An entrepreneur’s guide to making a basic website

Web designers have gotten cheaper and cheaper. A few years ago, a basic website would cost you about $10,000. Now, you could get one made for $1,000. Unfortunately, that also has a negative effect. Most web designers won’t even touch a site that’s under $5,000 nowadays, because the margin would be far too low, leaving the cash-strapped entrepreneurs with a difficult decision: DIY or pay $5k.

As an entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats, and even if you aren’t going to be making the site yourself, this article will show you how everything works, and how to make a website for yourself at a low price.

1. Buy a domain name

There’s a few tools that I use to buy domain names. Compare prices on all these sites before you pay. Some .co.nz domains cost $120 on GoDaddy, but on CrazyDomains, they’re always at a flat rate of $14.99. .com‘s and .co‘s, on the other hand, are often cheaper on GoDaddy.

  • GoDaddy: The undisputed king of domain names, GoDaddy is often very cheap. They do have an annoying algorithm that judges the domain’s popularity, and charges more if it deems it to be a popular domain name. They have very fast name server switching though.
  • CrazyDomains: This NZ-based site is always the first place I look for .co.nz domains, and the second place I look for any other domains. They usually have a flat rate for domains, unlike GoDaddy. Name server switching is slow sometimes though.
  • Domainr: This is a really good service to use to find a domain name that you like. Just type in your brand’s name, and they’ll show you all of your options for domains, even those funky brandna.me ones.

2. Get hosting

I always buy my domains and my hosting separately. It’s cheaper in the long run I find, and you often have more control over what you use that hosting for.

  • Hostpapa: Undisputedly the best (in my opinion), Hostpapa will give you unlimited everything for just $4.95 NZD a month. That’s unlimited hosting space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domain names (different sites) and unlimited MX record changes (email addresses.)
  • iPage: Incredibly reliable and incredibly cheap, iPage offers similar features to Hostpapa in that it is completely unlimited. I dislike their customer service though.
  • CrazyDomains: I’ve never used CrazyDomains hosting, but I’ve heard good things and it’s very cost effective.

3. Transfer your domain name

You’ve bought a domain name and hosting, now it’s time to transfer it.

  • GoDaddy + Hostpapa: Go into your GoDaddy dashboard. Click on “Domains.” Click “Launch” next to the domain you want to transfer. There will be a list. The third thing on the list is “Nameservers.” Click “Manage.” Click on “Custom,” then “Edit Nameservers.”  The nameservers should be  NS1.HOSTPAPA.COM and NS2.HOSTPAPA.COM.
    Go into your Hostpapa cPanel (http://cpanel.domain.com) Scroll down to the Domain section. Click on Add-on Domains. Type in your domain URL, type in a password, and click next. This tutorial may help.
  • GoDaddy + iPage: Use this tutorial to transfer a GoDaddy domain to iPage.

4. Install WordPress

Say what you will about WordPress, but it’s still one of the best DIY solutions out there. It’s extremely robust, incredibly versatile, and if you can use Microsoft Word you can use WordPress – it’s that easy.

  • iPage: I can’t describe installing WordPress through iPage more clearly than they do in this tutorial.
  • Hostpapa: Hostpapa installs WordPress through Softaculous, an app management platform that comes pre-installed on all Hostpapa accounts. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says “Softaculous,” click on it, select WordPress from the front page, select the domain you want to install it on, and hit install. It’s that simple.
  • You may experience some delay in being able to reach your site if you have recently added it on.

5. Buy a theme

  • Go to ThemePure – they have thousands of WordPress themes on that.
  • Buy a theme – they’re usually only $30 or so.
  • It will download as a Zip file. Unzip it.
  • Locate the theme Zip file inside the file you just unzipped- it will usually have the theme’s name.
  • Locate the theme documents, usually under documents. It will teach you step by step how to customise the theme.

6. Login and customise

  • Go to http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin
  • Use the username and password that you created in step 4 to log in.
  • In the left hand sidebar, go to Appearance > Themes
  • Click “Add New”
  • Click “Upload Theme”
  • Find the ZIP file inside the unzipped file. Select it, and hit upload, then install.
  • It will usually take about 30 seconds, then give you a confirm message.

7. Add content and pages

The theme’s documents folder will usually contain step-by-step instructions on how to add posts, pages, and customise that specific theme.

What we use

Hostpapa: We use one Hostpapa account for about 9 websites. We have no speed or loading problems at all.

GoDaddy: We use GoDaddy for our domains, although we have used CrazyDomains in the past.

Cloudflare: Cloudflare is a CDN (content delivery network) that essentially speeds up your site by delivering the content on it from a server as close to the browser as possible. It also stops your site becoming overloaded – we can take about 5,000 impressions on 4 of our 9 sites a day without having any problems at all.

If you have any problems at all, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out. If you’d like us to design and create a website for you, go check out our Digital Packages on the NZE Services site. 

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