Do I Have to Pay to Create a Website?

Everyone’s looking for a way to save money. In the website world, they are tons of ways to waste money. But with so many free services out there, you’re probably asking do I have to pay to create a website? The answer, technically, is no. But, I strongly encourage you to spend money strategically on a few key things. Here’s how to get a cheap website that won’t have any ads or viruses, and won’t break the bank.

Do I Have to Pay to Create a Website Answered

Here are the three main parts of a website, and what you should pay for.

Hosting

In the website world, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is so true. When you make a website, you need to store the files on a server (more about this here). Sure, there are free hosting companies out there, but ask yourself: what are they getting out of it? Hosting websites is expensive; it requires complex machines and lots of electricity. I doubt these companies are doing this out of the goodness of their heart. Usually, they put advertisements to your website you can’t remove, or they say it’s free, but it’s so limited, you are forced to buy their service.

They can cut off your service anytime, you don’t really own the website, so you can’t sell it, and the security is weak at best, or full of tracking software at worst.

In short, it’s not worth it. A good hosting company costs less than 5 bucks a month, and you get a discount if you buy annually. When you pay for hosting, you also get support. If When your website goes down, a hosting company can fix the problem in minutes and get your website live again.

Domains

One thing you can’t avoid paying is a domain name (more about domains here). If you want a free domain, you can get one, but instead of yourname.com, it will look something like this: yourname.freedomains.com. Having another company’s name in your URL screams unprofessionalism, and will hurt your page rank on Google.

Instead, get a domain name from a reputable company like NameCheap. It won’t cost more than $14 a year, and if you buy hosting from a good hosting company, you can get your domain and hosting at the same time.

Content Management System (CMS)

If you don’t know how to code a website (HTML, CSS, JS), you’re going to need a CMS. This is a website tool that makes pages, sets up a blog, adds e-commerce, and makes it easy to add your pictures and content. You can pay for a CMS, but the best and most popular one out there is WordPress. And WordPress is free. It’s maintained by volunteers, and comes with lots of free add-ons like e-commerce, blogging, social media, etc. It’s used by one-third of websites on the internet, so, it works. Learn how to add WordPress to your website here.

 

Summary

So, do you have to pay to create a website? No, but you should. Paying around $6 a month for a domain and hosting isn’t much of an expense, and you will rank better on Google, protect your website visitors, and have someone there when something goes wrong.

 

Do I Have to Pay to Create a Website?

As a website developer, my clients often ask me what resources are needed to create a website. A lot of people want to make a website themselves, but don’t know what they need to do it. In this article, we cover the 4 resources needed to create a website.

 

Resources Needed to Create a Website

Resource #1: Domain Name

A domain name is your address on the internet. This is the thing people type into their computer to go to your website. I wrote an article covering everything you need to know about domain names. The quick version is:

  1. Make a list of names you want to have. They can end in .com, .net, org. It’s up to you.
  2. Type them in this domain search tool to see if they are available.
  3. Buy the shortest and most catchy one you can get. Should be around $14 a year.

Resource #2: Website Hosting

Hosting is where your website lives. Your website needs to be on a special kind of computer called a server. What you need is a “hosting company”. This is a company you pay monthly or yearly to store your website. It should be around $5 a month. I use KnownHost, and they have the best hosting I’ve ever had.

Resource #3: Content

You need stuff on your website! Pictures, text, videos, whatever. It’s totally up to you what’s on your website, but you need to figure out what you want, how many pages, and what the point of your website is.

Plan all this out ahead of time. Use a text editor Like Microsoft Office, or Google Docs to write out everything you want. Figuring this out before you set up your website will save you time in the long run.

Resource #4: Content Management System

A Content Management System (CMS) is a set of tools that let you make your website without codding it yourself. If you don’t know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you’ll need a CMS.

The most popular and the most free CMS is WordPress. It has all the tools you need to create a website.

You need to install WordPress on your hosting company’s server. After you buy hosting, you can follow this guide to do it, or call your hosting company, and they will walk you through it.

If you don’t want to set anything up, or if technical stuff makes you pull out your hair, use the hosting company WP Engine. They do all the technical stuff, install WordPress for you, and also take care of the hosting and domain parts from steps #1 and #2.

 

Summary of resources needed to create a website

So you need a domain, hosting, some content, and a CMS. Do your research and find the best hosting company you can. The cheaper ones will cost you more money in the long run, trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way. With all the resources needed to create a website in one place, you can build your website.

If you want help every step of the way, I’ve made a free, detailed tutorial on how to set up all the resources needed to create a website. Good luck out there, and please share your website you make in the comments below!

The 4 Resources Needed to Create a Website

Ever heard of WordPress, but don’t know what it is? Learn the secret website developers use to make your website with no code.

Website are insanely complicated. There are hundreds of things to think about, and that before you even get to the coding! Form generation, e-commerce, user roles and permissions, content scheduling, community management, the list goes on.

I doubt you want to spend the next year learning all of it. So instead, I’ll show you a way to skip all that, with one powerful (and free!) tool.

WordPress logo on geometric background

What is WordPress? Your All-In-One Website Tool

WordPress is an amazing tool that does hundreds of thing to help make your website. It’s called a content management system (CMS) because it organized the content (words, pictures, video, and pages) of your website. Instead of coding, you can use their tools to add words, pictures and videos to pages with drag-and-drop tools.

And, it’s completely free, made and maintained by enthusiastic volunteers.

Many Great Features

So what is WordPress? What does it do? WordPress makes it easy to add a contact form to your website. Or an e-commerce store to sell things online. It can help you with little stuff, like adding social media links to your pages. It can help you with big stuff, like creating a blog where people can post comments and engaged with visitors. There’s no coding (unless you really want to).

With it installed on your website, you just search for features you want on your website, and click to add them. WordPress calls these features plugins, and there’s over 56,000 free ones.

It also has thousands of free website designs you can easily add. They have designs for blogs, online stores, professional portfolios, fan sites, hobby sites, and everything else. You can do a search for free designs here. And, they’re all customizable.

How to Install WordPress

The part most people don’t understand is how to install WordPress on their website. I created a free detailed guide for beginners on how to install WordPress, and all the other things you need, like getting hosting and a domain name.

WordPress is used by one-third of all websites on the internet. It’s easy to see why: no coding, infinitely customizable, and totally free. Give WordPress a try the next time you are making a website, you will be pleasantly surprised.

What is WordPress? A Beginner’s Guide

Howdy! I hope you are having a good morning/afternoon/evening/night. Today, I would like to explain what is a domain name, as well as how it fits into the internet ecosystem. Let me start this tale with an analogy using our good friend, Devanch.

 

The Domain Name Tale

Devanch made a fortune selling Beanie Babies on eBay, and he now wants to buy a house. He’s always wanted to live out in nature, but decided there are no good houses on the market that match what he’s looking for. So Devanch decides to build his own home.

First, Devanch needs to buy some land. He can’t build a house without land. He picks a parcel just outside of town. Then, he picks a house design and begins to build. It takes a long time, and he is very tired when he’s done, but happy. He now has his own home!

Devanch wants to invite his friends over to celebrate, but he realizes they don’t know how to find his new house! So he talks to the Postal Service, and gets a new address for his new home. His friends come over, and they eat cake and look out all the many windows at the beautiful forests surrounding Devanch’s new home. The end.

 

Devanch’s journey in building a house, is the same as your journey making a website. You need three things to make a website, just like Devanch: some land, a house, and an address.

analogy of what is a domain name with building ahouse diagram

What is a Domain Name? An Address

In the virtual world, land is hosting, a house is your website’s files, and the address is called a domain name. And that’s all an address is, a way for people to find your website. The nice thing about domains is, you can pick your own address, so long as someone else hasn’t picked if first. To see what’s available, write out a list of ideas, and do a search, and see if your domain is available. While searching, you will see a list of ideas pop up as well, which will help you come up with more ideas.

There’s More to Do Than Just the Domain

Hopefully you have a better idea of what is a domain name now. It just how others find you, but you also need to get some hosting, and actually make the website. I wrote a free tutorial on how to do all this, and how to pick a good domain name. Good luck, and please share anything you make in the comments below!

What is a Domain Name?

Welcome traveler! It looks like you want to create a website, or at least understand them. I hear you ask “What is hosting?”. Well friend, come on in and I will answer this critical question.

What is Hosting? It’s a Home for your Website

Hosting is where a website lives. You live in a home, and so does your website. The weird thing about hosting, is your website doesn’t live where you live. To make your website available to everyone on the internet, it needs to live on a powerful computer, called a “server”.

These computers work like yours does, but they are set up differently. A server’s main job is to, well, serve things. When someone visits your domain (e.g. www.example.com), the server gives out a copy of your website’s files. Once the visitor has the files, their computer turns it into a website.

Now, you can buy your own server if you have a few thousand bucks burning a hole in your pocket, but most sane people borrow some space on someone else’s server, in exchange for a monthly or yearly fee. Companies that buy and run servers, are called hosting companies, because the host your website for you.

Anyone can start a hosting company, just like a bakery or a bike shop. Some are good, some are bad, and some are very sneaky.

what is hosting banner image of server
A bunch of servers. Woah. That’s a lot of cables.

Do Your Hosting Homework

If you want your website live on the internet, you will need to put your website on a server. Find a good company to host your website. Read reviews, ask lots of questions about what they will charge you, and what you will get for that charge.

There are “free” companies out there, but don’t bother. If they don’t download a virus to your computer, they will put ads all over your website.

Learn More

I wrote a free tutorial on how to make a website, and maybe you want to read more about setting up your hosting and domain.

 

Hopefully, you know a bit more about hosting, and next time someone asks you what is hosting, you can tell them 🙂

What is Hosting? A Short Guide to Hosting

Making a website can seem daunting, but once you know the steps, anyone can do it. Here is the 5 step process to create a website, the right way. Follow these steps, and you will have your own website, fast.

 

The 5 Step Process to Create a Website

It’s temping to take short-cuts and skip right to adding words and images to your website. But you need to think about every step below if you want a good website.

Step 1: Choose your hosting company

Your website needs to live somewhere. You need to pay a company (called a hosting company) to “host”, or store, your website. There are free hosting companies, but in the website world, you get what you pay for. If you are starting an online store or making a portfolio, or anything professional, do it right and pay for a good hosting company. It will pay off in the long run because you will have a faster website, no branding on your website, and better SEO.

I host with KnownHost. They are a great business, I had zero problems, and when I break something, their tech support gets back to me in under 2 minutes. You should go with KnownHost if you want full control over your website and like to tinker. If you are looking for a quick, all-in-one solution, with no fiddling, check out WP Engine. They take care hosting and domains, and have dozens of free website designs to choose from and customize. If you choose WP Engine, you can skip steps 2 and 3 below because they give you a free domain and websites designs.

Step 2: Choose a domain name

Let’s pretend your house is at 123 4th St. If someone wants to come to your house, you give them your address, and they know where to go. A domain name is your address on the internet. You can pick anything you want, but only if someone else hasn’t taken it. For example, you might want to get the domain cutekittens.com, but you can’t have it, because someone else beat you to it (sorry).

A website needs a domain, just like a house needs an address: so people can find you. You need to use a “domain registrar” to reserve your domain name. You need to pay for your domain every year. It should cost around $14 a year. Use a service like NameCheap to search for a register your domain. Just go to their website, search for a domain name, and they will tell you if it’s taken or not, and even offer up alternatives you can pick from. Once you’ve purchased a domain, connect it to your hosting. Talk to your hosting company for help with this, but it’s super easy.

Step 3: Choose a website design

zakra theme step in the 5 Step Process to Create a Website

Every website needs some style, and yours does too! If you are using WP Engine from step one, they will automatically show you the website designs you can pick from. Otherwise, ask your hosting company how to install WordPress. WordPress if a free tool you can use on your website that makes it easy to add words, pictures and designs to a website, without any coding. WordPress has lots of free designs (called “themes”) that speed up the website building process. The most customizable and easiest to use theme is called Zakra. It is easy to change without coding, and has lots of add-on features other themes don’t have. Download Zakra from their website, and add it to your WordPress website. For more details on this step, check out my free, in-depth tutorial.

Step 4: Add words, images, and video

Your website is set up, but it’s boring right now, because there is nothing on it. Now you need to add the content that makes your website special. Add as many pages as you want, put content on them, and design it the way you want. You can learn more about what good content looks like here.

Step 5: Launch

It’s time to launch your website. But wait! Before you launch, triple-check everything:

  • If you type in your domain name (from step 2), does your website come up?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes?
  • Do all the links work? Yes, test every single one.
  • Are the images working?
  • Has someone else proof-read the website?

Once you get through all that, you are ready to launch. All you have to do is share your new domain name with friends, family, coworkers, anyone! Send out emails, make postcards, post it on social media. You are now the proud owner of a piece of the internet!

Further Reading Beyond the 5 Step Process to Create a Website

Just follow this 5 step process to create a website, and you will have a website in no time. But, this article is just a summary. If you want the full details on each of these steps, and how to use WordPress, and more awesome website designs to choose from, check out my free online course.