What’s the Most Affordable Way to Build a Website, Really?

So you need a website for your small business, side hustle, or passion project. But “website” spells dollar signs, right?

After all, you’ve heard horror stories about people dropping thousands just to get a site up and running.

Not so fast. Sure, building a fully-customized site with all the bells and whistles can get pricey. But creating a quality website on a budget is totally doable if you make smart choices.

In this article, we’ll break down the most budget-friendly options for creating a functional, professional-looking website without draining your bank account.

We’ll look at what to avoid, what to embrace, and some insider tips for saving even more money on your website build.

With the right approach, you can build an affordable site tailored to your needs that will help you establish a powerful online presence. Read on to learn how!

The Drawbacks of Free Website Builders

When you’re trying to build a site on a tight budget, “free” sounds pretty tempting. Services like Wix, Weebly, and WordPress.com offer free plans to create basic websites. Besides being free, these website builders are easy to use, allowing non-technical folks to whip up a simple site quickly.

So what’s the catch?

While free website builders can work fine for very basic brochure sites, they come with some big potential pitfalls you should keep in mind:

  • Ads on your site – Free site builder services need to make money somehow, so they’ll typically place ads on your site. This can drive visitors away and you usually can’t control the ad content.
  • Limited design options – Free plans give you access to basic templates and themes, but customization is limited. Want more options? Be prepared to pay.
  • No custom domain – Your free site may come with an unattractive domain containing the builder’s brand name.
  • Restricted features – As your needs grow, you may find functionality like ecommerce integrations missing from your free plan.
  • No portability – Free plans make it difficult to migrate your site elsewhere, forcing you to start over if you outgrow the service.
  • Poor SEO – Free builders may not optimize sites for search engine discoverability and rankings.
  • Minimal support – With free plans you’ll get little to no customer support if issues arise.

The bottom line is free website builders can box you in over the long run. As your business and site needs evolve, you’ll likely outgrow the capabilities of a free service quickly.

So what’s the alternative if you need to build a site affordably? Read on to find out!

Shared Hosting with WordPress

Rather than using a restrictive free website builder, a better budget option is to go with shared hosting and WordPress.

Shared hosting simply means your website lives on a server shared with other sites. The costs are spread across multiple users, so it’s extremely affordable compared to dedicated server hosting.

Popular shared hosts like HostGator offer high-quality plans starting at just $2.75 per month for basic sites. The plans come with tons of great features:

  • Unmetered bandwidth – Send and receive unlimited data.
  • Free site migration – Easily move an existing site to HostGator.
  • 99.9% uptime – Rock solid reliability.
  • Free domain name – Get your custom .com domain free for the first year.
  • Money back guarantee – Change your mind? Get a full refund within 45 days.

With shared hosting you get complete control over your site. And the beauty is you can install open source WordPress on your account for free.

This gives you access to thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins to customize the design and features. No restrictions like with free website builder platforms.

WordPress also makes it easy for search engines to crawl your site. This gives you a SEO boost right off the bat.

As your traffic and needs grow over time, shared hosting and WordPress provide an affordable path to scale up. You can upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server seamlessly without needing to migrate platforms.

For anyone needing an affordable yet highly functional site, shared hosting with WordPress can’t be beat. Let’s look at some ways to save even more money…

How to Save Even More on Hosting

Now that we’ve established shared hosting with WordPress as an affordable way to create a quality site, here are some insider tips to save even more money on your hosting costs:

  • Find introductory offers – Most hosts will offer discounts for the first term. HostGator often has plans starting at $2.75 per month for new customers.
  • Pay annually upfront – You can save 15-20% or more by paying for the full year on your initial order instead of going month-to-month.
  • Buy in bulk – Need hosting for several years? Buying a longer plan upfront can save you a bundle compared to renewing each year.
  • Refer friends – Some hosts give account credits or cash rewards for referrals. HostGator offers $40 Visa cards for each friend you refer.
  • Use coupons & promos – Look for coupons online or seasonal promotions around holidays to score hosting deals.
  • Upgrade selectively – Start with just the resources you need today. You can always add more bandwidth, storage, etc. later.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is free hosting really that bad?

A: It can be. Limitations like ads, lack of support, and no custom domain can hurt your brand. Paying a small amount for quality hosting is worth avoiding these drawbacks.

Q: How much traffic can shared hosting support?

A: Shared plans can easily support thousands of visitors per month. Upgrade options make it easy to scale up as your traffic grows.

Q: Is WordPress complicated to use?

A: Not at all! WordPress is very user-friendly. You can start with a simple theme and add advanced features over time as you get comfortable.

Q: Can I use a custom domain name with shared hosting?

A: Yes! Shared plans include a free domain name registration for the first term. You can use your own custom .com domain.

Q: Is my site secure with shared hosting?

A: Shared hosts like HostGator put security measures in place to protect all customers on the server. You can also add SSL encryption.

Q: What if I change my mind and want to cancel?

A: Most shared hosts offer a money back guarantee period. HostGator provides a 45-day window for canceling and receiving a full refund.

Let me know if you would like me to add any other questions and answers to cover common concerns around affordable website hosting.

Author: James Stafford

James Stafford is the founder of WebsitesMadeEasy.Tv, an experienced online entrepreneur who has spent over a decade helping people build an online presence. Through his educational YouTube channel, James has provided simplified digital marketing training to millions worldwide. He is known for breaking down complex topics into understandable, actionable steps for his 75,000+ subscribers.