Podcast Episode

259 – Build a WordPress Website for Less Than $100


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Really Simple CSV Importer is an alternative CSV Importer plugin. Simple and powerful, best for geeks.

Build a WordPress Website for Less Than $100


  1. Hosting (I recommend A2 Hosting)
  2. Free WordPress theme from WordPress Repository
  3. Free Plugin: BackWPup
  4. Free Plugin: Jetpack
  5. Free Plugin: iThemes Security


  1. WordPress.com Premium
    • domain name and privacy protection
    • custom design upgrade
    • removes ads
    • provides additional storage space
  2. Free WordPress theme

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about how to build a Word Press website for less than $100.00 right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast Episode 259. Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin, and today, we will be talking about how to build a Word Press website for less than $100.00. And we’re actually going to talk about how we can do it on self-host Word Press and how we can do it on Word Press.com. Before we get to that, let’s go ahead and dive into some of the announcements that are happening.

Word Press 4.4 Beta 4 came out last week. That was out last Thursday. And then sometime this week, the release candidate comes out. What that means is the final-ish versions of Word Press 4.4 are getting finished. They’re fixing bugs. They’re adding the features. Mostly, when it gets to release candidate, then all of the new features have been added. And then they’re just looking at fixing all the bugs. And then we are looking at a ship date in early December. And so I’m not sure if they’re going to try to coincide that with Word Camp US, which is happening the weekend of December 4, 5, and 6.

But that’s kind of what’s going on in the Word Press news. It’s been kind of slow. It’s mainly because they’re just figuring out and getting all of these things ready and done so then we can push out that new version of software, Version Word Press 4.4. And this will be the third major release for calendar year 2015. Also, if you are interested, there are some tickets still available, I believe, for the Word Camp US. It is the first national Word Camp, if you will, that’s not being held in San Francisco. Typically, every year, in the past few years, Word Camp San Francisco has been the big Mecca of Word Camps where everybody of who is who goes.

And it’s not like it’s more expensive or anything like that. It’s just like a lot of people like to go to Word Camp San Francisco. Now, it’s called Word Camp US. And the thought process is it’s going to move around the country so people on the east coast aren’t always flying to the west coast every single year for this major Word Camp. It’s being held in Philadelphia. So if you live in or around that area, and you think you’ve got some time that weekend, I highly recommend checking that out. You can also get a virtual pass. Or you can watch and stream the content right online.

And they also have the ability so there’s a streaming pass, and you can also buy one of the t-shirts with the streaming pass. And I’ll have a link in the show notes for how to easily register for that if you’re interested. Again, very inexpensive to start. I think even the streaming, if you want the all day streaming, it’s like $10.00. And it might be $20.00 for a t-shirt and the streaming. So if you’re interested, go ahead and check that out. Let’s see, what else? That’s about all I found in the news. Again, there’s kind of been a slow news week.

And I think, too, with the holidays coming up here in the United States, we’ve got Thanksgiving next week and Christmas just a few weeks away that there’s just not a lot happening in this Word Press ecosphere this week. I do have a plug-in that I want to share with you today. It is called really simple CSV importer. And so it’s kind of a neat tool. If you are trying to manually create, or you have a lot of blog posts, maybe you have all of your ideas written down in Excel file or a CSV file, this can automatically import them into posts or pages on your website, mostly, into posts. And basically, what you can do is you can have different columns.

So you can have a post author column and a post date column, and a content and excerpt. So you could, essentially, write all of your content and keep it houses in this big Google doc or some sort of Excel file. And from there, then you can import that with using this plug-in. And once it’s imported, then it will automatically create and generate those posts for you. It gives you the ability to quickly set up lots and lots of different posts. Maybe you have a template that you want to always have on a post. You can create a list of maybe 10 posts, put the dates there, add them all to this Excel file, then import it.

And then now, we’ve got it all set. We’ve got the preview date or the publish date can be set out in the future. You can have the template, and then you can go in and just fill out the template. It’s kind of a really neat idea. And if you have a need for anything like this, it’s called Really Simple CSV Importer. And it’s in the show notes for Episode 259. So today, we are going to dive in and tackle just a little bit of what it would take to build a website for less than $100.00. And this is not that I condone 100 percent of every website should be less than $100.00. No, that’s not the case.

But there are a lot of times when there’s need for a simple, quick, fast website that maybe somebody doesn’t want to spend a lot of money for. Maybe they’re just starting their business. Maybe they’re running a nonprofit. Maybe they are running a local event that they only need the website for like three or four weeks. And so I just wanted to highlight some different ways. There are two different ways we’re going to talk about on how we can build these websites very quickly and inexpensively and be just as good of a website as someone that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maybe not that much functionality in a website.

These are very basic websites that we’re going to be talking about today. So if you have something that’s very simple, maybe it’s just a brochure about an upcoming media event, maybe it’s just your very beginning, starting business website or whatever that looks like, you can get started for less than $100.00. So let’s go ahead, and we’re going to tackle it both Word Press.org self hosted route, and we’re going to do the Word Press.com route just because there are two different ways, and you can still do both of them by spending less than $100.00. So I thought I would just do both of them while we’re here.

The first one we’re going to tackle is the Word Press.org, the self hosted variety. This is what most of you are using right now. And the cool part is, if you already have a self hosted site, then the first step, and the one that costs the most amount of money, you can kind of forget about because you can continue to use your hosting package. The very first one is the web host. So if somebody is getting started, they need a web host to run their website to put it online. Now, I know that in the past, I’ve used my shared hosting account to put a nonprofit site on there because they didn’t need a website the whole year.

They just needed it for a small, little time. I was like that’s no problem. We’ll just put it on my shared hosting because it doesn’t cost anymore once you already have shared hosting. If you don’t have shared hosting, you can go to a number of different sites. There are tons of different sites out there that offer shared hosting at an inexpensive cost. There’s Blue Host and Dream Host and Host Gator and all kinds of different things. The one that I recommend, and the one that I have for my shared hosting environment, is called A2 Hosting. And you can find out more at Your Website Engineer.com/A2.

But I went through and did a trial of how much it would cost to sign up right now. They’re actually running a special right now with a coupon code of Quick 51. And that gives you a 51 percent discount off the normal hosting price. And so you can actually get the medium package, which is normally $10.00 a month, you can get it for $4.90 a month. And when you go through the whole check out process, you actually get it for $67.00. So you can get your complete website for $67.00. You can have that hosted for an entire year for just that little amount of money. So that would be the first thing we would want to do.

We want to go ahead and just set up hosting. If we already have our host set, you can just go ahead and add a sub domain or an add on domain to your currently hosting plan and your package. And then from there, you have the ability to just add as many Word Press sites as you want. So that’s going to be the most expensive piece of the running a website on self hosted Word Press. The next one, if you’re really strapped for cash, you can head on to the Word Press repository. You can use a free theme that’s over there. They’ve got tons and tons and tons of free themes. And you can just go ahead and get started.

Now, at $67.00, you don’t quite have enough in your budget to buy a $35.00 premium theme. But there could be some premium themes that are out there that are at the $25.00 range or something along those lines. I’m trying to see here the themes on the Word Press repository. It looks like there are over 2,000 popular themes. I’m just trying to see if I can see all of them, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case. There are a handful. There are 15 featured ones. And some of those look really, really nice. There’s one I’m looking at right now that’s called Stairway that looks exactly like some of the other themes that I’ve seen that, actually, you have to pay a lot of money for.

And so that’s really cool that I think the themes are getting a lot better on the Word Press repository. So never forget about that when you’re looking for a new theme for your website. Head on over to Word Press.org, and then click the button for themes. And you can find all of the themes that are there. So once we have our website setup, and we’ve got our theme there, and we’re starting to configure it, we are going to need a few plug-ins. And there are a couple that I recommend. And all three of these are absolutely free as well. So the first one we want to do is we want to have Back WP Up. That is a plug-in that’s going to back up your site.
It’s going to do it regularly. It will make sure that you don’t lose any content. Your database is safe. Your files on your server are safe. And you can set that up. It’s a free plug-in in the Word Press repository. You can just search for that in your plug-ins area, and you can go ahead and just install it, configure it, and set it up. Again, no cost there. The next free plug-in is called Jet Pack. You’ve heard me talk about Jet Pack a lot in the past. You’re going to hear me talk about it a lot in the future because there are some really cool things that Jet Pack can do.

And Jet Pack is going to give you some extra power to your website that will help your web hosting company not have to work as hard to serve your website pages. What I mean by that is Jet Pack gives the ability to leverage the power of Word Press.com servers to serve images to your website. It gives the ability to run stats. You can do all kinds of things. It helps out just so much by just turning on Jet Pack. In order to use Jet Pack, you need a Word Press.com user name and password. But you can go ahead and get that set up for free. There’s no cost to do that. And then you can have Jet Pack up and running on your website as well.

And then the last plug-in that I highly, highly recommend is called I Themed Security. And this is a plug-in that is a free one in the Word Press repository. There is a paid edition if you wanted to go pro, and you wanted to upgrade that. I’m not sure how much that costs per year. That may tweak you over the $100.00 budget that you have set for this website. But, essentially, you just need the free version. And the free version goes through the checklist. About 25 to 30 items that you go through and say this is configured correctly. This is configured correctly.

It’s just making it harder for somebody to hack into your website and get in there and mess around and change stuff around that you don’t need and you don’t want. So that’s another free plug-in that you would absolutely need if you’re running a self hosted site. With all five of those things, if you’ve got those up and running, you can pretty much build whatever type of website that you really need for that easy brochure, whether it be a company website or whatever it is. As long as you don’t need a lot of heavy-duty functionality to integrate with a membership site and payments and all that kind of stuff.

That’s going to be the easiest way to get set up, up and running like you can just do that. In a few hours, you can have a website up and running with a domain name. I guess I forgot, most hosting packages will come with a domain name if you’re signing up for a brand new account. If you are piggybacking on top of your already self hosted site that you have somewhere else, you’re using that hosting plan, you will need to buy a domain for your website because every website needs a domain. So those normally cost anywhere between $5.00 and $15.00 depending on the company that you buy them from.

And so you want to go ahead and pick one of those up, too. So all in all, you’re out $75.00, $80.00, $100.00. It’s not going to be a whole lot to get up and running. I do say, when we do pick that free theme from the Word Press repository, try to find that theme that is as close to what you’re looking for for your website. You can actually pick any theme that you want, and then you can highly customize it later, if you really wanted to, and you could turn any theme to look into anything that you want. But it’s going to be much more efficient. It’s going to be much quicker.

And it will cost less if you have to pay somebody to make modifications if the site already kind of looks like what you want the end result to look like. So that’s how I would set up a Word Press.org, a self hosted Word Press site for less than $100.00. Now, if I wanted to go the Word Press.com route, and the cool part about Word Press.com, you can get set up with Word Press.com. You can get it up and running. And then if you don’t have all of the functionality, all of the features, all the stuff that you’re really looking for on your website, then you can always convert that over to self hosted Word Press site.

So that’s not super hard to do, and that’s not the point of this podcast episode. But that is something that I just wanted to kind of highlight there. So if you wanted to spend less time getting things set up because there are only really two steps to set up a Word Press.com site, and the first one is you go and you sign up for a new site. And during the part of the check out process, you can upgrade your site to what’s called Word Press.com premium. And this is going to cost $99.00, which is right underneath the $100.00 budget line. But what that does is it gives you the ability to add a domain name for free.

So you can add a domain name and have privacy protection. So that actually gives the ability so that people can’t see who owns the domain name, keeps your information more safe and secure, and makes sure that people don’t know what your address is, your phone number, and things along those lines. And the Word Press.com premium also gives you a custom design upgrade. What this means is you can use custom fonts that are built into Word Press.com. So I say custom fonts, but there are dozens and dozens and dozens of premium fonts that are built in that you get with the custom design upgrade.

It also gives you the ability to add as much custom CSS as you’d like or cascading style sheets. So anything that can be changed via CSS, you can do that with Word Press.com. The limitation on Word Press.com themes and whatnot means that you cannot actually change how the theme behaves. You can’t change the structure of the code of the theme. But you can modify anything by using CSS, which is really cool. Word Press.com premium also allows you to remove ads from your website, so you won’t be serving any ads. You won’t be showing advertisements for anything else. That’s included.

It also unlocks the video portion, so you can upload videos to your website. We have a really cool player called Video Press that will allow you to play your videos right on your website. You can upload them right to your media library. That’s pretty cool. You also get additional storage space. It gives you an additional 10 gigabytes worth of space to upload media, whether that be podcast episodes or uploading video or uploading documents or images, all that kind of stuff. It gives you an extra 10 gigabytes to do that. So those are some of the features. There are more features that are built into Word Press.com.

But those are the ones that I kind of thought of that would be very good. I mean, if you didn’t want to go the premium route, you could just pay for the domain upgrade. The domain name is going to cost anywhere between $18.00 and $26.00, and then you’re really under budget if you want that. But the Word Press.com premium just kind of gives you all of the things that you don’t need to buy upgrades for. Now, saying that, then you have to pick one of the free themes within Word Press.com because you’ve already used up your $100.00 budget for Word Press.com premium.

But if you wanted to go the other route by buying the domain name, and then you could buy about a $75.00 premium theme that’s built within Word Press.com. The cool part about buying the Word Press.com premium is that you have the ability to have one on one chat support with happiness engineers like myself that will be able to help you troubleshoot and figure out how to customize and how to set up your Word Press website. And so you don’t necessarily have Word Press experts when you’re using the self hosted route if you’re going with shared hosting. There’s not usually dedicated Word Press support people there.

They have the ability to help you with your Word Press questions. But with Word Press.com, you’ve got a team of people who their only job is to help answer questions and help you figure out and customize your Word Press.com site. And so like I did say, you can start with Word Press.com. You can get everything set up. And then most of the time, if you’re using a free Word Press.com theme, that theme is also available for the self-hosted routes. If you go into the Word Press repository under themes, you’ll find that same theme there.

And if you’ve got the same theme on Word Press.com, and you’ve got the same thing on self hosted Word Press, it’s very, very simple to go and move it from one place to another. So it’s never a problem that if you start on one, you can’t go to the other. And even if you go the same way, if you started on Word Press.org, and you feel that it’s kind of a pain to manage all the plug-ins, the themes, and stuff like that, you can always go to Word Press.com. My favorite part about using Word Press.com is for those websites that you don’t update very often. Like my wife and I have a travel blog, and we only update when we’re traveling or once we get home from traveling or whatever.

And I would always forget to go in and update plug-ins and update the themes and make sure everything is good to go, update Word Press. It just kind of slips my mind because it’s another website that’s out there. But I don’t really manage it very often. We go four or five times a year, we post things there. And that’s about it. And so what’s really nice about Word Press.com, even though you get it all set up, and then you can kind of forget about it. You don’t have to worry about plug-ins going out of date because there are no plug-ins. You don’t have to worry about security because Word Press.com takes care of all the security things for you.

And so that’s another thing to think about when you’re thinking on how we’re going to build this website or who is going to manage it or things along those lines. If you’re setting up for a nonprofit that’s going to use it for four weeks out of the year, it may be best to use Word Press.com just to have it there, use it, and then you kind of can forget about it for the next entire year. So that’s something to think about as well. So those are two different ways that you can go and build a Word Press website for less than $100.00. And you can do it self hosted. You can do it with Word Press.com.

You can, obviously, pay a lot more, if you want to if you want to upgrade your hosting plans and all that kind of stuff. I do recommend, if you’re just getting started, to start with that shared hosting plan. It’s going to cost $67.00 or whatever that is per year. And pay for that year up front. If you do have to upgrade, you know, they normally do prorate you at your hosting company. Or if you want to switch to another hosting company all together, you may have to eat a little bit of that cost. But, again, it’s so inexpensive.

You’re talking a few dollars per month that if you go from $5.00 per month to $10.00 per month, we upgrade to the next higher package, we’re going to get that much more performance. Again, small sites don’t get a lot of traffic right up front. And you don’t have to worry about paying for my website is going to have 100,000 views some day. You don’t have to pay for that right now, unless you just want to give the hosting companies lots of money. There’s no need to absolutely do that. So that’s what I wanted to share today. That’s all the thoughts that I had about creating a Word Press website for less than $100.00.

All right. That is going to wrap up this episode. Thanks so much for tuning in. And I’ve got some exciting things, hopefully, in the works for a couple of weeks from now will be the five year anniversary of your website engineer podcast. I’m going to see what I can do to make an awesome show that comes out in the beginning of December. And so stay tuned for that. That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Take care, and we’ll talk to you next week. Bye.

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