Are you a startup company on a shoestring budget? Do you need a website but don’t have the cash to dish out to get one professionally built? You are not alone.
Most startups lack cash but have time. You can use this time to setup your own website. A website that looks professional and one that you can manage yourself. Best of all, you don’t need to be a programmer or know anything about websites to follow the instructions I’m going to outline for you in this article. All you need is about $200. If you don’t have $200, your mom or a friend might even lend you this much to get you started.
Don’t get me wrong, getting a professional to design and build a website for your company is a good idea once you have the capital to do so. There are those though that are trying to bootstrap their company, and this article will help that audience setup an affordable website.
Why You Need a Website
Now you might say, well I don’t really need a website. You’re wrong. If you start a company and don’t have a website, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Phonebooks are almost non-existent. When someone needs something they turn to Google. If you aren’t online, it’s like you don’t even exist.
Where to Begin – Purchase a WordPress Theme
Themeforest is the largest site online to purchase WordPress themes from. They also have the best selection of themes to choose from. If you’re a fan of our Creativio WordPress theme, you can go here to purchase and download that theme and then skip down to Setting up Web Hosting.
The process is quite simple. On the signup page fill out the form and click Create Account. You will get a confirmation email that contains a confirmation link that you will have to click on to activate your account. Once your account is activated you can login. Once logged in you can start browsing for themes.
**Note: I start by getting you to sign up and login first because it make the purchase process a lot simpler once you have chosen a theme to buy. **
On Themeforest there is a tab at the top for WordPress. You can view the themes by most popular or by a specific category. This site isn’t setup particularly well for quickly finding a good design, so take your time and find one that will work for your business. Keep in mind that you will be able to change the logo, colors, and content on the site to match your business.
A couple months ago we wrote a post that listed some of the top WordPress themes on Themeforest. New themes are added to Themeforest daily so there are other great themes on there as well now, but this list will give you a good sample of the top themes.
Once you found the theme you want to use, there will be a brown purchase button near the top corner of that page. Clicking on the purchase button will bring up two options.
If you don’t plan on buying more than just one theme, I recommend the choosing Buy Now option for $2 more. The checkout process is just much simpler.
Clicking Buy will take you to Paypal to purchase your theme. Follow the steps on PayPal to purchase the theme. Once the transaction is complete you will be taken to the download pages on your account. You will see the theme you purchased here for you to download. Now that you have a website theme, you’re ready to setup your website online.
Setup Web Hosting
Every website needs a home on the internet, so you need to sign up for web hosting. If you don’t know what a web host is, it is a company that will rent you space to store your website online. You can also use them to purchase a domain name (address) for your website. Although there are many web hosting companies online, I recommend using Bluehost. I use their services for many of the websites I build and the value you get from their packages is the best.
Step 1: To sign up for website hosting visit the Bluehost signup page here.
You have the choice to use an existing domain or create a new one; fairly straight forward here. If you don’t have a domain name, type one in the box and Bluehost will tell you if it is available.
Step 2: Filling out your account information is quite simple. I’m sure you know your name and contact info so fill that out and jump down to the Package Information section.
In this section you have the choice to choose your Account Plan. To keep the costs low, choose the 12 month price. It is currently only $6.95/month so that works out to only $83.40.
I recommend un-checking SiteLock Domain Security and Site Backup Pro. Security isn’t really needed unless you’re trying to keep your domain name anonymous for some reason, and there are plenty of free tools out there to backup your website with.
Finish filling out the payment info and click Next.
You’re Done. On the confirmation page there will be a button for you to access your control panel. You will also get an email with info on how to access your control panel.
The next step is to setup your WordPress site, so click on the button to take you to the Control Panel.
Setting Up WordPress
Within the Bluehost control panel it is very simple to setup WordPress. Follow these steps:
- Scroll down the page and find SimpleScripts Installations and click WordPress.
- Click Install Button.
- Filling out the WordPress Installation form:
a) By default it will choose the newest version of WordPress to install which is the one you want.
b) It should automatically select your domain you just setup but if now, select it from the list.
c) Click on Advanced options to expand. I recommend checking to give your new site a name by entering the name of your site.
d) Where you see username and password, enter a password for your admin user.
e) Leave Automatically create a new database checked off.
f) Under Plugins and Themes uncheck SmallBiz Theme as you will be using the one you purchased from Themeforest.
g) It is up to you if you want to leave Mobile by UppSite and WizApp checked. These options are WordPress plugins that will make it easier for you to create a mobile version and mobile app of your website.
h) Check of that you’ve read the terms (read them if you want the details)
i) Click Complete. You will see a page that will show you the progress of your installation and then tell you when it’s complete.
- After the installation is complete, click on the WordPress Login link. It is now time to install the theme you just purchased.
Installing Your WordPress Theme
- Log into your new WordPress site using the username ‘admin’ and the password you chose.
- In the menu on the left side, click on Appearance and then Themes.
- At the top you will see an Install Themes tab, click there.
- On the next page, click on Upload in the top menu.
- Browse your computer for you’re the zip file of the theme you purchased. **Please note that when you download your theme from Themeforest it is a zip file. You will need to unzip this file to find the zip file for the theme inside.**
- Click the Install Now button.
- If everything goes well it will tell you it was successfully installed. Click the Activate button to start using this theme.
That’s it. If you already have a logo you’re ready to start adding content to your website and your website has only cost you no more than $132.40. Pretty cheap if you ask me.
Help with WordPress
All themes on Themeforest include a help file within the package you download. Make sure you read this through. It will help you setup your theme and give you tips on modifying content.
Also, wordpress.org is an excellent resource to help you answer questions you might have about adding content and adding additional functionality to your website. A quick search of Google for WordPress Help will also bring up a ton of great resources.
Getting a Logo Designed
Now if you need a professional logo designed, you could still fit this into a $200 website budget.
Logo Design – $49
Need a logo, check out http://marvellogodesigns.com/. They will design 6 logos for you to choose from for $49. And of the six logos, you get to choose one and modify it to fit your needs.
The process for this is simple. On their website, click on Packages, and then Order now under the $49 option. You will be taken to a form where you fill out your contact information, give their team some guidance in what you’d like your logo to look like, and then review your order and pay.
In less than 48 hours they will send you six design concepts you will be able to review and give direction on to get a final logo for your business.
Grand Total – $181.40
If you were skeptical that you could get a professional website for under $200, you aren’t any more. Once you have your WordPress theme installed it does take some time to get your content added to your website, but like most companies who are bootstrapping their business, you have time, but tight on funds.
So what are you waiting for, get started on building a professional website you can use.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful in getting your new website online.