Starting A New Website: The Fast, Easy, And Cheap Way

You may be surprised by how many decisions need to be made when managing a new website. If you’re just getting started on your journey it’s not unusual to feel a mixture of excitement for the challenge you have ahead of you and daunted by the array of topics you need to learn about.

With the right hosting plan, you can avoid the need to have a designer or web developer work on your site or having to learn how to design and code yourself. Building a website fast and cheap includes choosing a hosting plan with free domain name registration, enough resources to support growth for your business, a site builder, an eCommerce builder if you’re planning an online store, and using a CMS and other websites to make creating content easier.

The following steps represent a good balance of keeping costs down, allowing you to build a site tailored to you, and reducing the amount of time and education needed to build a website.

Get A Free Domain Name From Your Web Host

Several hosting providers give you a free domain for the first year when you sign up for a hosting plan. While you will be charged for the domain after that first year, this will give you enough time to establish a foothold for your site and build it out. By acquiring a domain name through your web host, you also bypass the sometimes-tricky process of pointing your domain to the correct nameserver of your web host.

Keep in mind a few things when acquiring a domain through your web host:

  • In many cases, once the domain is set to renew, the charge for renewal will often be higher than if you had purchased your domain through a registrar-only site.
  • Your domain isn’t locked to the web host. Trust me – they’ll try to make it seem that way, but at any point, you can move your domain to another (and cheaper) site.
  • Free domains are typically only given to new accounts and don’t let you transfer an already registered name. This prevents you from continuing to open new account to get free domains.
  • Your website will perform better in the long run if you stick with one, consistent name rather than create a new account and domain each year just to get it for free.

How To Choose A Domain Name

Getting the right domain can be more of an art that a science. Some basic tips for choosing a name:

  • Keep it short
  • Make it easy to remember and spell
  • Make it relevant to either your company name or what your company does/is
  • Consider using a location in the name if your company is a local business
  • When in doubt, go with a .com domain (known as a top-level domain)

Sometimes being a little bolder and creative can work in your favor if it’s memorable and represents your brand well. 30 years ago, Google and Twitter would have been meaningless to most people, yet the names served those companies well as they expanded.

Get Hosting That Will Support Business Growth

The main reason for building a website is likely to expand the reach of your personal or profession brand. There is no one size fits all solution for hosting, and thankfully, there are options for whatever your websites needs are.

While I go into how to find the perfect hosting plan for you in depth elsewhere, the basics of the process include:

  1. Use a traffic analytics platform like Google Analytics to see how much traffic you get each month if you already have a site or plug your competitors into a site like AHrefs or SEMRush to see how much traffic they’re getting.
  2. Project your site’s potential by finding the find the amount of people looking for searches that describe your business.
  3. Use both of those numbers to determine how much bandwidth and storage space your site will need.
  4. Make a list of what features you need given your available resources and budget
  5. Use WHdb’s Host Finder or a search engine to find plans that match your needs.

Use A Site Or eCommerce Builder To Make Your Site

Build your own design, use a theme, or hire a designer? This is the question many business owners have to consider, and for most, their available resources, time, and money is limited.

There is where site builders and eCommerce platforms come in and make the process both easier and cheaper. Site builders provide platforms that are user-friendly and typically use drag-and-drop features to make building a site fast and quick. These types of platforms also provide an easy way to create new pages and format your content.

eCommerce platforms go a step further and provide a way to integrate online transactions into your site. These platforms also provide a way to manage your products and generally provide ways to tie into your available stock. Both builders reduce the time required to learn how to make a site or remove the need to hire a designer or developer.

That said, there are a few downsides to site builders and eCommerce platforms:

  • You’ll be limited by what the platform offers. Builders cannot account for everything that a given person needs, and while they do usually provide ways to customize something to fit your specific needs, this usually requires an understanding of code.
  • Most of these platforms are proprietary. If you decide to move to another host, you’ll need to build your site from scratch and manually transfer content and pages.
  • They sometimes make your site run slow or add bloat. Since you’re not using something tailored to your specific needs, builders often have features that you don’t need but still take up space. Additionally, as you add more pages, these platforms can sometimes buckle and make your site slower.

Consider A Content Management System (CMS) To Make Your Site

A content management system, or CMS, provides a way to manage, create, and edit every aspect of your site without having to dive into code. While a CMS is a bit more involved and requires more knowledge than site builders, you can do more with them, find more support for them, and you’re not stuck with one host for your site – generally speaking, moving a site on a CMS to another host is easy and often done for free.

Going with a CMS offers several other benefits:

  • You can use templates to apply slick designs to your site with little work on your end. These templates are sometimes paid but frequently come in under $100 – and CMS platforms have no shortage of free templates either.
  • You can still install a site builder or eCommerce platform if you need to. WordPress, the most used CMS out there, is so popular that several solutions for drag-and-drop builders are available.
  • You can optimize the CMS to keep your site running fast, even as your business continues to grow.
  • Because CMS platforms are widely used and standardized, it’s easy – and often cheap – to find help. In many cases, you can resolve issues on your own with just a bit of elbow grease.

Unless you’re hard pressed for time and available resources, I would recommend going with a CMS over a site builder.

Be Resourceful When Creating Content

There is a well-known phrase in website design and development: “content is king.” Well-crafted content helps your site rank and engage your audience – or customers – better. It is the backbone to establish trust and developing a relationship between you and the visitors to your website.

However, creating content is also very time- and resource-consuming. A well-written lengthy article can take up to half a day to write – that’s time that most business owners and students don’t have.

When it comes to creating content for your site, it pays to be resourceful. Less important pages on your site can usually be outsourced in bulk for cheap, leaving you to worry about only the most important pages on your site. A little bit of love also goes a long way: whether you write the content yourself or outsource it, always review and spellcheck pages for glaring mistakes or red flags.

Don’t forget to add a couple images to each page. The best and most robust collection of stock photos are usually on sites where you have to pay for them, but there are sites where you can get great looking pictures for free, like Pixabay. That said, a decent picture specific to you, your company, or your industry will always be better than even the most professionally framed and lit stock photo.

“Hack” Google To Find These Features Easily

Ok, so you’re not going to actually hack Google, but there are a few tricks you can do with the search engine to make finding hosts with these features fast and easy.

Don’t know where to start when searching for a host with a site builder? Head to Google and try:

“site builder” web hosting

Yes, do include the quotes in your search. Maybe you found a host that you like, but you aren’t sure if they have one of the features you need. In that case, swap out their domain in the following:

site:domainname.com “site builder”

This will limit Google to search only the site that you provided for the words you used in the quotes.

Of course, if you really want to make finding hosting plans that meet your needs fast and easy, use our host finder. You’ll be able to see a list of hosting plans that meet your requirements and easily comparison shop for the best price.