Being able to build a WordPress site for less than £50 might sound ambitious, yet it’s entirely achievable. Thanks to the open-source nature of the world’s leading website building tool, small businesses and hobbyists alike can design and launch a website for the cost of a trip to the cinema. The bolt-on nature of the 56,000 plugins currently available allows people to assemble websites containing everything they need, without having to pay for superfluous functionalities. Indeed, the biggest cost incurred is likely to involve hosting the site, though even this won’t break the bank.
In this article, we consider how to construct a standard WordPress website for under £50. We’re assuming that the site doesn’t need ecommerce functionality; if it does, plugins like WooCommerce and Ecwid are highly recommended. However, extra costs may be incurred, given the complex programming required for payment portals and database hosting.
Buy UK2’s WordPress Starter Hosting package. Cost: £23.95
We’re big fans of WordPress here at UK2, and we’ve created three dedicated hosting packages for sites designed using the world’s most popular content management system (or CMS). For just £2 per month, we provide a domain name and 5GB of storage on our high-power network servers. These are designed to repel the malware targeting WP websites, while we also include five IMAP email accounts with 10GB of storage. Our Starter Hosting package incorporates a number of templates, which are available to select from your control panel after purchase. And if your requirements increase over time, you can upgrade to our Primary and Pro packages for extra storage and additional features.
Design your website yourself. Cost: Free
Designing and populating a WordPress site is free, but it does require a considerable time investment. The first challenge is selecting which template to customise from a bewildering variety of options. While beginners quickly master the drag-and-drop site builder interface, repositioning text blocks, images and on-page functionality, it’s tempting to endlessly fettle and hone a template in pursuit of perfection. It might be tough to declare a project finished, but it’s generally safe to stop once the site displays effectively on a variety of devices – which brings us onto our next point…
Test your creation. Cost: Free
Beta test a customised template on as many web browsers as possible before publishing it. WP sites are mobile-optimised by default, but the same web page might look very different on a Kindle or a Chromebook. Interactive elements are particularly prone to fluctuations, and fonts are a common source of aggravation. A stylish serif font that looks great on a PC could end up bleeding over graphics when viewed on a Galaxy Note, resulting in text that’s hard to read. Practicality always has to come ahead of style, ensuring end users are able to navigate around a site and understand what’s going on.
Add extra security. Cost: Free (for basic software)
Many leading WP security plugins come in what’s known as freemium versions. In other words, advanced functionalities have to be purchased, even though the basic platform is free. Fortunately, a single website for a hobbyist or sole trader shouldn’t need more than the protection offered by the basic installation of Akismet or Jetpack. The latter is an all-round WP tool instead of a pure antivirus utility, though it does protect against brute force attacks and downtime. More focused alternatives include Wordfence, Sucuri and the unambiguously titled All In One WP Security & Firewall.
Invest in online advertising. Cost: £25 (suggested)
A shiny new website will receive absolutely no traffic once it goes live. Search engines will take a while to find it, and even when they do an unknown site will score poorly for metrics such as age and (ironically) traffic volumes. Breaking the vicious circle of low traffic levels resulting in poor SEO results is best achieved through strategic advertising, targeting specific keywords and phrases. A (free) platform like Google Analytics is helpful here, identifying what customers search for and also where competitors perform well – or badly. It’s possible to spend endless amounts of money on monthly advertising, but it’s better to set a small initial budget and gradually increase it where necessary.
And there you have it – an optimised, secure and dynamic website for under £50, with a start towards establishing a strong SEO presence. No doubt your requirements will evolve over time, perhaps requiring free plugins to be upgraded to paid versions. Maybe you’ll want a second domain name – the .uk counterpart to a co.uk address before the latter goes on open sale next June – with a 301 redirect directing audiences to the relevant home page. In the first instance, however, it really is possible to construct a fully-functioning WordPress site for less than £50. You’d have to say that’s something of a bargain.