When starting a business, we entrepreneurs understand the amount of work that goes into making sure everything goes smoothly. This is also a great opportunity for us to learn something new, save some money, and get out of our comfort zones!
The first opportunity for us to learn when it came time to create our website. Neither of us has any experience in web design, so how could we possibly avoid spending thousands of dollars and create a functional, captivating website? Keep reading and find out how we did it and soon, you’ll have what it takes to create your website for less than $100!
If you haven’t had a chance to see our website yet, check out our home page!
Step 1: Choosing a CMS Platform
Your first question is probably, what is a CMS platform? Good question. It’s just a fancy way of saying the platform you’ll be using to design your website. We spent a lot of time debating what we would be using, as there are honestly a ton of good options out there. After doing our research, we ended up choosing WordPress for a few reasons: 1) It’s really customizable, 2) There are tons of good themes available, and 3) It’s extremely cost-effective.
That said, if you want to explore others that are pretty well-reviewed, you can check out Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, etc.
Step 2: Decide on the theme (WordPress only)
This is honestly the hardest part because there are literally millions of themes available. So where do you start? Well to save you time, we’re just going to recommend the one we went with, Jupiter X: https://themeforest.net/item/jupiter-multipurpose-responsive-theme/5177775. It has everything you can want from a theme in terms of included elements, gorgeous pre-designed layouts, and is really easy to use. It costs $59 and you end up getting a really professional looking site out of it.
One of the biggest takeaways from choosing the template was being able to visualize how the content we wrote/ message we wanted to send would fit on the template. We thought we had our perfect template more than once before finally deciding on the one above.
That said, maybe this theme isn’t for you, so check out the other themes on Themeforest and pick the one you like most. Another great choice is Divi, based on reviews, although we personally haven’t tried it.
Step 3: Pick a hosting service
Once you have a theme, you’re almost ready to actually build your website. What you finally need is a hosting service that will essentially “put your website on the internet”. If you have no idea where to start, the most commonly recommended hosts are Bluehost, HostGator, and Hostinger. Like I mentioned, there are tons more, but we found these three have the best price-functionality ratio. In terms of which plan to go with, unless you know otherwise, the middle plan will probably be best for you – just a rule of thumb.
Most of the time, if you don’t already have a domain (your customized website link for your business), these hosting sites will give you a deal to get a domain free for a year. You can also look to buy it separately, but we’ll just keep it simple and say get it from your host.
Step 4: Using CPanel to actually make changes to your site
Once you’ve made it this far, the fun starts. Using the instructions found with your theme, you log onto your host, find the link to “CPanel” and then click the WordPress button to get to the WordPress dashboard. You might need to do a little exploring here, as this looks different on every hosting platform. But once you find it, click “Appearance” on the left hand side and then click themes. Then click “Add New” and upload the WordPress theme that you previously bought (it will be a zip). If this is a little confusing, don’t worry, here’s a video showing you how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJcwNWXQWTA
Note that you will likely be prompted to activate your license at this point. You will find this in your Themeforest account, assuming you bought your theme from them.
Step 5: Customizing your website!
This is where you get to make your site your own. This part is why we really like JupiterX. They make it really easy to do this. If you have installed JupiterX, you want to go to the Jupiter menu option on the left hand side of your WordPress panel. This will take you to a new screen, and from there you will see templates. Here’s a link showing that process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxr-iKlrjYw
Then just choose a template that best matches your business. They have so many to choose from, and odds are your business niche already has a theme made specifically for it. Once you find one, just click install.
From there, you can go under the main WordPress dashboard, and edit your pages using Elementor. You’ll see an option that says this. Here’s a link to explain this part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnlzOHECEDo
Then it’s as simple as just playing around with the context, drag and drop style, and fill out the text with what you want it to say. No programming needed! Also, get creative, and use some of the Elementor design options. Just drag and drop some of the amazing pre-designed widgets like stat bars, or customer testimonials. It’s honestly really intuitive to use once you play around with it for an hour.
And that’s it! Just like that, you can create your own super professional-looking website without needing to hire someone and pay hundreds or even thousands. Sure this method might take a bit longer, but it’s super rewarding having complete control over your website, saving tons of money, and being able to maintain and update it without any problems!
If you have any questions please reach out! Also, reach out if your business could benefit from our virtual reception services. We’d love to connect for a quick 15 minute chat about how we can turn your callers into customers and not lose out on business from missed calls!
Resources to help your website building:
-Icons for your website: https://www.flaticon.com/
-Free tool to design images for your website, or even to design your logo: https://www.canva.com/
-Free stock photography: https://www.pexels.com/ and https://unsplash.com/