This article will enable you to create a cheap website through the use of WordPress and its excellent free plugins. Times are hard, a lot of us are aware of this and building a website can be a costly thing to do however it really doesn’t have to be. When it comes to needing a website, for some it can mean that you are in the process of starting a business and have very little money to start out let alone having the money for creating a website. Currently, I know of a way that anyone can create a cheap website for under £5 GBP, yes you heard right UNDER £5 and that is including a domain name (including .com and .co.uk amongst others) and hosting for a year!
I will also be talking about the platform of my choice, a popular CMS (content management system) called WordPress, and the best free plugins that you can use for many different purposes.
There are many videos and other tutorials out there for learning how to build a WordPress website however the one video I used to learn is by a nice chap called Ferdy Korpershoek. I didn’t follow his instructions precisely, I only used his video to learn the ropes and it served me well, I have posted the video below for you to watch but be aware, its a long one.
So….. I know people are busy, and I know some just want to get stuck right in without reading a lengthy article and so here are the links straight up. Some are affiliate links and I will gain a small commission from you clicking through on them and buying the service etc, this does not mean you pay any extra though. In fact, some of the links entitles you to a discount. For example, if you buy a hosting package through my link with one.com, this will not only earn me a commission, it will also bag you a £5 discount too hence how you can get a hosting package and domain for a year and create a cheap website for under £5 (normal price for the first year is £10.80 GBP inc VAT). Most links in this article are however not affiliate links and they are just for reference purposes to help you out. The affiliate links that are in place help me fund my time spent on such articles like this one that will hopefully help people get to where they want to be without spending a fortune.
Create a cheap website; quick steps and links
- One.com – Buy a cheap hosting package with domain for 1 year for under £5.
- nuttyabouthosting.co.uk – Get your 10% discount on an optional extra domain. (good for helping protect your business name)
- WordPress.org – Download the latest WordPress installation files. They are free to download and this is another reason why you can create a cheap website in the first place.
- One.com – Read through the WordPress installation instructions for one.com users on the one.com website.
- Watch Ferdy Korpershoek’s tutorial video on how to create a WordPress website using Elementor.
- My list of recommended free WordPress plugins to finish off.
Signing up to one.com’s special offer includes a 25Gb hosting starter package and of course a domain. Both the package and domain is free for a year which only leaves you to pay the setup fee. And even when the freebie has ended after the first year, you will be pleased to know that the package including domain fee is still cheap and very competitive (I have now been with them since 2011 because of this and because of the excellent service they provide). Currently in April 2019 a .com hosting package is usually £18.96 and the domain fee is usually £15.99 for the year and then there is a £9 Ex VAT setup fee on top of that. So, because the hosting and domain is free for 1 year, that’s £10.80 GBP Including VAT for the first year but don’t forget you earn a £5 discount on the Exc VAT price of £9 for signing up through my link and so that works out at just £4.80 for a full year! Amazing right!
Hosting with one.com comes with excellent features especially for the price including a free SSL certificate, an SSD server and email hosting on your own server amongst many other things.
Now, say you are based in the UK and you don’t just want the .com domain name but you also want the .co.uk domain name too, you can of course purchase what’s called an add-on domain. This can be one of a few important steps should you want to protect your beloved business name. It is fairly cheap through one.com however if you really don’t have a lot of money, and/or you want to save every penny you can, then I recommend using the company nuttyabouthosting.co.uk. I purchased my domain for under £6 for the full year however by purchasing through my link you gain a 10% discount and so it will end up costing you just under £5.50 GBP inc VAT for the year. Bare in mind though that this is for what’s called a domain only purchase, you do not get any hosting with it and you only buy the domain. But get this, nuttyabouthosting.co.uk allows you to do something that’s fairly nifty that’s called web forwarding. This means that you can instantly direct traffic from the domain to your other domain that contains your website and that is hosted by another company (in this case it would be one.com). For SEO purposes it is important to only use one domain name as your main website anyway as Google penalises for repeat content. You would have repeat content if you was to have two of the same websites on two separate domains, so instead we use what’s called a redirect to solve this issue.
Take note that there are in fact two WordPress websites, WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com allows anybody to create a cheap website with free hosting, and in fact their lowest package is totally free, however your domain name will be a sub domain name of wordpress.com and it is very limited in what you can do unless you pay for the extras. Now I’m not saying WordPress.com is rubbish, far from it and in fact the paid for hosting packages are probably very good indeed however WordPress.org is the website that you can obtain the opensource version of WordPress from. Just download all the files and then upload to your own hosts server ready for installation. Then for added features later on you just install the plugins of your choice. There are many that are paid for and a lot of plugins have premium versions or add on extensions but I have not yet spent a penny on a plugin because at the moment I have only been seeking to create the cheapest website possible that contains the most features possible. There are some plugins I use that I would be very happy to purchase a premium version of but for the moment I am happy to wait for now until I can afford them. I will let you know about these in due course.
One.com has something that is called a WordPress 1 click install however they charge for this service and so I don’t recommend it. Instead you can just download the files directly from WordPress.org and use one.com’s built in file manager to upload them with which is very simple to do or you can use an FTP program such as the incredibly popular Filezilla client. For an external FTP client, you will need to obtain your FTP details which you can do by logging into your one.com account, on the main menu going down to the advanced settings, clicking on SSH & FTP and enabling FTP access. You then enter these details provided to you into your FTP client to connect to your server, the server being the place where your website files will be held such as your WordPress website. For more info on how to download and install WordPress manually, check out this excellent article provided by One.com to help you with it; How to install WordPress manually.
Note: I wouldn’t bother to install their plugin, it’s just extra bloat that you don’t need and I only used it briefly for the plugin recommendations which I will be telling you about anyway.
Hopefully by this point, you will have WordPress installed and you will be ready to start creating your very own website. On your WordPress admin page when you look at the panel on the left hand side I’m pretty sure you’ll be overwhelmed as I was at first. However I’m going to take you through a few things to help you become familiar with it and then you can watch the excellent video below hosted on YouTube which you can use to easily learn how to use Elementor.
I’ll go over a few things with you however I won’t be explaining everything as there is so much to explain, the article would end up being a book.
So within what’s called the back end of WordPress (the Admin page and the part where you control the website from) going from top to bottom on the left hand side panel, we have the ‘DASHBOARD’ which pretty much speaks for itself. This is mostly handy after the time you’ve installed your plugins so don’t worry about this link for now.
Next we have ‘POSTS’. Now this link is where you’ll be clicking in order to create time sensitive content, these are your blog posts or articles for example. A post is also a page however the content is dated and has various features that ‘PAGES’ don’t have.
TIP: I used to like creating written content for posts using WordPress’s own tools and then later editing them with Elementor further down the road if needed, this worked for a time but then however I started to run in to a few issues doing it this way and so I recommend using the WordPress editing tools alone for posts and using Elementor for designing the main pages. Yoast, the important SEO plugin, doesn’t show up in Elementor anyway and so it is best all round doing this this way.
Under ‘POSTS’ you can choose ‘all posts’ where you can see all your posts in one list, ‘add new’ where you can create a new post, ‘categories’ where you can create categories for organising your posts and last of all ‘tags’. You can see what tags you use and which ones you use the most, very handy!
Next is the ‘MEDIA’ link. You can upload pictures here for example to use on your website.
What….you’re not a photographer you say? Fear not, get yourself onto Google, type into the search what you are wanting and then click on the images tab. Next, under the search bar click the tab called tools and a sub menu will appear. Next click on ‘usage rights’ located on this sub menu and choose ‘labelled for reused with modification’. Then click on ‘size’ on the same menu and choose large. The results will now be mostly full of images that you can legally use without breaking copyright law. Be careful though, it is sometimes possible to find images that are wrongly labelled, so keep your wits about you.
So next we have the ‘PAGES’ link. All pages, I edit with Elementor, it makes creating/editing a good looking template a breeze and this is where you will create the art and design for your pages such as, HOME, ABOUT, CONTACT etc. However I still use the standard WordPress layout tools for some things such as adding to the pages ‘featured images’ and ‘excerpts’, for changing the URL and for checking the SEO of the page using the aforementioned Yoast plugin etc. Like the ‘POSTS’ tab, we also have sub menu options under ‘PAGES’; ‘all pages’, you can see a list of your pages and ‘add new’ which creates a new page.
The next link I’m going to take you to is ‘APPEARANCE’. This is where you go to make changes to the core settings of the template such as how you would like the top menu to display or how you would like a footer to display, if you would like the date and author of posts to display etc however the options available are very dependant on which theme you use. I decided on Phlox for my theme as it was a recommendation by Ferdy the chap who makes the Elementor tutorials on YouTube (video below) and I haven’t looked back, it has served me very well however there are many to choose from. Just make sure you do the research on which theme is right for you as they can differ greatly and some may not even be compatible with certain things such as if you was to set up an E-commerce store for example. My partner uses WooCommerce for her E-Commerce website and she finds ‘Astra’ a great theme to use for that but again it’s really each to their own.
The next link on the left panel after ‘APPEARANCE’ is ‘PLUGINS’ and the sub menu starts with ‘installed plugins’. This is where you go to see a list of all of your installed plugins. By scrolling down the list you are then easily able to deactiviate/activate them, read notifications and see which one’s are in need of an update.
Next in the sub menu is ‘add plugin’. Again, self explaining, this link is where you go to search for plugins in the huge database of WordPress plugins.
TIP: When searching for plugins, look at the star rating and how many reviews it has had and look to see how many installs it has had also. Please take note of the version the plugin is compatible with too as some older plugins are not compatible with the later versions of WordPress and they may not work properly, or even break your website. This isn’t always necessarily the case though and it may just be that the plugin is a free one that the developer simply cannot afford to spend their time on updating it every single month/quarter etc, so keep this in mind.
Ok so now we have gone through some important links in the left panel, we need to next download the theme Phlox. The Phlox theme is recommended for the reasons that 1. It will probably be easier to follow Ferdy’s instructions in his Elementor tutorial below. 2. It is very comprehensive and has many excellent features. And 3. It is officially recommended by Elementor themselves.
Go to the main back end menu (the admin page) and click on the link entitled ‘APPEARANCE’ in the left panel. Then click on ‘Themes’. Click new and then search for Phlox. Install and activate the theme.
Next, go to the left panel link entitled ‘PLUGINS’. Click on the sub menu entitled ‘add new’ and then search for Elementor. Click on the ‘install now’ button and then activate. Now we have the theme installed and the builder, ‘Elementor’ installed and we can now get to work. As I was saying earlier, I used a video tutorial on YouTube to help me work out how to use Elementor and I don’t think I could have done it without it in all honesty. I wanted to build a cheap website and I knew that this was one thing that I had to get my head around for me to be able to create a website I was happy with. It is a long one but it will teach you pretty much everything you need to know. Here it is:
Right, once you have built your website, you will be wanting/needing to install a few plugins. Now its not recommended to install loads of plugins and I recommend you always deactivate and/or delete the plugins you don’t use, not just for organisation but also for the reason of security and website slow down prevention. Here is the list of free plugins I highly recommend for your ‘create a cheap website’ project:
Now, if you have followed my instructions above, and/or watched Ferdy’s video, then you will probably already have this installed. In my and many others opinion, this is thee best website builder for WordPress hands down. If you are building a fairly standard website for blogging, reviews etc then you will be just fine with the free version, however if you want to use Elementor to easily build and customise an E-Commerce WooCommerce store then you will need the pro version of Elementor. I believe you can still use WooCommerce as standard, however it won’t be customisable like your pages are. There are a few plugins I will be purchasing the pro version of at a later date and Elementor Pro is one of them even though I don’t use WooCommerce, Why? Because the extras are just too darn good to ignore and I personally believe that for the price, it is worth it alone just for the extra widgets you get when you purchase the pro version.
Phlox Core Elements
If you did go with the Phlox theme, then this plugin provides you with extra elements, widgets and options for it and extends the functionality of the Phlox theme.
Premium Addons For Elementor
This provides you with 20+ excellent widgets and is well worth installing. In fact I was quite amazed at the quality of them.
Just because we are making a cheap website, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have the quality features that some other premium plugins provide. Sometimes the quality features are out there, it’s just finding them.
This is yet another plugin I may be purchasing the premium version of later on even though the functionality of the free version is amazing. It is quite simply superb, I wouldn’t be without it and you shouldn’t be without it either. SEO (search engine optimisation) is incredibly important if you want your content seen by the masses and this plugin helps you to get to a more optimum level.
A few of these plugins are very important to install and this is one of them. Updraftplus will allow you to backup your whole WordPress website on a regular basis and you can back it up to many places with this plugin including Google cloud, Dropbox, your email address (subject to size) and many more. This is especially important to do before installing the following security and performance plugins.
All In One WordPress (WP) Security
This is a great free security plugin that lets you do a huge range of things to increase the security of your website but be careful as changing some of the options can lead you to a broken website. It does however have some great features to prevent this though.
Advanced noCaptcha & Invisible Captcha
An excellent way to help prevent spam is to use Google’s Captcha’s. This can be implemented for use with all of your forms including for use with contact, comments and login forms. To use this plugin, you will need to obtain free keys from google that you insert into the plugin to allow it to work, you can obtain your keys here: Obtain Google Captcha Keys
Google has a range of tools that you can use for free including the webmaster tools and Analytics tools. If you have any kid of interest in making your website a success then I suggest you create an account for each service and learn roughly how to use them as they will help you tremendously!
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress (WP) (GADWP)
Talking of Google analytics, this is a handy plugin that brings all of your data to your WordPress dashboard and is very handy to have installed.
Website performance (or how fast a website works) is important for a couple of reasons. 1. It provides your readers with a better experience, and they are less likely to jump ship if they can get to where they need to be quicker and more efficiently and 2. Google apparently shows preference to websites that are faster which does actually make a lot of sense.
To test your website for its performance rating, you can use an excellent website called GTMetrix.com. This will tell you everything you need to know pointing out where you need to improve your website. My website currently sits at an A rating for PageSpeed and a B rating for YSlow. I can improve the latter by using a CDN (content delivery network) which would probably see my YSlow jump up to an A grade however at the moment I have been unable to find a free CDN service that could do this for me without me needing to change my Nameserver.
For increasing website performance, I use the following 3 plugins:
WordPress (WP) Super Cache
This was actually a plugin recommended by one.com and I have to say it is working well for me alongside the other following plugins.
WPO Tweaks & Optimizations
This was a great find in the plugin database and mostly configures your .htaccess file for further optimum performance.
If you are in need of creating some contact forms then this to me seems to be the plugin you want. I have yet to use it but after a good looking around, it seems to be the best free one available. There are however others and you may find a better one to suit you.
This is a very handy plugin that lets you configure your WYSIWYG text editor. WYSIWYG stands for ‘What you see is what you get’ and this plugin allows you to add or remove all kinds of functions to or from your text editor. Again, it’s totally free!
If you are going to be serving cookies to your visitors, then by law you need to tell them. This is the reason why you now see many popups appearing at the bottom of the screen on most websites. Cookies are little bits of information stored in your web browser that serves a few purposes. This may include helping the website owner understand what their readers/customers want. It then in turn provides the visitor with a better experience when visiting the website. Or for me as another example, it lets the relevant websites know that I have directed you to their websites which then allows me to gain the affiliate commission I was talking to you about earlier on in this article.
If you are wanting to create a cheap website for product/service reviews, then this free plugin provides you with many options. I will be using it later on to allow my visitors to share their own ratings and thoughts on a particular product or service, this will then hopefully backup my reviews so then I don’t come across as being biased. I certainly am not biased and I only buy something that is recommended by others anyway. I meticulously seek professional reviews and consumer reviews before purchasing most things to help me make the decision as to whether it is a worthy buy or not. And so if I like something, it’s for good reason, and is usually the shared opinion of many other people also.
Now this is an incredibly handy plugin and is the last of the recommended plugins in this list that I wish to buy the premium version of. If you are wanting to be an affiliate marketer and is the reason why you want to create a cheap website then this is the plugin for you without a doubt. This WordPress plugin allows you to create affiliate links that you can then access in one place without the need of having to go through all of your articles to change the links individually should they become void. This of course saves a ton of time. The plugin also allows you to cloak the links which allows for a better experience for the visitor and of course provides a little protection against affiliate commission theft. Now, Amazon does not allow cloaking unfortunately, however the plugin supports uncloaking which makes it Amazon compatible, something that is currently unheard of for affiliate link plugins. Why do I want ThirstyAffiliates Pro you may ask? Well for a number of reasons including the amazing ability to automatically create affiliate links based on keywords within an article, redirecting your visitors to the correct Geo location of the website. (for example people who click on amazon.co.uk links will be taken to the same or similar product on amazon.com where the product is available in their own currency and has the ability to be shipped to them). You can import and export your affiliate link database, and you get automatic notifications should the affiliate link be broken or fetches a ‘404 page not found’ error.
Currently I am using this free plugin for my Geo-locating of visitors for Amazons affiliate program. It used to be a paid for plugin however they later made it free to use for everyone. It works fine for now however sadly the developer has kind of given up on it due to competition and so its worth keeping an eye on it incase one day it breaks and no longer works. I will be using ThirstyAffiliates Geo-locating options when I upgrade to Pro later on but for now this is serving the purpose for my Amazon links.
AddToAny Share Buttons
When you are creating articles, the one thing that helps to get you exposure for them is allowing people the ability to share to social media. This plugin does just that by enabling you to add share buttons to your content. I was torn between using this one or the next plugin mentioned however both are great free plugins.
Now this does the same as the above plugin however it does come with a few extras. One of them that might interest you is the ability to allow people to comment on your posts using their Facebook account logins. This is pretty amazing but it isn’t the only plugin that can do this. It is a good all rounder however one thing that did put me off was that they add their own outbound link to the bottom of the comments form which might not bother some people but it bothered me. Since it is a totally free plugin, you may be able to remove this link, though I would maybe seek permission before doing this.
AddFunc Head & Footer Code
This is a very handy and easy to use plugin that allows you to simply insert various code in the header and footer of your website without the need for editing the WordPress code directly. This is handy for a number of reasons, for example; Amazons one link setup requires you to insert their code into your website. And as another example; if you are a member of the excellent affiliate network Sovrn (Viglink) you need to enter their code into your website for it to seamlessly work with theirs.
If you are wanting an online shop to sell products through, you will be needing whats called an E-commerce store. This is possible to have with WordPress using the free WooCommerce plugin. It is simply amazing and incredibly powerful and there are many free extensions that you can get for it too, however you may find it handy purchasing a few of their paid for extensions later on down the line. You can check out their vast range of extensions on the Woocommerce.com website. Please remember though that unless you have Elementor Pro, you won’t be able to edit the design layout of the WooCommerce store, you will be stuck with the default template which looks pretty good anyway so don’t worry too much.
To now have the ability to create a cheap website is simply amazing as purchasing one from a designer usually costs hundreds of pounds and for good reason, a lot of work is usually involved in creating a website. When I found that I could create a cheap website without breaking the bank I jumped at the chance because in this day and age, owning a website is pretty important for any business and it was something I needed to start my business with.
And so that concludes this article, creating a cheap website couldn’t be easier right? I really hope it has helped you or is helping you to create a cheap website of your own and one that you are proud of. You may come/have come across some limitations from time to time as I did however I always managed to find a way around them through plugins or through searching Google and YouTube as I’m sure you will too.
Wishing you all the very best in your future endeavours.
Author and website owner – Chris