Making money online from wherever you please, whenever you want, has been one of the foremost dreams of the millennial generation. And no wonder – the 9-to-5 concept has gradually fallen out of favor, thanks to the internet and the unlimited possibilities it unleashed. You don’t have to waste hours in commute, beating yourself up about the office dress code and that movie you missed last night because of early bedtime. All you have to do is find remote work with flexible timetable – or build your own business and become your own boss.

The latter option is, of course, preferable. But whatever you choose, there is one thing you absolutely need – a website, preferably in WordPress, the most versatile and intuitive content management system. And the question of how to make a WordPress website is a relatively easy one, even if you’ve never used this platform (or any other, for that matter) before.

Just follow these five steps and you’ll be okay.

1. Choose Thy Name… Erm, Domain

Having created multiple websites, I like to think of a new online project as if it were a newborn baby. You will cherish and nurture it, feed it diverse content (highly nutritional if possible), and get super proud as it grows.

But what’s the very first thing to do with a kiddo? Choose a name, of course. One that would accurately represent all the things you want the child to be.

Now, in online terms, that name would be your domain name. For example, the domain name for this site is SurveyCool.com. All the URLs (short for “Uniform Resource Locators”) coming from this site will contain the following formula:

SurveyCool.com/Article-Slug

So, a proper domain name is not just a placeholder. It’s the foremost and most visible part of your future brand’s online identity. With millions of websites out there, many domain names are already taken. No wonder, then, that some existing domains may cost thousands of dollars – especially the dot-coms. Even the tiniest character makes a big difference in how your site visitors will perceive and find you.

What Are Domain Name Extensions (and Which One to Choose)?

Fifteen or twenty years ago, there weren’t many options to choose from. You could go with .com, .net, .org, .gov, .mil, or .edu, and that was it. Even though it wasn’t very inspiring, this was a clear, purpose-based classification of all the domains. The .com extension was short for “commercial”; .edu for educational, .gov for governmental institutions, and so on. 

The domain name extensions have multiplied to this date. You can now choose from hundreds of options, and even combine the extension with your domain name to relay an interesting message or spice things up a little. The options range from the evocative ones such as .io, .ly or .me, to practical ones, for example .tv, .museum, .store, .info, .biz, .blog, .global, .design.

But even more important than the extension is what comes before it. Your domain name would need to be as short as possible, without hyphens or any similar characters.

Let’s say you’re in the dating and relationships niche. Instead of naming your site dating-and-relationships.com, try to think of something that rolls off the tongue easily, and is also easy to type. Even taking up the initial syllables and combining them into something like DaRel.com (if it isn’t already taken) would work better than aiming for the whole phrase. Indeed, these super short domain names are easily remembered – and easily typed.

Where to Get It and How Much Does It Cost?

The easiest way to look up a domain name is with the host. You can search for available names in concord with an extension. As I said above, the price will depend on a number of factors. In most cases, however, you should expect to pay from $5 to $15 per year. That is, if you don’t go wild with choosing a name that’s already taken. In that case, if the owner wants to sell it to you, there is no upper limit as to the amount they could ask for.

make money with wordpress keyboard button

2. Your Site Needs a Host

Back to the baby analogy – once it’s named, it needs a place to live. In the online world, that place is provided by a host. And it goes without saying that you need to pay for it.

But what exactly are you paying for? Beneath the visible and intelligible surface, a website is essentially a giant string of code – that is, information. All that data has to be stored somewhere – and the places where sites live are called servers. Think of them as supercomputers that store and safeguard the data, communicating it to other computers such as yours and mine.

The hosts don’t just “rent” these servers to anybody who’s willing to pay. They also take care of your data’s safety, along with troubleshooting issues such as server downtime or backups to prevent data loss. In other words, a good hosting provider should go to great lengths to ensure the best possible user experience for you and, consequently, your website’s visitors.

Share the Room or Not? Types of Hosting

You just landed on the homepage of one of the best hosting providers. And there it is, a new question pops up in your face: which plan to choose? Apart from the price tags, how are they different from each other?

The providers may devise their plans however they see fit, but all of those boil down to three basic types:

  • Shared hosting. It’s typically the cheapest option, and for a reason. You will be sharing your server’s capacity and bandwidth with a bunch of other users. It means less storage and safety, as well as possible speed issues. All of that shouldn’t affect your baby project while it’s still in a crib. But as it starts growing and toddling about, it will need more room and resources.
  • VPS hosting. VPS stands for “Virtual Private Server”. Think of it as halfway between a shared and a dedicated server – you will still share the server, but with far fewer other sites. It’s a perfect option for when your kiddo has grown up and gone to college. Sure, the dorms on campus aren’t the most spacious places on earth, but at least they are one step closer toward the final goal of independence.
  • Dedicated hosting. This option comes with the heftiest price tag. And it’s only natural – the server, its bandwidth and resources are all yours. Even if you get tens of thousands of visits every day, the site won’t crash. And if it does every once in a while, you may rest assured that the issue will be promptly addressed and resolved. Which is crucial if you want to keep attracting and growing your audience.

How Much Does It Cost?

There are no exact rules that would determine the price of hosting, as it also depends on a number of variables. For example, how much storage you need, what type of backup you will opt for if any, how many domains and subdomains you would need.

The cheapest shared hosting plans will start at just a few bucks per month. If you want VPS hosting, get ready to shell out at least $20 every month. As for dedicated hosting, it won’t cost you less than $70 per month, with the most expensive plans climbing up to a few hundred dollars.

3. Make Way for WordPress

WordPress’s famous 5-minute installation usually turns out to be a much longer process, with quite a few hurdles that require digging through guides and forums. Luckily, is you chose a decent host, you will have addressed the issue already by this moment.

How is that possible?

Most hosting providers will include free one-click WordPress installation in all of their plans. You will receive your login credentials. Just hop in and get to work! Or not?

Work? Not Yet, My Young Padawan! Your Site Needs a Theme

On your dashboard, hover over the “Appearance” tab on the left. Then, click through “Theme”, and you will be taken to WordPress themes officially available on the repository WordPress.org.

wp appearance settings in the dashboard

Or you can go straight to WordPress.org, browse through their themes, download whichever you like, upload it to your site through the dashboard, and activate it.

But before we dive into the particulars, let’s consider why you need a theme.

A theme is a visual and functional framework within which your site will operate. In other words, it offers you an array of possibilities as to how your website will look. Will you lay emphasis on the text or visuals such as images or videos? Is it going to be a modern, single-page website or a more traditional one, with separate pages found in tabs at the top?

A great thing about WordPress themes is that you can test them before installing. Nearly all themes have a demo version. You can launch it and see how it all looks.

Another great thing is that you don’t have to spend bucks on a theme right away.

How Much Do I Need to Shell Out for a Theme?

There are many free themes that would suit your business and brand. But they do come with a significant con – and that’s the fact that they are not very customizable. Therefore, you won’t be able to get a unique look for your site. Whichever free theme you choose, there’s bound to be thousands of other sites that look almost exactly the same.

That’s where the so-called freemium themes come into play. They allow you to take advantage of the theme’s limited functionality for free, and eventually decide (or not) to pay for the full version.

And if you decide to invest in a fully paid theme right away, you should hope to pay anything from $30 to $200, with the median price being $59. If you want to heavily customize it and hire a developer to help you with it, get ready for a heavy investment of a few thousand bucks.

4. Populate Your Site

wp add new post dashboard

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

And so on! That’s the text your site will be showing once you’re done with theme installation. It’s a dummy text that serves as a placeholder, so that you can get a feeling of how your actual text will look.

And frankly, populating your new site is fairly simple from the technical perspective. If you want to add a post, find it on the left.

Pages are also to be found on the left sidebar of your dashboard. You can set up, for example, “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Blog”, or whichever page you see fit.

Make sure to also set menus and categories, to make it easier for your audience to browse through your site and find whatever they’re interested in.

 

 

5. Add Plugins for Better Functionality

Like I said above, a theme offers a very basic set of functions. Plugins are responsible for everything else. So, if you need a contact form, you need to install plugin. If you need some SEO, there are plugins for that too. Some are free, others paid, climbing up to a few hundred dollars. I’m guessing you won’t need those right now though!

But when is the best time to start bothering with plugins?

Truth is, your site will always be a work in progress. Choose and add your plugins when the need arises. For example, if you decide to monetize your site with Amazon Affiliate Program, there are plugins that will let you easily and elegantly add products from Amazon. When you get enough content and a respectable audience, you may want to enable push notifications – via plugin. Or collect subscribers and nurture them by feeding them nice and personalized email campaigns – which is also possible with an adequate plugin.

But whatever your intentions for the future, some plugins will need to be in place right away, such as Yoast SEO, Akismet Anti-Spam (if your blog posts enable comments), WooCommerce (if your site is e-commerce), WP Rocket for faster image loading, Contact Form 7 for, well, contact forms.

How Much Do Plugins Cost?

Many basic plugins are free. Others will require you to pay anything from $5 to $100 upfront, with possible recurring fees.

Yet others will be free up to a point, until you reach a certain threshold. For example, the email marketing plugin Mailchimp will be free until you accrue over 2,000 contacts and/or start sending over 10,000 emails per month. If you hit those numbers, you will have to pay your way up. But don’t worry – by that moment, the service will start paying for itself, sending some money your way too. It’s a win-win situation for you and the company behind the plugin.

Conclusion: Total Price Breakdown – How Much Will It Cost Me?

By now, you probably have a full picture of how to make a WordPress website – and how much you need to pay for it. If you go with the cheapest scenario, buying only the absolute essentials, your new site won’t cost you more than a couple dozen bucks per year.

However, I would strongly advise against counting coppers unless you absolutely have to. Every penny you spend now will return to you manifold if you do things right. After all, WordPress is a proper money making machine for those who know how to use it. Just be patient and diligent like a busy little bee that you are. The world is yours for the taking – but you have to work very hard before being able to claim it.