The post is based on my experience setting up PNG Insight on the paid WordPress platform. This post provides tips for experienced writers and bloggers who want to buy a domain and self-host a website. In particular, it shows how much does it costs to start a website using the WordPress platform.
Recommended: Check out the complete series on How to Start a Personal Blog and download the FREE e-Book.
Key starter points
- The cost of running pnginsight.com is for guidance only
- The theme and plugin are free versions
- Domain is renewed annually at US$15.95 (PNG K53.95)
- Host is renewed after 3 years at US$142.20 (PNG K480.71)
- Total cost is US$158.15 (PNG K534.64)
- Properly research cost of domain and hosting plans
The table is the actual cost of starting this website. See the screenshot. It shows the total cost (at the time of writing).
The 5 points below are necessary to start a new website. If you do not have one of the 5s mentioned, I am afraid your dream of self-hosting a website may not come to fruition.
- Content is King – can write useful content
- Money – willing to invest about K600
- Payment – have Visa or Master card for online payment
- Internet – have access to Wi-Fi or mobile data/network
- Willingness – have basic set-up knowledge
How to start a website using WordPress
Step 1 – Domain
You must first have a domain. The domain (sometimes referred to as the URL) is the unique web address. If we liken a new website to a house, the domain is the entry *door* to the house you are planning to build.
I bought the pnginsight.com domain for US$19.95 with Siteground. The domain is for renewal annually.
Choose a domain and stick with it. It is important that you choose your domain carefully and thoughtfully. I would discourage you to change the domain. There are many technicalities involved with domain-name change which will impact on your hard work (and affect how your website ranks on Google).
Step 2 – Hosting
Hosting is the second step for starting a self-hosted WordPress website. There are different hosting plans. The *starter plan* is enough to run a single website. Again, if we liken the new website to a house. The domain is the door. The host is now the *piece of land* on which you are building the house.
Choose a reliable host. There are many website hosting companies online. Most of them are shite (Mind my French). Do good research before opting to host your website.
I am hosting the domain pnginsight.com with Siteground at a cost of US$142.20. The host is for 36 months (3 years). The domain is renewed annually for US$19.95. Visit Siteground.
I find it easy to get the pnginsight.com domain and host it with the same host provider, Siteground. In fact, I did my research and found out that though Siteground is not cheap, it is a reliable service provider. Another big name in the business is Bluehost.
Top tip: Perhaps it is important to do a comparison analysis of Siteground, Bluehost and other preferred hosting companies before opting to host your website.
Mentioned earlier, PNG Insight domain and hosting plan are with the web host service provider Siteground. This website is online at less than K540. The Starter Plan I chose can host only one website. The domain is up for renewal after 12 months – every 12 months thereafter. Whereas, the hosting plan is for 36 months (3 years).
Understandably, I see this website as a long term move from the PNG Insight on Blogger platform to WordPress. Though I’ll keep adding content to both sites, I plan to do more with WordPress, which the Blogger platform does not allow me to do. (I’ll update this category – Start a Blog – as PNG Insight grows. Bookmark this page or follow PNG Insight on Twitter to stay in touch)
Back to the point, the cost of owning a domain (and hosting it) would be less than K540 if you bought a domain and host for only 12 months with Siteground.
Step 3 – Choose free WP Theme
I tried and tested several *free* WordPress Theme to find the right one for my website. The one I am using is OceanWP.
Step 4 – Plugins
The OceanWP theme has free and featured plugins (plugins help you build your website without HTML coding). I recommend that you install the required (free) plugins during the initial installation stage.
The 5 extra plugins I find useful are:
- Elementor page builder: The most advanced front end drag & drop page builder. Create high-end, pixel perfect websites at record speeds. Any theme, any page, any design.
- Akismet Anti-Spam: Protects a blog from spam.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com: enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
- Insert Headers and Footers: Allows you to insert code or text in the header or footer of your WordPress blog
- WPForms Lite: Beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin. Drag & Drop form builder to create your WordPress forms. The downside is that viewing the entry is a paid feature. Having realised that, I’ve now used the free contact form that comes with the Ocean WP theme.
Top Tip: The plugins mentioned are enough to get a website started. Investigate further the plugins that are best for your website as you grow it. At present, look for plugins that have great reviews or have great recommendations.
Step 5 – Post articles – content is king!
Google takes time to rank a website. Some people said it takes a few days to three months for articles to show up on Google search. It can, even, take longer. Let Google takes care of this. The key to satisfaction is to focus less on how your website will ranks (or how it looks) and more on writing quality content.
The simple fact is that if you create content that appeals to the Googlers, Google will know. And, rank you well.
As a beginner myself, I did some research before creating this website. Below is the list I thought I should share with you.
Top tip: Read the details and check the recommendations of any plugin before installing. The lesser known plugins can affect the performance of your website. As mentioned earlier, start with the popular and highly recognised theme, templates and plugins. You’ll never go wrong.
Here are the final tips for starting a personal website from Papua New Guinea.
- Budget K500 – K600
- Get a domain and host (recommend Siteground)
- Choose OceanWP Theme (free)
- Choose a Free Template (free)
- Accept the free plugins that come with OceanWP
- Recommended plugins (Elementor, Akismet Anti-spam, Insert Headers and Footers, Jetpack)
- For updated cost and options, check out Siteground.
It took me a long time researching and spending time online to build this site. I wish I could put the cost to the time I spend putting the website together. I have always wanted to move my Blogger blog to WordPress. And, having done it is more satisfying.
I hope this experience helps you to start a website from scratch. Join PNG Insight on Twitter.