How to Build a Website for Free

Done by Dinner Time!

Want to know how you can build a website for free and in no time at all? Well, if you concentrate you can be done by dinner time! Most people can do this method in about 90 mins to 2 hours. You can follow the steps here, or signup for our free QuickStart Guide and be brought through each stage with our easy to follow video tutorials. It's quite a visual thing and most people find it easier to understand the steps and detail on the videos. But it's up to you. Right, let's get going. Before we get further into the meat of how to create a website, it should be made clear that regardless if you do it all yourself or you pay someone else to do everything for you, there's no getting away from it. You're going to have to pay a small amount of money for your domain name and your hosting. (There are a few free options, but you don't own your content, you're extremely limited and the delivery is highly unreliable so it's worse than a waste of time). That said, your entire website will be built using WordPress.org system which is open source, extremely powerful and free. It's just the address and where it lives that has a small cost.

Right, you need several key things to build a website. Firstly you need a domain, that's like your address on the web, for example www.amazon.com is Amazon's domain, or www.SelfAssemblySites.com is our own location on the web. You can register your domain at a domain registrar such as the one we always use, www.namecheap.com. Check that the domain you want is free, and then click to buy. If you have trouble with this we have some blog posts and videos to help you. It should cost about $10 for a year, then it's your property until you decide not to renew it. Now you need a place for your website to live and be hosted.

For hosting services we recommend BlueHost or Westhost, both are very reasonable at between $5 and $8 per month and have great support services should you need a hand with anything. We've used them both and have been very happy with them. It's a field where there are a lot of options, some good, some bad so getting someone you trust is key. Next you'll want to connect your domain to your hosting account. Go to your domain registrar and 'change nameservers', you'll get the details on how to do that from your hosting company, or simply look at our QuickStart Video Course. Alternatively, and we don't recommend this, but you can get your hosting and domain from the same vendor like Bluehost. We usually don't encourage this as it's putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. But you can if you wish and you should be fine.

Once your domain name appears in your hosting account you can really get going! You can either use an FTP client like FileZilla to upload WordPress CMS (Content Management System) which you download from WordPress.org.  Or you can go the simpler route and do a One Click Install of WordPress. The one click install downside is that it often installs a load of plugins you don't want or need, and the FTP method gives you a real insight into how your website really works. You can search for this option on your hosting account, or if you prefer, have us show on on video here.

Why WordPress? Well WordPress.org CMS is the most popular in the world, with more users than all the other CMS put together. While there are fine systems like Drupal and Joomla, WordPress is so successful and popular because of it's intuitive design making it the most accessible for people new to building and managing their own websites. Yet it's still very powerful.

The Power of WordPress

In addition to all of that, because it has more users, it has more developers creating more themes and plugins than any other system too. Themes are like custom designed templates which are separate to your content such as text and images. So you can change your theme which changes the look, design and layout of your site leaving your content unaffected.  Plugins are to WordPress sites what apps are to your phone, they vastly increase the functionality options. So if you want a shopping cart or a photo gallery, a music player or a booking calendar there's a multitude of plugins for that, and almost anything else you can think of.

In setting up your domain, hosting and installing WordPress you've essentially built the foundations and structure of a house, but you've yet to finish it and furnish it with great content which will make people want to visit. We can help you with every stage of that at www.SelfAssemblySites.com with both our step by step training videos, our Expert Answers videos and of course our Community Forum, where people building websites just like you can give each other advice, ask questions and get some support.

Our QuickStart Guide is free and it's a great way to get started right now!

About Alistair McBride

Al is the non-techie of the SelfAssemblySites' founding duo. His first businesses were in cultural tours, then later art dealing and consulting. He was SelfAssemblySites' first user and believes if he can do it, anyone can.

He has a wide and diverse range of interests and passions, core of which are usually art, psychology and innovation, and works on both profit and non-profit projects.

Alistair truly believes that a website can be a catalyst to making any idea reality in the 21st Century. You can create all sorts of non-profit and for profit projects take-off with a good website as your launch pad.

Follow him on Twitter at @WebsiteCoaching.

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