Knowing how to create your own website can be a rewarding skill to have. You can test your ideas quickly without spending too much money on hiring a web designer to do it for you.
Personally, I have been able to grow my online businesses and find clients using the website you are reading right now.
This is a website I built myself at a minimal cost. It’s a simple website that does what I want it to do.
In fact, I have been building websites to test my business ideas since I was a college student more than eight years ago.
Knowing how to build my own websites enabled me to test many different ideas without spending more than RM3,000 in total on building websites.
The best thing?
I don’t even know how to code!
If you have been wanting to build your own website for months or even years but haven’t go to it yet because a) you don’t know how to code or b) you don’t have thousands of RM to hire someone to build it for you, here’s the good news:
It is possible now to build your own website – yes, even if you don’t know how to code – for a cost less than RM400 in less than 60 minutes.
If you have RM400 and 60 minutes to spare, let’s get your website up today!
3 Easy Steps to Create Your Website in Less than 60 Minutes
There are three main steps for creating a website. What are they? Take a look:
Step 1: Choosing a platform
Step 2: Choosing a domain name and host
Step 3: Setting up your website, choosing a theme and customizing
Step 1: Choosing a Website Platform
In the early days of the world wide web, the only way to build a decent website was by knowing how to code. It was very time intensive and expensive even to build a basic website.
Nowadays though, there are much easier ways to build and manage a website. In fact, most websites in 2017 are built using something called a ‘Content Management System’ or CMS for short.
What’s a CMS and Which CMS Should You Use?
A CMS is a platform for building and managing your website without the need to use code.
There are many CMS to choose from (paid and free) but my favorite one is WordPress.
WordPress is a free CMS used by nearly 75 million websites around the world.
What I like about it is that it’s really easy to use and modify.
Since it is open source, there is a huge network of developers building on the WordPress platform which means you can find answers to any problems you have with the platform quite easily.
Although some paid CMS can do a better job in some areas compared to WordPress, for a free CMS, WordPress is exceptional.
For beginners, I would recommend using WordPress. I am personally a big fan of WordPress and have built all my websites on the WordPress CMS.
Now before you can start using WordPress as your CMS, you will need to complete the next step, i.e. to choose a domain and a host.
Step 2: Choosing a Domain Name and Hosting Provider
Why do you need a domain name and hosting?
Let me explain:
A domain name tells people where to look for you online. It’s kinda like your address online.
Hosting, on the other hand, is where you store all your website files online. A good hosting provider will not only provide you the space to store your files online, they will also make sure that your site loads fast and are always online.
Although both of these will cost you money, from my experience it is well worth the investment.
Where to get domain and hosting?
There are many domain and hosting providers, but only a few good quality ones.
For domains, GoDaddy is my go-to choice.
Domains are relatively cheap and easy to buy on GoDaddy. In fact, you can even get a domain name for as little as RM4 for your first year using GoDaddy. But don’t do that just yet. I’m gonna show you in just a bit how to get your first-year domain for free.
For hosting, I used to love recommending Site5 as my go-to hosting provider. But lately, its service quality has dropped tremendously so I have now stopped recommending it to my friends and readers.
Instead, my recommended hosting now is InMotion.
Here’s what I like about InMotion:
🎈 It’s fast. inMotion hosts all its client sites on SSD drives. SSD drives are the fastest storage drives there is today!
🎈 It’s cheap. For less RM40 a month, I can host 2 websites. For most hosts of this quality, I would only be able to host just 1 site. Disk space and bandwidth are unlimited.
🎈 It has great 24/7 live chat support. So far I have been very satisfied with the response time and support from InMotion’s customer service team. Great 24/7 support is a must-have for me.
🎈 It offers 1-click WordPress installation. When I set up my first WordPress website I had to do it the manual way. This took a lot of time and effort and I wasted a lot of time on mistakes. Luckily inMotion offers 1-click WordPress installation so it will take you less than 5 minutes to install WordPress on your site.
🎈 It comes with a free SSL certificate. SSL certificates normally cost RM35 a year but with InMotion, it’s included in your hosting plan. SSL certificates are important for websites nowadays because Google is placing a higher value on security online these days.
🎈 You can have a unlimited number of emails using your domain name. Some hosts charge RM5 – 20 a month PER email. But with inMotion, you can have any number of emails you want in the format of YourName@YourDomain.com. Having emails using your own domain makes you look more professional than using a gmail or hotmail email address.
🎈 Free website builder (BoldGrid). Normally you’d have to pay anywhere between RM20 – 60 for a website builder like Wix, but with InMotion, you get the WordPress-based website builder BoldGrid for free!
Best of all:
All of InMotion’s business hosting plans come with a free domain 🎁 for your first year! So you can save RM60 for your first year’s domain 😊 Cool right?
The only thing I don’t like about InMotion is that they’ll need to call you to verify your account. I’m an introvert who doesn’t like calls very much so this can be irritating. However, it’s a small problem to have when I’m getting so much value.
Tl;dr InMotion offers great value for money and you get a free domain for your first year with them. The only downside is that they’ll need to call you to confirm your account.
Get your free domain and first year hosting for less than RM400 a year here:
InMotion offers three plans – Launch, Power and Pro. For beginners, I recommend the Launch plan.
It’s more than enough for the first few years when your traffic is less than 5,000 visitors a month. You can either go for a 1 year of a 2-year plan. The only difference is that the 2-year plan is RM4 a month cheaper than the 1-year plan.
If you’ve decided to go with InMotion’s hosting plan, here are some extra tips:
For Data Center, pick the one that is closest to your target audience. If your audience is predominantly from Malaysia, you can pick Los Angeles as it is slightly closer than Washington.
Once you have selected your data center, select ‘Install WordPress’ to have InMotion help you set up your site for WordPress.
Tips on choosing a domain name
As I’ve mentioned, any InMotion plan comes with a free domain.
Once you have your Data Center and CMS installation configured, the next thing you need to do is pick a domain:
But what domain name should you go for?
Your domain name is one of the most important decisions you have to make when building an online presence.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered from online marketing experts as well as my own experience when it comes to choosing a domain name:
Pick a .com
Even though there are many extensions available, most people still identify with .com
Pick a name with 2 – 3 syllables
Don’t make your name too complicated. If you can, go for names which are 2 – 3 syllables long. My own domain name EntrepreneurCampfire.com is a bit too long. I created it when I wasn’t very good with branding but nowadays when I create new brands, I always stick to 2 – 3 syllables.
Spelt as pronounced
Go for a name that is spelled as it is pronounced. Don’t go for foreign names with different pronunciations that are easily mistaken. Your audience will find it difficult to find you online. Avoid words like touche (too-shay) and facade (pronounced faa-sad). You get my point.
Avoid hyphens and plurals
Hyphens and plurals make your website URL hard to remember. Your readers will always have to ask themselves: Does it or doesn’t it have a hyphen? Does it or doesn’t it have a ‘s’ at the end? More often than not, they end up too confused to visit your site too often.
Choose a brandable name
Do you see yourself putting your name on an event? One day you might need to do that. So when you choose a domain name, go beyond choosing just any name. Choose a name that is brandable.
Don’t have a similar sounding name to something that already exists
If the name you want already exists, don’t be smart and use a different extension. More likely than not, your audience will end up on your competitor’s site than yours. Choose a different name.
Once you have selected your domain name, proceed with the purchasing of the InMotion hosting.
Do note that once you have signed up with InMotion, you will receive a call from them to verify your information before they set up your account. Don’t worry, this is a quick call and won’t be too difficult.
Step 3: Set up your website and make it look professional
If you have followed my instructions in Step 2, InMotion will proceed to help you install WordPress on your website. No work necessary on your end.
But if you have not requested InMotion or your host to install WordPress for you, don’t worry, it’s easy.
All you have to do is login to your cPanel. Once you are inside, scroll down until you find the section called ‘Top Applications’. You will find WordPress listed as the second application next to BoldGrid:
(If you are using a different host, the cPanel may look slightly different but you it will look somewhat similar)
Click on it and you will be brought to this page:
Follow the instructions and you will have your WordPress site up in a few minutes.
Choosing a theme
Once you have installed WordPress, you will end up with a site that looks like this:
This is the Twenty Seventeen theme which is the default theme WordPress installs on every site.
If you don’t want to look like every other site online, you will need to install a new theme.
You have two options to do this: you can install a free theme or buy a premium one.
Let’s take a look at how can do both.
Free WordPress themes
To install a free theme, go to the sidebar and hover over ‘Appearances’. When you do, you get a menu as below. Click on the ‘Themes’ link:
This will bring you to the themes page. To add a new theme, go to the top of the page and click on ‘Add New’:
There you can pick from thousands of free themes:
Use the ‘Feature Filter’ at the menu to filter the themes down to the specs that you want.
Although these are free themes, you can often find very high-quality ones. So do look at them before you move on to look for premium themes. For most basic websites, a free theme would be more than enough.
If you have selected a theme, all you have to is install and activate it and you will see it on your site:
Paid Alternative: Premium WordPress themes
If after looking at the free themes you still could not find anything you like, consider going for paid themes.
Premium themes will set you back another RM200 – RM350 to your budget, bringing it up close to RM800.
My favorite place to look for paid themes is Themeforest.
It has some of the best looking and performing themes online.
When looking for premium themes, I personally tend to choose themes that are highly customizable. With a highly customizable theme, you can customize the theme for any purpose.
With a highly customizable, it’s like buying 1,000 themes for the price of one!
Here are two of my top picks for customizable themes from Themeforest:
Browse more themes on ThemeForest’s WordPress Theme Marketplace here:
Once you have chosen your theme, it’s now time to add pages to your site. Here’s how you can do that:
At the top of your dashboard, you will see a menu with a few options. At the end of the menu you will find a ‘+New’ link. Hover over it and click on ‘Page’:
When you click on it, you will be led to a page which looks like this:
Adding a Menu
Once you have added pages to your site, it’s now time to add the pages to your navigation menu.
To access your menu editor, go to the sidebar on your left. Hover over ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Menus’:
Once you are inside, follow the following steps to add a page to your menu (click to play video):
Additional Step if You Have a Blog: Adding and Editing Posts
As I have explained in my SEO guide, your blog is a good place for you to optimize your website for SEO.
Just as you have done for pages, to add a post, all you have to do is go to your top menu, hover over ‘+New’ and click on posts:
Once you do, you will be brought to the post editor page:
This is where you can create posts like the one you are reading right now.
Additional Customizations: Installing Popular Plugins
Plugins are extensions you can add to your WordPress site to add a new function or feature that was not included in your theme.
To install a plugin, go to the sidebar on your left again, hover over ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Add New’:
Once you have chosen your plugin, all you have to do is install it.
Here are some plugins that most websites nowadays have installed to get you started off with:
Google Analytics – Google Analytics tracks your traffic and your visitors’ behavior on your site. This helps you measure the results of your efforts.
Contact Form 7 – Contact Form 7 is the best free contact form plugin. You can use it for visitors on your site to send you an email from your website. I am also using Contact Form 7 on Entrepreneur Campfire’s Contact page.
Yoast SEO plugin – Yoast is helpful for you to do SEO on your site. Personally Yoast SEO has been helpful in Entrepreneur Campfire’s growth from 100 to 10,000 visitors a month.
These are only a few of the plugins available to you. There are thousands of free and paid plugins you can look out for online. Feel free to explore them.
Conclusion: Go ahead, Launch your website
Knowing how to build your own website can make a big difference in your life. Not only do you save money, you can also execute your ideas faster.
Gone are the days you need to spend hours and hours coding just to get a basic website up. Nowadays with CMSs like WordPress you can easily get a professional looking website up within an hour.
If you have been thinking about setting up your own website, look no further. You already have everything you need to build your first site for just under RM400.
I hope that you have been successful in building your website after reading this guide. However, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or send me a message here.