Creating your own website can be your first step to starting an online business, or building an online presence for your brand.
If your budget is tight, learning how to create your own website gives you the freedom to try out new ideas, or even build a simple site for your business without hiring someone to do it for you.
With over 10 years of experience setting up websites using no-code platforms like WordPress and Shopify, I’ll show you my best tricks and tips for getting started.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to set up a simple website for under RM500. Let’s get started 🙂
The 5 steps you need to take when creating a website
When you’re thinking of creating a website, here are the 4 steps you need to take:
Step 1: Choose a platform
In the early days of the world wide web, the only way to build a decent website was by knowing how to code. It was very time intensive and expensive even to build a basic website.
Nowadays though, there are much easier ways to build and manage a website. In fact, most websites today are built using something called a ‘Content Management System’ or CMS for short.
What’s a CMS and which CMS should you use?
CMS-es are typically no-code, plug and play platforms where you can set up a website with built-in features. It makes it easy for users like yourself to add, and modify content on a website.
There are many CMS to choose from, but the most popular one is WordPress. Here are a few reasons why WordPress is so popular:
- It’s free – WordPress is open-source, so you don’t have to pay to use it
- There’s plenty of WordPress-related resources – the WordPress community is one of the biggest in the world, so it is quite possible for you to find an answer to your problem with a quick Google search
- Most WordPress hosting support 1-click install – 1-click WordPress installs mean you don’t need to go through the tedious process of setting up WordPress on your preferred hosting.
According to BuiltWith, WordPress powers over 32k sites in Malaysia alone (including this site, EntrepreneurCampfire.com).
Step 2: Choose a domain name and hosting provider
Now before you can start using WordPress as your CMS, you will need to choose a domain and a host.
Why do you need a domain name and hosting?
Let me explain:
A domain name tells people where to look for you online. It’s kinda like your address online.
Tip: How to choose a good domain name
Your domain name is one of the most important decisions you have to make when building an online presence.
Here are some tips I’ve gathered from online marketing experts as well as my own experience when it comes to choosing a domain name:
Pick a .com
Even though there are many extensions available, most people still identify with .com
Pick a name with 2 – 3 syllables
Hosting, on the other hand, is where you store all your website files online. A good hosting provider will not only provide you the space to store your files online, they will also make sure that your site loads fast and are always online.
Although both of these will cost you money, from my experience it is well worth the investment.
Where to get a domain name?
1. Buy it from domain registrars
Domain registrars are companies that are authorized to sell you domain names. The domain registrar you go for will depend on the domain extension (e.g. “.com”, “.com.my”, or “.my”) you choose.
For country-specific domain names (“.com.my” or “.my”), you’ll need to get it through a local registrar, like one of the following:
On the other hand, if you are looking to have a non-country-specific domain name, these are some reputable domain registrars you can buy domains for:
Although you can also buy non-country-specific domain names from Exabytes, and BigDomain, I found their pricing to be quite a bit higher than the above registrars.
Other than offering a lower price, I also found international registrars to have a better management panel for domains. It’s a lot easier to manage things like DNS change, A record changes, and renewals inside the management panel.
So if you’re not looking to get a “.com.my” or “.my” domain name, it’s best to go with non-Malaysian registrars.
2. Buy it together with your web hosting
The second way for buying a domain name is by getting it together with your hosting plan. The benefit of buying your domain name together with your web hosting is that you don’t need to go through the trouble of pointing your domain name to your host.
Buying a domain name with your web hosting is a pretty straightforward process, and you will usually be asked if you’d like to add a domain name together with your hosting.
Where to get hosting?
Now, let’s take a look at hosting. Your hosting company is where your files will be stored and accessed online – so it’s important to find a reliable one.
One thing you need to know about hosting is that, like a computer, you pretty much pay for what you get. The more you’re willing to pay, the better quality hosting you will get.
If you are on a budget, consider going for affordable, mid-range hosting like
On the other hand, if you have a bigger budget, and want to go for a higher quality hosting, you can go for top-range hosting like
There are also local hosting companies like Shinjiru you can consider using, but I don’t have any experience with it, so can’t comment on its reliability. I generally don’t use local hosting because I haven’t found one with good documentation and strong technical support.
Step 3: Set up WordPress on your host
Now, you’ll need to set up WordPress on your host.
Depending on the hosting company you’ve chosen, the steps for setting up your WordPress site will differ. Here are some guides you can check out based on my recommendations above:
Once you’ve successfully set up WordPress, you can now move on to the next step.
Step 4: Choose a theme and customise it
Install a new theme
Once you have installed WordPress, you will end up with a site that has WordPress’ default Twenty Twenty One theme installed:
While it’s a nice-looking theme, it is WordPress’ default theme. So you might end up having a site that looks like thousands of others if you decide to stick with it.
To have more design flexibility for your site, you can change your theme to a free or premium one.
Install a free theme
To install a free theme, go to the sidebar and hover over ‘Appearances’. When you do, you get a menu as below. Click on the ‘Themes’ link:
This will bring you to the themes page. To add a new theme, go to the top of the page and click on ‘Add New’:
There you can pick from thousands of free themes:
Use the ‘Feature Filter’ at the menu to filter the themes down to the specs that you want.
Although these are free themes, you can often find very high-quality ones. So do look at them before you move on to look for premium themes. For most basic websites, a free theme would be more than enough.
If you have selected a theme, all you have to is install and activate it and you will see it on your site:
Install a paid theme
If after looking at the free themes you still could not find anything you like, consider going for paid themes.
While there are many paid themes in the market, my favourite one is Blocksy from the Creative Themes team. It’s the one I’m using for this website.
I like it because it’s light and fast, and there are a lot of customisation options available. With Blocksy, it’s easy for you to configure a fast-loading and beautiful site.
Check out my page speed insight score on desktop with Blocksy theme:
If you want to find out more about Blocksy, check out my review of the WordPress theme here.
Customise your theme
Once you have installed your theme – whether free or paid – you can now customise your theme to your liking.
To do so, go to Appearance > Customize:
Inside the Customiser, you’ll find a variety of features you can adjust. What you’ll see in the Customiser will depend on the theme you are using. Here’s what my Customiser looks like using the Blocksy theme:
Inside Blocksy, I’m able to adjust the General layout, Header, Footer, Sidebar, Colors and so on.
Step 5: Add pages, posts, menu, and install plugins
Once you have chosen your theme, it’s now time to add pages to your site. Here’s how you can do that:
At the top of your dashboard, you will see a menu with a few options. At the end of the menu you will find a ‘+New’ link. Hover over it and click on ‘Page’:
When you click on it, you will be led to a page which looks like this:
As I have explained in my SEO guide, your blog is a good place for you to optimize your website for SEO.
Just as you have done for pages, to add a post, all you have to do is go to your top menu, hover over ‘+New’ and click on posts:
Once you do, you will be brought to the post editor page:
This is where you can create posts like the one you are reading right now.
Add a menu
Once you have added pages to your site, it’s now time to add the pages to your navigation menu.
To access your menu editor, go to the sidebar on your left. Hover over ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Menus’:
Once you are inside, follow the following steps to add a page to your menu:
Plugins are extensions you can add to your WordPress site to add a new function or feature that was not included in your theme.
To install a plugin, go to the sidebar on your left again, hover over ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Add New’:
Once you have chosen your plugin, all you have to do is install it.
Here are some plugins that most websites nowadays have installed to get you started off with:
Google Analytics – Google Analytics tracks your traffic and your visitors’ behavior on your site. This helps you measure the results of your efforts.
Fluent Forms – Fluent Forms is one of the best free contact form plugin. You can use it for visitors on your site to send you an email from your website. I am also using Fluent Forms on Entrepreneur Campfire’s Contact page.
Yoast SEO plugin – Yoast is helpful for you to do SEO on your site and help your site grow in search visibility.
These are only a few of the plugins available to you. There are thousands of free and paid plugins you can look out for online. Feel free to explore them.
Knowing how to build your own website can make a big difference in your life. Not only do you save money, you can also execute your ideas faster.
Gone are the days you need to spend hours and hours coding just to get a basic website up. Nowadays with CMSs like WordPress you can easily get a professional looking website up within an hour.
If you have been thinking about setting up your own website, look no further. You already have everything you need to build your first site for just under RM500.