Interested in setting up an e-commerce store? Do you want to try your hands in the profound world of blogging? Do you have a booming business that’s looking to expand over on the internet? Are you trying to do any of these on a budget? The days when you have to shell out top dollar for your own website are long gone. Today, there is an abundance of affordable platforms and services that can help anyone with the creative flair and the desire to be visible online. Whether it’s a personal site or a virtual extension of an existing business, building a beautiful and professional-looking website has never been easier and cheaper. Domain Registration and Hosting Simply put – you can’t have a website without owning a domain. On the internet, a domain name serves as a website’s address. In order to use a domain name, you’ll need the services of a domain registrar to claim the rights for its usage. After which, you’ll need a web host to make your data accessible online. These two processes (registration and hosting) are usually bundled together by a single service provider. NameCheap is one of the leading services when it comes to affordable domain registration and hosting. You can register a new domain for as low as $3.98 for 12 months. When it comes to their hosting services, their best package is the professional bundle, which can host up to 10 websites with an allowance of 50 gigabytes for online data. Here are tips for registering domains: Opt for the TLD (top-level domain) ‘.com’ In case .com is not available, consider .org or .net Use a brandable domain name as opposed to using keywords Make it easy to type and remember Alternatively, you can purchase and repurpose an expired domain. This method can have SEO (Search engine Optimization) advantages, specifically for domains that have developed authority over the years. Aside from domain age, which is a ranking factor in Google, a renewed domain may also retain any live backlinks that contribute to its search engine visibility. There are plenty of domain auction sites where you can find expired domains. Just remember that expired domains with significant SEO advantages tend to be very expensive due to the high demand. These domain names can easily reach hundreds of dollars in price. Fortunately, renewing these domains once you own them is not as expensive. Install WordPress Thanks to WordPress, the need for a professional web developer for building a website has been essentially eliminated. But first, remember that there is a difference between WordPress.com AND WordPress.org. WordPress.com is an all-in-one platform that includes domain registration and hosting services in addition to blog creation. Although it appears to be more convenient, it does not offer much flexibility in terms of design and functionality. It’s also the costlier option out of the two. WordPress.org, on the other hand, can be manually integrated with any active domain (active being registered and hosted). This process can be done easily with NameCheap using Softaculous, which is an automatic installer for various apps. You can use Softaculous to install WordPress using the following instructions: Using Softaculous to Install WordPress Use your NameCheap credentials to access cPanel Go to ‘Software/Services’ à Softaculous Choose WordPress under ‘Top Scripts’ Go to the ‘Install’ tab Insert the required details (domain, table prefix, In directory, site settings, and admin account details) At the bottom of the page, click Install Remember to use a secure username and password for the admin account. After installing WordPress, you can access the Dashboard by adding ‘/wp-admin’ to the WordPress root installation folder. Remember that you can set this in the ‘In directory’ field. For example, if you used ‘www.yoursite.com/’ as the installation folder, then you can access the WordPress dashboard by typing in ‘www.yoursite.com/wp-admin’ in your internet browser. Choosing a Theme One of the beautiful things about WordPress is the availability of ready-to-use themes so you can get on with content creation right away. You can choose from hundreds of available themes in Dashboard à Appearance à Themes (on left sidebar). The core customization options for your WordPress site depends on the theme you choose – ranging from theme colours, animated menus, image sliders, page layouts, and so on. These options can be accessed in Dashboard à Appearance à Customize. You may also implement customizations such as box shadows, text shadows, custom pages, and footers in the .php and .css codes of your WordPress theme. These codes can be accessed in Dashboard à Appearance à Editor. Of course, it’s not advised for you to edit these codes without the technical knowledge. Using 99designs Keep in mind that most themes on WordPress, even the premium ones, have certain elements that can make your website appear “generic”. This includes the post navigational links, author information, upload dates, and content box formats. Additionally, there are probably plenty of users with the same theme as you. If you truly want to create the professional impression and memorable browsing experience for your audience, you should definitely consider having a professional customize your website’s appearance. Instead of hiring an individual designer to perform tweaks on your theme, you should opt for a service like 99designs. This particular company is popular for their design packages, specifically for WordPress themes. For a low budget, you can choose from dozens of design options that are optimized for your needs. And the best thing about their service is it is practically risk-free. If you value your money, you should never settle for a design you’re not happy with. 99designs offer a full money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with any of the design ideas they propose. And their dedication to customer satisfaction is the reason why customers love their services. Installing Jetpack After focusing on looks, it’s time to bring some functionality to the table. WordPress has a library of plugins that allows users to add a ton of functionality to their site without writing a single line of code. There are plugins for adding Google maps, social sharing integration, custom menus, and so on. Jetpack is a plugin that allows you to quickly optimize your website with a few clicks. It also incorporates important features to your WordPress website, which is why it is highly recommended no matter what your site is all about. Here are the things Jetpack can do for your site: Improved page load performance Added functionality for contact forms, easy custom CSS integration, subscriptions, etc. Improved bandwidth economy (using global WordPress.com content delivery network) Improved site security Centralized management dashboard You can install Jetpack by going to Dashboard à Plugins à Add New and then searching for the Jetpack plugin. Simply click ‘Install now’ to automatically complete the install procedure. Include your Logo Almost every WordPress theme allows users to upload their own logos. There should be an option for this in the theme customizer. While this is optional, incorporating a logo is imperative for branding. Make sure to use a high-quality logo for your website. If it’s too small, it may appear blurry due to scaling. You can outsource a freelance graphic designer in Fiverr if you need a professional logo done fast and cheap. A normal priority order may only take a few days before it can be delivered. A beautiful logo can be as cheap as $5 if you’re looking for a single file asset. Add your Content Finally, it’s time to start building content for your target audience. Start first with the essential pages found in professional websites (contact us, disclaimer, about us, etc.). You can take it upon yourself to complete this job. But when it comes to your actual posts, you should consider hiring a professional writer. Thankfully, talented writers are quite easy to come by nowadays. Due to the tough competition, there are writers that are willing to work for as low as $1.25 per article, which is already a steal for site owners. You can find such writers in iWriter, a leading outsourcing service for written content. While it’s the writer’s job to type the actual words and establish the flow of thought, it is your job to create outlines. Plan your content accordingly and make sure to offer as much valuable information on your site as possible. Do you know other ways on how to build a beautiful website without spending as much? Share to us your ideas by commenting below!