The main hurdles most people face when thinking about getting a decent website up is that it is too expensive and/or requires certain nerdy technical skills such as graphic design or some kind of coding skills. And quotes from web design firms of $500 to $50,000 definitely serve to discourage many from developing an online corporate presence or even putting up a personal website.
Ten or even five years ago putting up a website was expensive and took time. But times have changed and time, money and skills (or lack thereof) are no longer obstacles would-be webmasters have to deal with. If you’ve ever thought about getting a nice website online but have always dreaded the task, here are my 7 Steps To Get Online.
1) Register Your Domain Name
This is always the starting point for any new website project. Your website will need a name so register domain. This will be less than $15 for teh year. HostNexus, for example, sells .com domains for $12.95/yr from our registry site NexusDomains. Unless you are looking for a specific country TLD such as .com.au or .co.uk then I always recommend you try and get the .com AND the .net. Usually if a .com is registered and in use I would not register the .net to ensure against brand dilution but there are always exceptions (such as our NexusDomains on a .net).
2) Get Some Simple Web Hosting
We’ll be using WordPress and this works best on Linux Hosting. So before you start find a Cheap Hosting plan such as our entry level nexusONE plan. This will be your first expense and will cost you less than $50 for the year. You could even cut down costs more and get hosting on a monthly plan but the yearly costs will usually end up being more (such as $7.95/mo).
2) Install WordPress
WordPress is the de-facto blogging software these days but it is much more than a blog. WordPress has evolved into a full-blown Content Management System (CMS) and the possibilities with it are endless. Installing it is incredibly simply and mosts (including HostNexus) provide an auto-installer for many popular programs including WordPress. If you have issues with the install your hosting company will certainly assist you (if not, well you should be with HN of course).
3) Find And Install A WordPress Theme
This is where the fun starts. A WordPress theme these days is much more than a simple skin for WordPress. The theme will control a lot of your site’s functionality as WordPress developers include many custom scripts and programs with their themes. The best place on the internet for WordPress themes is undoubtedly ThemeForest. There are literally hundreds of amazing themes there and more are added almost daily. ThemeForest is a place where developers showcase their work so there are many developers and most provide good support in Q&A threads on their showcase pages. I have personally bought 3 themes there for personal project and recommend it highly. Themes vary in price with $35 being the most expensive so not very expensive at all.
Theme install comprises of uploading the theme folder and activating it in the WordPress admin panel. Easy stuff that we love.
So to recap we have $12.95 for a domain name, less than $47.40 for hosting and $35 max for a theme. We are at under $100 and a few hours into our project.
4) Find A Logo Designer
Having a great logo is essential for all corporate sites and recommended even for personal sites. You could spend literally hundreds of dollars on a logo for your site but that is just not necessary. When I start up a new site I normally hire 3 different logo designers so I many concepts to choose from. Last year I hired 4 logo designers for a project ranging from $20 to $200 per designer. And believe it or not I ended up choosing a logo developed for $29. Here are a few designers I’ve worked with and all cost less than $30:
Find a designer that will include at least 2 different concepts. For best results hire 2 different designers so you get at least 4 fresh concepts.
5) Find A WordPress Designer
So you have your domain, hosting, installed WordPress, purchased a great theme and you have a nice logo. However, it is unlikely that your theme will be exactly the way you want it. You may want to change a colour here, put an image there, add a button over there, customise the styling on this or that page. As you play around with your WordPress install and upload content you’ll start to formulate a list of things that you want to change. And it’s always a good idea to change your theme a bit so that your design is unique as it’s likely that 50 or 100 other sites might be using the same theme. So the final step is to find a designer that will do all of your modifications. I usually find designers on DigitalPoint. Post a thread in the Buy/Sell > Services > Design forum and wait for offers. Generally you can get small WordPress theme modifications done for around $50. Select your provider carefully! Choose a designer with an established website with portfolio and lots of positive feedback as there are a few unsavoury and unreliable people haunting the forum. Arrange to pay half in advance and half on completion of the job. Payment is always by PayPal.
6) Publish Your Content
You can start plugging in your content as soon as you’ve installed WordPress and can continue while designers work on your logo and WordPress modifications. Publish your pages and articles and you’re done!
And there you have it. A professional, great looking website complete with logo online in less than a week and less than a $199. So what’s stopping you? Get out there and start building your online presence. Who knows where it will lead you. :)