Budget-Friendly Guide to Creating a Fully Customized Website

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For those of you who may not be the most technically savvy, the following is an easy, step-by-step guide on how to create a fully functioning, custom website. Figuring out how to create a website may seem like a daunting task, but this guide will walk you through the more technical aspects of doing so, without using confusing language. On top of that, the whole process has been broken down into four steps and should require only an hour of your time and may cost as little as $150.

By using this handy, easy, and concise guide, you will learn how to not only create the content of your site, but also how and where to host it. Our recommendation is that you use WordPress, as it is user-friendly, affordable, and allows for nearly limitless customization. It’s a popular service and is perfect for building personal or professional websites with the following features:

  • Blog or Personal
  • Business
  • Photography
  • Q & A
  • Portfolio
  • Coupon
  • Multilingual
  • Knowledge base
  • Pod casts
  • Affiliate
  • Gallery
  • Company Name - Necessary if you’re electing to register the services under a company, otherwise it’s not applicable.
  • Physical Address - Some of the services might require an actual physical address to register.
  • Phone number - Some of the services might require a phone number to register.
  • Email address - One email address that you would like to use to register for all of the aforementioned services (particularly one where you would like to receive pertinent information regarding your site).
  • User name - Some of the services require a user name. Consider a user name you would like to use and keep it somewhere safe for future reference.
  • Password - Each service will require you to use a password. Make sure you keep it somewhere safe for future reference.
  • Payment method - Each of the following service will require a payment method. A Credit Card is generally the preferred method.

Getting your website up and running

 

A domain name is simply the address you would type into a browser. In this case, when we say “address”, this refers to what you want to name your site and how you will identify it to visitors. For instance, if your website is about funny cat videos, you may want to name your site, “Wacky Cats”. When choosing or registering for a domain name, you may want to choose www.wackycats.com.
 

To get a domain name for your site, you must first purchase one from a Registrar. A Registrar helps to manage the ownership and distribution of domain names.
 

We recommend Godaddy because of their excellent customer service. Customer service reps are not only available by phone 24/7, they are also extremely knowledgeable and very hands-on, which is especially helpful to the novice site owner.


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After you have created and purchased your domain name, you will need to find a place to host your website. A “host” is a remote server on which all of your website information is stored. If you have heard of the “cloud”, it is a similar notion. Think of it this way: if your domain name is your address, then the host is the building at that address.
 

There are many options for hosting your website on the internet; however, we recommend purchasing your hosting account from Site Ground, as they have competitive prices and superb technical support. Like Godaddy their customer service is available 24/7 and has been known to walk customers through difficult or confusing technical problems with ease.


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Before you move on to step four, you’re going to need to make two phone calls.
 

1. Site Ground Phone Call
You’re going to ask Site Ground for your website’s “account IP” address. You will need to write this down!

IMPORTANT: You will need to have your user name handy when you make this call.

Site Ground's Phone: 800-828-9231
 

2. Godaddy Phone Call

Now, you’re going to call Godaddy and ask them to update your domain name’s “A Record” with the IP address that SiteGround has provided you. When talking to the Godaddy rep, be sure to specify the exact domain name you want to update.

IMPORTANT: You will need your customer ID and support pin when talking to a Godaddy support member, so make sure you have it on hand.

Godaddy's Phone: 866-463-2339
 


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This step will explain how you will be able to get WordPress setup, a theme installed and customized with minimal effort on your part. You do not need any technical experience in this step, all the heavy lifting will be done for you. When you’re done with this final step, you will have a fully functioning, unique website that is ready to be seen by potential customers, friends, or the world at large.
 

IMPORTANT: The ease of the final step is dependent upon you purchasing a theme from Template Monster. Template Monster will only set up WordPress for you if you have purchased a theme from them. If you choose not to purchase a theme, you will have to install WordPress yourself.
 

Let's get started

1. First visit Template Monster and browse through the collection of WordPress themes to find one that you like. Once you've found one you like, add it to your shopping cart.
 

IMPORTANT: The theme you purchase must be a WordPress theme. You can confirm that the theme you've added to your cart is a WordPress theme by looking in your shopping cart (an icon located in the upper right hand corner of the Template Monster's website). Once in the shopping cart, look above the thumbnail of your theme, you'll see the title of your theme along with the text "... WordPress Theme". If you don't see this, then the theme you have in your cart is not a WordPress theme. Delete it and go back to the website to browse the WordPress themes.

2. After adding a theme to your cart, you’ll be able to select the desired website customization service by following the instructions below that pertain to the device you're using (i.e. mobile or desktop).

Desktop device
1. In your shopping cart, locate the section with the following bold lettering - “Recommended Customization Services for WordPress XXX”. Where “XXX” is the ID for the theme that you’ve already selected.
 

2. IMPORTANT: The first service you'll need to select is the "installation" service sometimes shown as "theme installation". This service is a must for Template Monster to setup WordPress and install the theme for you. Only select this service if you're NOT going to use their "Ready to use website" service, as the installation service is included in the "Ready to use website" service.
 

3. Click the “add to cart” button next to the customization service you wish to include on your site.

 

Customization services available

Full customization
Ready to use website
For selecting this customization service, Template Monster will update the theme's following components.
  • Logo - Template Monster will install a logo that you have already designed
  • Color scheme
  • Update up to six pages with your images and written text
  • Setup your contact form so you can receive messages from your website
  • And Install the website on your host and setup your domain
Itemized customization
Adding your logo
Template Monster will install a logo that you have already designed
Changing color scheme
Template Monster will change the colors of the website
Layout customization
Template Monster offers the ability for you to change the layout of any page. This is done after you’ve checked out and is offered at an additional cost - $199 per page
 

4. Once you've selected all the services you want, click on the checkout button and follow the instructions given.
 

5. After you've checked out and completed your purchase with Template Monster, you'll receive an email from them asking for details to access your hosting account so that they can set up WordPress an install the theme. Here is the information you'll send them:
 

Domain name - Specify the domain name that Template Monster will setup your new website on.
Hosting account user name & password
 

6. That's it, now you'll wait for Template Monster to message you back that they have completed the installation.
 


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Images & for your website

Now that you have gotten your website up and running, you may realize that you want to spice it up with media. There are a number of ways to go about this, but we’re going to recommend a simple way to add images, audio, video, etc. to your site.
We recommend using IstockPhoto to find media for your website. They have millions of royalty free images in a wide array and also have a very intuitive way to find what you want. You won’t have a problem finding anything from still images to audio.


Purchase media from IstockPhoto

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