Depending on the kind of website you wanted to create, there are many ways to do this! Again, this will depend on your budget.
Site builders such as Wix or Squarespace are a good place to start if you’re a beginner, but we recommend WordPress as the ideal platform. WordPress can be downloaded and installed for ‘free’, with access to over 55,000 plugins.
Is it free to build a website?
Unfortunately, even if you create a website yourself using a free WordPress theme, there are still costs involved in the ongoing hosting and domain renewal fees. If you’re not very technically minded, you may be better hiring a web design specialist to configure the website for you.
Optional maintenance fees are worth considering too, depending on how confident you are in dealing with this yourself.
Ongoing Hosting & Domain Fee’s
Before we get on to the actual website design and development, there are other things which need to be taken care of first. The domain name and hosting are mandatory fees but the ongoing updates are optional. If you’re confident in updating the website yourself, or more importantly if you have the time – this would save you at least £420 per year in maintenance fees.
A domain name is simply your website address, or URL (eg. www.yourdomain.co.uk). Choose one which is relevant to your online business and try and get both .co.uk and .com versions if possible, it also helps to prevent cybersquatting. Domain’s are relatively cheap and come in lots of different flavours! New TLDs (Top Level Domains) are also available which enable you to have a different extension such as .guru, .digital as opposed to the usual .co.uk, .com, .org etc.
Every website needs a place to live in cyberspace, a place to ‘host’ your website. Web hosting usually comes with an enticing first year offer but then sting you for the renewal, be sure to read the small print. If you go for a website built on the WordPress CMS platform look for website hosting which enables a ‘one-click’ installation of WordPress, and has Litespeed Cache enabled – more on that later. We use Guru as our webhost.
WordPress core and security updates need to be taken care of and installed promptly. Any themes or plugins which are used on your website also need to be updated accordingly to ensure a smooth, secure operation of your site.
These are outlined below based on a 3 year ownership. The first year year includes the one-off cost of a premium theme, if a free theme is okay for your business then deduct £80 from the below costs:
First Year Cost = £210 (£630 with Maintenance)
Total Cost After 3 Years = £470 (£1,730 with maintenance)
(Optional £420 per year for maintenance)
Ongoing costs are around £130 per year for the domain name and hosting.
Installing WordPress.org onto your ‘webhost’
A lot of web hosting companies offer a simple ‘one-click’ install of many popular applications, check to see if WordPress is included on yours. This information is found in the cPanel of your web hosting environment. If it does then great, just click on the WordPress icon and follow the steps to install it.
After WordPress has been installed and you have the downloaded your chosen WordPress theme, you’re ready to install it onto your WordPress installation. Feel free to experiment with the default ‘Twenty Twenty-One’ theme which ships with WordPress. otherwise head over to the side menu and click Appearance > Themes. Click the ‘Add new‘ button and upload the theme ‘zip’ file you’ve just downloaded. After a few minutes the theme should be installed, click Activate and preview your new theme.
If WordPress is not included with your web host then you will need to install it yourself.
WordPress runs on ‘themes’, whether they are custom built by a web developer or pre-made and ‘packaged’ for sale or distribution – a popular website for WordPress themes is Theme Forest. Some pre-made themes are free and some cost anything upto around £80 for a decent one. The main issue with using a pre-made themes is that any website functions are restricted to the limitations of the theme itself, so choosing the right one to use is a must!
WordPress CMS Platform
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com Versions
The ‘real’ WordPress is the way forward in our book, it’s a free self hosted installation but it requires web hosting (see below). This great article highlights the differences between the 2 WordPress versions. But in a nutshell, WordPress.org is ‘the real WordPress’, it’s the powerful CMS (Content Management System) that you’ve all heard about and powers nearly 40% of all websites. You also have access to 55,000 plugins to enable just about any function you can imagine to kick start your digital business. All you need is a domain name and web hosting and you’re ready to roll. It’s also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.
WordPress.com is a hosting service created by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Because of the same founder, users often confuse WordPress.com with the popular WordPress.org software.