How to build a WordPress website on a shoestring budget

WordPress is a flexible Content Management System CMS that allows you to edit and maintain your site yourself, (as a layperson) without having to pay anyone else to maintain it for you.

Type of Platform: Choose WordPress.org. (not WordPress.com). This is because you will want to be able to install unlimited plugins to your heart’s content. You will not be able to do this on WordPress.com platform.

Type of Hosting: Firstly, to be able to have a WordPress.org type of platform, you must purchase a WordPress Hosting account. (I would strongly advise Managed  – Not Unmanaged).
Hosters that cater for WordPress is mandatory. Then you will be able to quickly auto-install the free, open-source base CMS. Then from within the wp-admin dashboard, you can then install a free theme. After that, you can start installing the free plugins for added features that you require, all from within the wp-admin dashboard.

One of the best WordPress Managed Hosting companies in my opinion, is Siteground.com as they are reasonably priced, have the latest site tools, and have one of the best 24/7 helpdesks in the world. You don’t need to know anything technical, they will help fix anything that crops up. You can purchase a domain name from them too, and helpdesk will set it up for your account.

Theme: Every WordPress needs a Theme to allow design, layout, and structure. You can select a free theme from WordPress.org, or if you like, select a premium theme from Themeforest.net.

Many free themes have left me very disappointed over the years, due to crucial functions missing from Free Versions; but I recently discovered Astra Theme and found them to be one of the best, the most generous with functions in their free version, and have lots of free template starter packs within the theme. They also have so much more in their Pro Version, if you don’t mind paying yearly renewals. This will help if you require more complex functionality.

Plugins: i.e.Content Builders: Select a Page Builder Plugin to be added to your theme, as it’s the crucial interface plugin required for the framework of your content. The FREE Builder I like the best is Elementor. It works perfectly with Astra. You can drag and drop text boxes and image boxes and buttons etc.
Both Astra and Elementor tools are free, and regularly updated and maintained by their authors therefore reliable. They both have Pro Versions, which for a yearly fee, offer superior features and functionality. If your website requirements are mainly for an information-only type of site, then you may not need to upgrade to premium. Thus you keep your build costs and ongoing costs down to the minimum.

Recommended for WordPress:

Step 1: Purchase Hosting account I suggest go with Siteground.com. Then install base CMS.

Step 2:  Choose a Theme – I choose Astra Free version

Step 3: Choose Plugins to protect and provide functions

  • Page Builder – Elementor Free version
  • Free SSL to force https such as Lets Encrypt or download a plugin called Simple SSL Loginizer to protect login
  • Site Optimiser such as Site Ground Optimiser for Performance management
  • Caching Plugin for speed if not using Sitegrounds Optimiser
  • Security plugin, such as Ithemes Security
  • Contact Form 7 for Forms
  • Form Spam Protection, such as Contact Form 7 for Captcha
  • Google Analytics plugin, such as Monster Insights
  • Yoast for on-page SEO
  • A Slider plugin such as Smart Slider, if there is not one packaged with the theme.

All of the above are free, and just need you and your time to install it.

Don’t forget to free list your finished, published site with Google Directory, (sign up with Google Search Console,) Google Analytics, and Google My Business.

If you would like a Front End Developer to install or build your site, then please contact me.

I can set it up for you then that spares you valuable time. Then all you need to do is do a one hour training to familiarise yourself with all the building tools on your site, so that you can take over and start adding your own images and content. (or for a fee, I can add all your content for you. Please call me for a quote.)