Everything becomes more and more expensive every day. It is no surprise that we try to save money whenever possible. Building your online business requires a lot of time, effort and investment, so you have to be very careful with how and where you’re investing your money. Whether your business is already established, or you are building a new one, going online is the first logical step that you should take to get access to new customers, tap into new marketing tools and take advantage of a variety of tools offering you reports and statistics for your online activity. The question is: can you build a website for free?
The Myth about a free website
You have to forgive me for disappointing you at the beginning of the article, but sometimes we have to to look at life realistically. Nothing is free nowadays because everyone pays for something, so it is not possible to have a website completely for free. BUT I wanted to show you here how you can get a website up and running at a cost as close to “free” as possible!
I will guide you on how to build your first online business with minimum expenses. I hope that once you decide to go on that journey it will save you a lot of money in the future.
Essentials for website development
In order to keep the cost at a minimum, we have to divide all of the website requirements into 2 groups – essentials and extras. Below you will find a list of essentials and they come at a cost that cannot be avoided.
1. Domain name. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do here. You have to buy a domain. For .ae the cost is around 150 AED, and it has to be paid every year. If you choose “.com” domain, the cost will be lower.
2. You always need hosting. Even if it is your home laptop, you will still pay for the Internet and electricity unless you have solar panels, you live in Dubai, and you are using your neighbor’s wifi. Unfortunately, setting up a server on your home laptop requires some technical knowledge, external IP address and a couple of other things. Therefore, we would still recommend going with a shared hosting option. You can have the cheapest one from us for 199 AED per year, so monthly it is only 16.58 AED. Read more about shared hosting in one of our previous articles here.
You’re halfway there.
3. Install WordPress using cPanel. It requires a few clicks. Then you can search for “free WordPress theme” and you will find a lot of different designs available for you for free.
4. You can upload and activate it on your website.
5. Create Facebook Page and Facebook Pixel associated with it. Then in WordPress go to Plugins -> Add New and search for “Facebook Pixel”. You will find free extensions to integrate it with your website.
6. Create a Google Analytics account. After the initial configuration, go to WordPress -> Plugins -> Add New and search for Google Analytics. You will also find a lot of extensions for Google Analytics for free.
7. You can search in Google for “Free Logo Generator”. Check if you like any of the options suggested by the generator. That way you can get a free logo for your website.
The last step is to add your newly created logo and content to your website. It will require some time for you, but it is doable for most themes available on the market without the need of having the development team.
Additional requirements for a website
On top of the basics that will help you to launch a successful online business, few things that may make the experience much better. We have outlined basic marketing tools in an “essentials” section of the article, but what about more sophisticated features?
Affiliate Marketing tools.
It is always nice to give other people tools and incentives to promote you if they like your products or services and a good website can provide those. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to find a good solution which will be free of charge.
To stay in touch with your visitors you should give them the ability to sign up to your newsletter and then be able to actually send it.
Marketing Automation tools
These almost never come for free, but it is an amazing way to automate a newsletter process, for example.
Advanced users monitoring tools
Tools like Yandex Metrica can “record sessions of the users on your website so you can watch them later and understand their needs. It will help you to improve your website and content a lot!
The tool itself is free, but integrating it properly on your website will most likely require a development team. Google Optimize lets you make multiple changes on the website and show them to different groups of users so you can see what works best for you.
This will not be applicable to every business, of course. But if you have any products or services to offer, it makes a huge difference if you let your customers buy or book instantly and ideally pay with a credit card on the spot.