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The reason why you would read this article is that you are looking to create a website. But the problem is you don’t have much budgeted for a new site. This means you are looking for a way to build a website at a cheap/low cost.

Well… look no further

In this article, you will be given everything necessary to know about the several options for building a website.  Along the line, you will be informed of the cost for every option you are to choose from.

In the end, I will conclude in this order, the best and then the cheapest. Because you may choose the cheapest and not get the best you need.

To find the cheapest way, it is best to know all the options. This way, you will be aware of other option you might choose regardless of the cost.

Options to Create a Website

Creating a website has many ways, but which is the best for your purpose and your money? The website you might be looking to create may only be for the sake of sharing information, like a blog. This type of websites has a way for its creation. Both website builders and CMS are best for such a job.

From this, you can derive that the method of building a website is determined by its purpose. Form the purpose/goal you should plan and determine the features and functions you will need because it will make things a lot easier. Especially when choosing the best suited and cheapest way to go about creating the website.

Before the simplification of building a website, coding was required. The reason is that the only way to build a website was through coding from programming languages. But nowadays anyone can build a website, the cheapest way sometimes cost nothing but nothing good comes cheap.

These simplified ways are better explained by experts such as Susan Daniero and Marty Vernon. They are all under the field of web design and development. They all have insights on the best way to build a website along with their recommendations. What was learned from all the knowledge they shared are the best solutions to creating a website. They are as follows:

  • CSS and HTML
  • Website builder
  • CMS

Before we discuss these solutions to create a website, let’s move into what you are going to be informed on steps to take before building a website.

Value of Your Website

This should be your first goal when building a site. You have to determine what you expect your site to achieve. So that in the end, like your website and business meets its goal or achieves its purpose, you get the most value from them.

Defining the goals and use of your website is the bottom-line. It is a big factor in assisting you to map out the functionality of the site and determine the best option for building the site.

Determine the Purpose

What is the purpose of your site? Knowing this will help a lot in determining the elements and functions your website will need. What is the purpose of your website? Maybe a basic question, but it does not really have a basic answer.

What are you really going to get out of the site? Is to get sales for your business? Or is it to share information about something (like your business)? You must at least have a yes to any of these two questions. They are the usual reason why websites are built on a daily.

Your Website’s Requirements

As you are done deciding on the purpose of your website, the next step to take is to consider the elements and functions needed to build the website. The purpose of the website influences the components required to build a website. Please note that some of the requirement could be complex or might need customization.

Requirements to Consider:

Users

By users of the site it is not just the website’s target audience, but also the operators of your site (like staffs in a company). These operators of your website are determined by you the owner of the site. You can hand over a certain type of freedom into an operator in your site.

For instance, some operators require easy access to a system which enables them to add and update contents. You will have to design a system which determines and provide access to all your operators/distinctive users. So that they meet their needs, in order to serve your website well.

What will our users need to do in order to gain access?

In order to gain access, they must interact with the website. If it is just a simple visitor, they can just search the website’s address and enter. From there they have access to all information, products or services on the site that does not require creating a profile. If they are required to create a profile in order to access certain things on the site, they can. This will allow them access to more information.

In the case of the operators that work with you, they are to log in with their assigned profiles. With these profiles, you give them more accessible on the site than the normal visitor. It could be for the purpose of enabling them to write or manage content.

Functionality

This element also depends on the purpose of a website. For instance, if the site is information based, its functionality is quite simple. Since all that is required is to display information which is useful to the visitors.

What is the main function you require your site to have?

It is determined by the purpose of your website.

Can you add up other functions?

Yes, you can add up several extra functions to your website. The more you add the more they become more complex.  It best for all the functions to be able to relate to each other.

I recommend adding up functions to your site because of the benefits. For one, your site will have more traffic. Also, with several functions on your website, you can end up focusing full-time on the one function that makes the site highly successful.

For instance, “slack” was a game development company called tiny speck. It turned in to a unique messaging tech company to its communication function. It changed the whole aim of the company. This can also happen to your website.

Integrations

This component involves the outside systems and software that need to be integrated into the website. As you build a site you need to consider which integration they will need. The kind of integrations I’m talking about include analytics, mailing list, marketing tools etc.

In case of selling a product or displaying information, for more description of the content they would need videos and audios.

Content

The volume and type of content you will use on the site can influence how the site will be built. For easy regular update and adding content to the website, there must be a content management system (CMS). With this system, you can manage different types of content on your website.

Design

This part involves the customization of images, content, and designs to represent the brand of the website or company. The aim of this component is to design a successful and complex online marketing presence for your website.

This comes in handy if you wish to make your website unique in look so that you can beat all other competitors. You may have almost the same content, but the design of the website’s interface will differentiate you from the rest.

Scalability

In terms of scalability, while building your website you have to think of the future. What if your business grows, but your website is limited? What if you get more traffic than what is assigned to the web hosting plan? Is your website’s content transferable? Are you allowed to change your server or platform?

A yes to all these questions means you have a lot of freedom and it is the best model of a website to create. The fact that you are allowed all these changes makes it easier for the website to grow with your business.

Security

This is an important requirement. No website is complete without its security. Especially if it contains sensitive information. There is some measure to be taking in order to prevent hacks and violations on the website.

The level of security depends on the way you built your website. If you hire a developer or web company they could provide top security for websites at a particular hosting plan. Or if you and your team created the site, your security measures are unlimited, unlike some developer companies.

Maintenance

When considering this requirement, there are questions about the site that comes to mind. Such as, how will your website be hosted? Who is responsible for your site’s maintenance in terms of security and updates?

Some of the methods for creating a website have their own way of maintaining your website in terms of hosting, security and updates. The level of commitment to maintenance varies. As the security of a website gets more complicated, the more maintenance commitment is required.

Cost

For every method for building your site the prices varies. The prices are determined by the complexities of the other requirements above. As there are more custom or complex requirement the cost of the website is bound to increase.

If you’ve budgeted low for building a website it would be best to use a simple website builder (like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly). Also, if the website happens to be more complex the web design and developer company is the best to build such website. Although, the cost is usually higher than that of the DIY solution.  The price for such a service is determined by how the site will be built, the timing of the project and the experience of the company.

It is best to choose the right solution for your budget or else there will be problems with the website. For instance, if the chosen solution is not sufficient enough to build your website’s functions it is sure to fail. But in the case of the budget is too low for the chosen solution, you are bound to not get the satisfactory result you’ve always wanted.

Options to Create a Website

Now that you are aware of the requirement needed to choose the best way to create a website, the next step to take is choosing your method. There are a lot of ways to create a website but they have been narrowed down to these three categories:

  • Plain HTML and CSS – this involved building a site through coding.
  • DIY website builder – in here you find platforms which make building a site quite easy.
  • CMS

1. CSS & HTML

This is the first and can still be the best way to build a website. Especially if you have the skill. They serve as the building block to web design. Both HTML and CSS have been used to create websites in the past before the introduction of website builders and CMS to web designing.

What is HTML?

The full meaning is Hypertext Markup Language. It is a system that is used for tagging text files in order to achieve effects like fonts, colors, graphics, and hyperlinks on the web page.

Developers make use this language to create the basic framework of all website no matter the technology they are coded in. As the framework is done, several elements are then added to it. From there it forms a responsive, interactive and contemporary website.

Html is even responsible for the beatification of websites. It makes them much more expressive. With HTML you can insert elements like objects, images, Embeddable media files and documents. When using HTML it is quite easy, not much complication of you know what you are doing.

Important features of HTML

  • It is easy to learn and understand
  • It is free
  • All browsers support it
  • It is scalable and flexible
  • It enables web pages to load faster
  • It helps to improve interaction between web pages
  • It is search engine friendly
  • Has similar syntax with XML

The markup language has been in existence for over two decades now. From the year 2014, a newer version of the markup langue is HTML5. It is the 5 revision of HTML. It possesses newer features which have made it the best option to work well with CSS.

With HTML 5 appreciated for its contemporary, modern and easy to use features. These features enable users to create web pages with ease and allow their pages to be more content rich. It also helps to improve their (web pages) adaptability.

HTML 5 is the future as mobile devices embrace the markup language. All browser support the HTML 5. It is the best mark up langue to use if you wish to reach more customers. Just like the basic HTML, the fifth revised version also possesses its own.

Features of HTML 5

  • Most interaction animation done on platforms like flash can also be done in HTML 5
  • HTML 5 removes the common object tags and replace them with audio, video, canvas and integrations of SVG (scalable vector graphic)
  • There are new web pages structures such as the footer, header, main, section and so on)
  • APIs and DOM (document object model) can be integrated fully with HTML 5

What is CSS?

The full meaning of CSS is cascading style sheet. This is a language used to design web pages. It allows you to suggest how your website’s document will be styled. CSS is supported by all browsers irrespective of the operating system or the device itself.

It enables the division between the current structure and the way the structure is to look like. This language is best for implementing and front-end web design.

Important features about CSS

  • It is consistent in good performance
  • It improves the compatibility of browsers
  • CSS is easier to maintain
  • CSS is also search engine friendly

Advantages of CSS and HTML 5

Making use of both CSS and HTML 5 provides you with the ability to deploy and develop web applications and web content. It could be to creating great web pages and systems that work in devices, web browsers, and operating system.

Here are advantages of HTML5 and CSS3:

  • Good page ranking
  • Cost effective multi-platform development
  • Consistent across many browsers
  • Offline browsing
  • Extension of videos of a wide range of platforms
  • Great user experience
  • It supports geolocation

2. DIY Website Builders

This involves the use of a website builder. It is an online software which enables it the user’s to build a website with the use of their themes and templates. There are any of this website builders online. Most of them are free while some are paid services, they offer users subscriptions.

– Wix Website Builder

This is a website builder that offers its services as a cloud-based platform. The interface and use of this website builder are very easy and intuitive.  This is true with the easy drag and drops feature.

  • Functionality: This website builder possesses over 500+ well-designed themes available for use. The kind of designs it offers is like information blogs, e-commerce shops and so on. Wix has a special feature, it is their artificial intelligence. It studies you and uses the information gathered to build a website that best suits you.
  • Maintenance: When it comes to hosting services WIX will keep watch over it. They will even offer all the technical requirements. But still, you will have to maintain your website with consistent and regular updates. The artificial intelligence also helps in this factor by learning to update your website.
  • Cost: It starts out free. Then for paid services, the price ranges from $14-$30 a month depending on your need. There is really no technical requirement. All that is needed to know how to drag and drop components the already designed theme.
  • Scalability: Wix only allows you to design one website for one subscription. If you wish to expand your site or internet presence you will have to pay more. They can’t offer you third party CMS support. It is not possible to work offline.

– Template Toaster

Template toaster this is another DIY website builder that is versatile, it works well with major CMS such as Joomla, Magneto, WordPress and so on.

  • Functionality: It has over 200+ themes to choose from. You can even customize your own theme by changing the codes. Or you could change the theme from scratch.
  • Maintenance: This website builder offers you all the technical requirements for creating a website. It also offers a large variety of plugins and tools to go with your website requirements such as your site’s theme.
  • Cost: In the standard edition that has a free trial. After that, the subscription charge is $49 and the professional edition subscription charge is $149.
  • Technical Requirement: All you are required to do is download the software and you are ready to work. The software is available for offline use, so it makes easier to build a website without worrying about loss of internet connection.
  • Scalability: The software is available for offline use. They allow the building of several websites with a one-time payment. This website builder is supported by any CMS. If you wish to change the mobile view of your website it is possible with Template Toaster.

– WordPress Theme Frameworks

WordPress happens to be the leading CMS that allows its users to build a website. With the help of almost their never-ending supply of themes to choose from. Nowadays WordPress comes with inbuilt codes and functions. They help solve the major issue of considering hiring someone for the coding part. Another great thing about WordPress CMS is the fact that it saves time.

There are two WordPress theme frameworks:

Genesis Framework

  • Functionality and maintenance: The websites with this framework are mobile responsive. The framework has some features that you can use. They include flexible templates and content applications.
  • Cost: The standard plan starts at a fee of $59.5.
  • Requirements: You are allowed to tune a theme according to your needs. There is no need for coding, so it saves you time and effort.
  • Scalability: This framework created for WordPress which happens to be the largest CMS platform available. Websites built with these frameworks can be transferred to another hosting server whenever it is required.

Ultimatum Framework

  • Functionality and maintenance: This framework allows you to build a theme to your taste for a WordPress website. Hosting of the site is possible just a few minutes after customizing your theme. The best part about this framework is the perks that come with it. Also, the security support and maintenance of one of the largest CMS comes with it.
  • Scalability: A website in use of this framework is scalable. For one, the platform allows the transfer of a website to another hosting server at any time. It is highly dynamic.
  • Cost: This framework starts at a price of $55.
  • Requirements: There is no need for coding, all the coding is inbuilt. The interface and functions are so easy, all that is required is a simple drag and drop on a black canvas.

3. CMS

In this option, we are going to focus on web design and development companies. Which specialize in building websites for CMS like WordPress. WordPress is an open source contentment management system.

There are benefits that come with hiring companies for building a website in open source CMS like WordPress. Along with that are limitations for hiring such companies.

Users

Users find their experience while building a website on an open source CMS very blissful. And it is due to ease of use. Users find the interface quite intuitive. Anyone with any technological background should be able to understand and use it.

You can customize your site to your own specification because of its flexibility. While it is being customized it will not affect the easy interface that allows you to edit and add content to your website.

Functionality

CMS allows you to build more complex and customized functions into the website. Even though there will be functions possessed by CMS through its open source community. So there is no need to build lots of custom functions. In the case of hiring a web design and development company, they will be able to provide your site with functions if needed.

The limitations on functionality are the possibility that the custom function may not be supported by the CMS. And this could cause your site to suffer enhanced manipulation.

Security

Hiring a company that is experts in coding and they understand how to build a website with security in mind along with their risks is a smart move.

Since your website is on an open source CMS it will need a lot of attention in order to ensure security. Because anything wrong thing can happen at any time and if care is not taken it could go out of hand.

To ensure your site gets a lot of attention it is advisable to have an internal team to run check-ins. Or you could just plan your security with the company you hired, they will offer their expertise and advises.

Very secure sites can be built on CMS, but there are some security measures are not ideal for an open source CMS platform to provide. Such as sites that need financial-level bank security. WordPress will not be able to provide such security.

Scalability

CMS is very scalable. Building a website on gives the CMS is very helpful and it is due to its flexibility. It allows the addition of customizations, functions, and features than any other way of building a site in this article.

Along with that, CMS allows the ability to hire several design and development companies to solve your site’s various problems. The hiring takes place within the open source community. Due to WordPress strong developer community, it is easy to find a web design and Development Company. They are sure to meet the needs of the website and the business in order to positively affect their growth in the long run.

Maintenance

This vital for security, sustainability, and functionality of a website. Created on an open source content management system. A website under CMS is not complete at the initial launch, so it should be updated and improved constantly to in order for it to work as it should.

The companies you are to hire would have maintenance plans laid out for you to review and choose. This will not be done once as situations with a site will continue to change. So in order to curb the changes, they will always offer more maintenance plans.

Cost

The cost of building a website on an open source CMS can be cheaper than build one from scratch. This is because the open source CMS makes easier with its modules and plugins so that not all elements are required to be built from scratch. Your time and effort are saved.

The cost of hiring a company varies according to the expertise of the company and the type of website that is being built. For instance, a company that specializes in sites that are of small size usually have a budget range of $3000 – $5000 minimum. In the case of building a large site, there are companies that offer a budget range of $15,000-$40,000 minimum.

Now that the options are available for you to choose, it should be easy to decide whichever way you wish to build your website.

What is the best and cheapest way to build a website?

The answer will be a hybrid of a CMS such as WordPress and web hosting service (BlueHost). During the building a site, there are some steps that are very crucial in building a site with a CMS and web hosting service. They are as follows:

  • Register a domain name
  • Buy a paid hosting plan

Register a Domain

This step is all about the address of your website. Users will use this to access your site directly from their browser. The reason why it is first on the list of major steps is that of the importance. If you mess up here it can affect both the present and the future of your business or website.

The only way to register a domain is with the use of a domain registrar. These registrars are companies that give and manages domain names for websites.

Domain registrars I recommend:

– GoDaddy

This is a trusted domain registrar due to its existence for a long time. They are appreciated for their services which is superb. GoDaddy is great domain registrar to make use of because of their features and perks.

New users of GoDaddy offer a free domain name once you start to use their service with them. People don’t tend to like the free domain name so they usually result in changing it. If you wish to change it, there is a cost of $14.99/year. There are some promos hosted by GoDaddy, it could reduce the cost down to the price of $0.99.

The company is not famous for its user’s interface but its customer service is perfect. Because the staff is expert in the field and they answer quick. GoDaddy can work with or match any other domain solution to meet your needs, especially if you require unique solutions.

– Namecheap

This domain registrar happens to be one of the best. It is in the same level of GoDaddy. It even beats GoDaddy when it comes to the quality of the user’s interface. Users find it intuitive and easy to use. The price of their domain names coupled with extra services like their DNS service and WHOIS protection comes at a price of $0.88 for new users.

If you are the type that needs tight security Namecheap is the company for you because they offer free SSL encryption. For support on specific issues, there are easy tutorial videos and a knowledgeable customer service.

Web Hosting Plan

To get the best and the cheapest web hosting plan I recommend using BlueHost for the shared web hosting plan. They have plans that are good for your money. Especially their shared web hosting plan which happens to be their cheapest plan.

– BlueHost

This is a web hosting provider that offers quality services at a reasonable price. They are currently hosting over 2 million sites worldwide. It is recommended for growing websites due to its comforting hosting plans.

They offer several features such as:

  • Free domain name – once you sign up for a web hosting plan, you get to have a register a domain name on BlueHost for free in you want it. If you wish to change it, depending on the plan you choose the price range is $10 – $15/year.
  • Unlimited websites, storage, email accounts, and domains.
  • It possesses a site builder that can be used by anyone with or without any technical skill in building a website. The site builder is WordPress and it is easily accessed after being installed by BlueHost one-click installer.
  • They have a very knowledgeable and responsive customer service that is available 24/7. Their customer service can be accessed through phone calls, email and live chats.
  • Your website contents and other data will be safe with BlueHost’s automated backups. If you have problems with your site or accounts like crashes and shutdown, you can always restore it immediately. The backups are done every month and every day.

Conclusion

What is the cheapest way to build a website? That is the main question in this article. The answers are; there are so many cheap ways, but not all them are the best. I narrowed down the ways into three. They include; plain CSS and HTML, DIY solution (use of website builders) and CMS. These ways are all great ways and they can be quite cheap.

Each of the platforms for each way is judged according to website requirements. This way you will have a better understanding of why they are the best and affordable. If the cost still does not favor you, I recommended a simple formula for getting the cheapest way possible to build a site. And that is the combination of a CMS (WordPress) and a shared hosting plan (preferably from BlueHost).

Written by Mark Bynum

Mark Bynum is tech writer and WordPress enthusiast from Atlanta. He loves playing with latest tech gadgets and testing various products and services. When he is AFK, you can find him hiking somewhere in the woods.

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