Creating a website does not have to be difficult or particularly expensive. In this section, we give our best tips on how to create a website in 2020, at low cost.
To get started with your website, you must first choose a web host. It is through the web host that you buy your domain and host your site. The range of web hosting is large and both the quality and the price levels can vary greatly. In most cases, the most expensive is not always the best, but you can find cheap and good alternatives that are at least as good as the more expensive alternatives.
Keep in mind that many web hosts that sign up with low pricing for hosting can charge extra for important features, which increases the total cost and means that the effective price is not so low.
For our own websites, we use the Inleed web host in most cases, except in the isolated cases premium hosting is considered necessary. The reason is that Inleed offers an affordable and reliable hosting with good performance where all basic functions (such as email and SSL) are included in the price.
Inleed’s cheapest hosting package costs roughly USD 25 per year. The cost of the domain is separate.
Once you have chosen your web host, it is time to buy your domain. The domain is somewhat simplified the website’s address or name and constitutes the first part of your website all web pages (on this website is the domain www.lasserk.com) and the end of the e-mail addresses.
Finding a good domain name is difficult in itself – finding a good domain name that is available is even more challenging. There are many who in their resignation have chosen long and cumbersome domains due to the supply of vacant domains decreasing. We recommend instead that you stay cool and think one extra lap. Three simple rules of thumb to follow are:
Choose a name that reflects the intended purpose of the site.
If your desired option is taken, check if the same name is available with a different extension.
Avoid excessively long domains, your visitors should be able to remember and write the name.
In many cases, it may be worth checking that there is an available domain that matches the intended company name before sending your name suggestions to the authorities. If you find a domain that fits the name of your intended company, it may be a good idea to buy it before the Company Registration Office processes your application for company formation, otherwise there is a great risk that someone will snap your domain as soon as your company has been incorporated.
Domains can either have country-specific extensions such as .se, .no and .dk or a more international character such as .nu, .net, .com and the now popular variant .io. Depending on the availability and purpose of the website, it can in many cases be a good idea to buy the most common extensions so that they are in your control. Especially if it’s your company name.
The price for a .com domain is roughly USD 20 per year.
Check domain availability here.
The next step is to install a content management system on your site. It is through a Content Management System (CMS) that you can create and manage content on your website without having to code yourself.
Although there are many different content management systems to choose from, we recommend WordPress. WordPress is by far the most common option and is the system we use for all our pages. The benefits of WordPress are many:
WordPress is free.
WordPress is user friendly.
There are lots of themes and applications to download to enhance your site, in many cases for free.
No technical knowledge is required to install WordPress.
The price for WordPress is USD 0 per year.
To design and edit your WordPress page, you can install one of the many ready-made themes to choose from. Many themes are developed so that you who run the site do not have to spend time on structure and design, while other themes are developed to give you a high degree of freedom.
The pre-installed theme this year (2020) is called Twenty Twenty. If you want to install another theme, you can go to the admin panel on your wordpress page and click Appearance> Themes. There you will find all the themes you have installed on the page. Then click the ”Add New” button in the upper left corner and then search for your theme in the search box on the right.
Generally, we believe that one should choose a free theme if no specific purpose would require otherwise. Themes like Hestia and Astra are examples of popular themes with high ratings designed for people who do not want to focus on design and UX themselves.
Those who rather prefer a mix of structure and control can choose the theme OceanWP. If you would choose to install OceanWP, you should also install a plugin called Elementor. We will describe Elementor in the section on plugins below.
In case you have taken the step of developing your pages with the help of Elementor, we recommend that you install the theme Hello. The theme is created for Elementor and is therefore very lean which makes it quick to load.
To keep your site as fast and secure as possible, you should usually only have your primary theme installed with Twenty Twenty as backup theme.
The price for the themes listed above is USD 0.
Last but not least, you should install a few plugins on your site to optimize performance or add specific features.
We recommend that anyone who can use a page builder to build their website. It gives you more control and the site gives a more professional and unique impression. The page builder we use and recommend is called Elementor. Elementor’s basic plugin is free and the features in the free version go a long way.
If you want to unlock premium features, you can buy Elementor Pro. It is installed as an add-on to standard Elements and offers a new dimension. Despite the fact that you do well with the basic program, we use Elementor Pro on all our pages.
The price for Elementor Pro’s smallest plan (1 website) is $49.
The time it takes to load your website is an important ranking factor to keep in mind. The faster your page is displayed to your visitors, the better is user experience. This can result in your site ranking on more and better keywords which then results in even more visitors.
You can easily improve the page speed of your website with one or a few plugins. Here is our list of free plugins that improve the speed of your website:
For those who are interested in a complete solution, WP Rocket would be the option we recommend. That option costs money but the service is very good and you avoid some of the bugs we have experienced with the free options.
The price for WP Rocket’s ”Single Plan” (1 website) is $49.
In addition to plugins that have been developed to improve the website’s speed and appearance, there are also various plugins to simplify admin and the like. Here are our suggestions for three plugins every site needs:
There are plenty of alternatives to the various plugins we have listed and some alternatives may be better suited for specific purposes. Like themes, you should only have active plugins on the page and things you do not use should be deleted. Also, do not install two plugins for the same purpose as this may cause technical problems.
In this article, we have explained that it is not difficult or expensive to build, host and run a website in 2020. By following the steps listed and using the simple, and in many cases free, tools available, people without a technical background start their own projects.
Finally, we summarize the prices for the examples in the article to give an estimate of what it costs to run a website based on our different scenarios.