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How to create your own website for cheap or even free

We have reached the point where websites are highly desirable. It can save startup costs and allow anyone to do business around the world without opening a costly brick and mortar storefront or office. As no one uses the yellow pages anymore, an online presence is essential for business. Websites are also a very easy way to disseminate information. However, I realize that not everyone has a budget for a website. Either due to a cash shortfall, just starting a business venture out, wanting to keep costs low, or maybe the site is just for fun. Either way, we are lucky there is now a plethora of free open source software and free services out there to assist with making a cheap website.

Just so I don’t give anyone false hopes I want to be clear that you cannot expect the same results or look as a professionally-designed website. These typically start at a few hundred for the basic site and go up depending on requirements. If custom work is required it can easily get in the thousand dollar range. Your cheap site won’t look as fancy or professional but it will still have basic enough functionality to serve as an online platform of some sort. Websites also require a hosting package, which allows your website to be publicly accessible to the world, and a domain name (i.e. yourname.com). These added costs are at least $150-$200 a year for a bare bones hosting and domain package.

To get started, signup for a free blog with WordPress.com. You don’t have to use it as a blog, you can just add pages and use it like a website. You don’t need to mess with any code as WordPress has a built-in WYSIWYG editor that functions much like Microsoft Word. Their free plan allows for 1GB of space, which amounts to about 1500 high resolution photos. You can only use the templates they provide under the Appearance > Themes tab.

The next step up from that would be to purchase your own domain name so your site will appear as yourname.com. This can be done through the WordPress.com service or from a domain registrar like Namecheap for $10-$25/year. Many use Godaddy but I highly recommend against them as they have a poor customer service record, a history of security breaches, and their website is difficult to navigate with all their nagging attempts to upsell.

If you do not like the free templates WordPress.com offers, you can choose a design you find online (themeforest.net is a good resource) and sign up for your own web hosting account in order to use it. Unless you know HTML and CSS markup/style languages it will typically run $200 to customize the design to your specific site. Add on another $15/month for a web hosting package that allows you to do anything you like with your site without restrictions. Contact me for a hosting package coupon or comment below with any questions.

WordPress.com WordPress.com + Domain Your own hosting plan
Cost/month Free $2 $17 & up
Space 1 GB – 1500 high res pics 1 GB – 1500 high res pics 5 GB – 7500 high res pics
Design Limited to free WordPress.com templates Limited to free WordPress.com templates Only limit is your imagination

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