsite” being a subdomain of squarespace.com in this example.
If you’re launching a website for your business, you should never use a subdomain. Domain names are inexpensive and having your own will help you brand your business. Not to mention make your website more portable so you can switch hosting services without losing your website address.
These site builders also give you a reasonable amount of flexibility to customize your website. They all have “modules” that you can add to your site as you wish so building the site is like stacking blocks. Choose the modules you want to use, drag them into the page where you want them to be, and they’ll immediately be part of your website.
You can also make more significant changes if you want to do some custom coding but you may find they limit what can be done at some point. To offer a simple interface, they can’t give you unlimited customization.
Specialized Website Platforms
There are also some more specialized website building tools meant for certain types of websites. One of the most popular is Shopify.
Shopify is an e-commerce website builder that lets you easily put together your own online store. It handles inventory management, the checkout process, and many other things that are unique to a website that sells products.
These site builders don’t give you as much flexibility for adding other types of content, such as a blog. If you want to build a site that’s focused on your online store or another type of specialty site, these tools can be a great solution.
Building Your Own Website
Building your own website is the most flexible option but there is some technical stuff involved. It’s not especially complicated so almost anyone can learn these skills but be aware you may need to spend some time to learn the basics.
With this option, you can build your website using any tools you want. You could build a completely custom design from scratch or you can use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress as the foundation of your website.
Using WordPress is our recommendation if you want to build your own site. It is one of the most widely-used website platforms on the internet, powering 35 percent of the web so it has plenty of support.
You can get “plug-ins” for WordPress that let you add new features to your site without having to code it all by hand. There are also a huge number of themes available for WordPress, giving you an almost unlimited number of choices for your website design.
And if you want to get a custom design made for your site, you’ll be able to find plenty of designers who can work with you.
We should note, there are two “versions” of WordPress. WordPress.com is the hosted version that runs on the WordPress.com site. You can set up a website quickly, with no technical knowledge at all. You get some choices for your site design and you can do some basic customization but the flexibility is pretty limited.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress that gives you much more power to design your site the way you want. Let’s look at the steps involved in setting up an inexpensive site using WordPress.
How to Build an Inexpensive Website
There are 6 basic steps in setting up your own website using WordPress:
- Register your domain
- Get a hosting account
- Install WordPress
- Choose your site’s theme
- Install optional plugins
- Start adding content
Register Your Domain
The first, and maybe most important step, in building a website is choosing your domain. Your domain name is what people type to get to your site so it needs to be short, memorable, and brandable.
Your domain might be your company name or it might be descriptive of what your website is about. Whatever domain you choose will be with you for years, so make sure you choose something that will let your company grow and won’t sound dated a few years from now.
Get a Hosting Account
When you build your own website, it needs to be hosted somewhere. This could be an inexpensive “shared” hosting account that hosts several websites on the same server or it could be a dedicated server that only hosts your site.
There are a lot of hosting companies on the web with a range of prices and quality. Make sure you don’t cut corners here. Poor hosting can cause your site to go down or load slowly for your visitors which leads to lost opportunities.
Most modern hosting companies offer one-click WordPress installs. Once your account is up and running, you log into your account, click the install button, enter a few details about your site, and everything else happens automatically.
You can install WordPress manually but unless you’re already familiar with the process and want to handle it all yourself, there’s no reason to do so.
Choose Your Website Theme
There are thousands of different themes available for WordPress. Many of these themes are free to use while others have a cost associated with them. When you buy a WordPress theme, you generally get support from the theme seller so this can be a better route to take if you want someone in your corner if you have any questions.
The WordPress Themes gallery is a good place to look for a theme for your website. It shows previews and lets you filter by different features so you can “window shop” before installing the theme on your site.
Install Optional Plugins
One of the most powerful features in WordPress is its support for plugins. These plugins add capabilities to your website without having to do any custom coding. You install the plugin, activate it in your WordPress control panel, and the new feature is operational.
Plugins can add opt-in forms for your visitors to sign up for your email list, add custom tracking codes to your site, make your site more secure, and many other things. WordPress also has a Plugins gallery on its site that you can browse for ideas.
Start Adding Content
Once your website is up and running, you can start adding content. The WordPress dashboard has an editor that works a lot like a typical word processing app so you’ll feel right at home.
You can add images, text, video, and various other things to your site from the editor without having to know anything about HTML or any other website code. You enter the content and WordPress looks after making it look nice on your site.
Blogging is one of the best ways to reach your audience and WordPress makes it as simple as possible.
Why You Should Consider Working with A Professional Designer
You can design and build your own website with a few relatively easy steps but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best solution. If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a limited amount of time and plenty of work to get done.
Working with a professional website designer lets you focus on what your business does best without having to learn new skills or figure out how to make all the pieces work together.
Avairy Solutions offers a range of website design services for sites of all sizes. We’ll create a custom-tailored design for your site and look after the web hosting, security, maintenance, and all the other ongoing stuff that a website needs.
The Best Way to Get a Custom Website Design
A good-looking, effective website doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Avairy Solutions will set up an inexpensive website that will bring new customers into your business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you grow your business.