According to numerous studies in the UK, a full 49% of sole traders still don’t have a website to promote their business. When you take into account the total number of registered businesses in the country, that adds up to almost 1.7 million businesses. On top of this astonishing figure, over a quarter of UK businesses with 2-5 employees also don’t have a website of their own.

All too often, many businesses find themselves saying that it’s too difficult or too expensive to get started building a website of their own. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Now more than ever, it's easy to find software online that can teach you how to build a website without breaking the bank. Here at Fasthosts, our Website Builder is designed to provide just that.

If you want to begin building your business’s presence online, then follow all our steps below on how to create a website from scratch for very little money – or even for free!

Creating a free website step-by-step

1. Get web hosting

Although you can find free content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress, you’ll still have to pay for Web Hosting to get your website up and running. You need web hosting because it provides a server that can store all of your website’s files and then build and display your website, allowing people to visit it and interact with it.

There are multiple types of web hosting to suit different websites. For a smaller website with lower traffic demands, you can opt for a cheaper shared hosting, cloud hosting or VPS hosting package – a dedicated server will likely be too expensive and too powerful for what you need. If you’ve chosen a free website platform like WordPress, you can even choose a WordPress hosting package that’s specifically designed and optimised for this CMS. Here at Fasthosts, our WordPress Hosting comes with a free domain name and SSL certificate, so you can bundle multiple services together to create your website for as little money as possible.

2. Choose your domain name carefully

Choosing the right domain for your business's website is the key first step in building your online presence. You want to make it easy for your customers to find you online, so choosing a domain name that is short, memorable, and matches your business name is a must. Not only will this help you build a strong brand identity, but it will also reduce the likelihood of potential customers failing to get to your website by misspelling your domain or entering a common domain name typo.

Our Website Builder includes a free domain name for the first year. So for only £1 per month for the first three months, you can pick your perfect domain and domain extension, set up your free professional email, and create your website from scratch with templates, images and drag-and-drop tools.

3. Plan the visuals

To create a website that truly represents your business, you need to plan out each detail. Web users want to visit websites that are fun, engaging and eye-catching, so you need to achieve this while also getting your brand message across effectively.

During the planning phase, you’ll need to pick out your themes, brand colours, images, fonts and web page layouts, making sure that all of these elements work together to create the brand image you’re aiming for. Having a plan for each web page can help with this, or you can go one step further and also create a sitemap. A website sitemap is essentially the blueprint of your website – it connects all of the information, files and pages on your site. Your sitemap will help you plan out the layout of your website and help search engines crawl your content and rank your website in search engine results.

4. Write the content

Once you’ve got a layout of your website, you’ll need to add some content before you put it all together. Many businesses choose to hire writers to complete their web page content and blog content, but if you’re hoping to save some money, you can do this yourself.

If you’re writing your own website content, it’s important to get to know the basics of search engine optimisation (SEO) and keyword research. This will help you incorporate the right keywords into your content, boosting your search engine rankings for terms relevant to your business. You should also think about content hierarchy. This refers to the placement of content on the page, with the most important content and call-to-actions (CTAs) appearing above the fold so that visitors don’t need to scroll down to see them.

5. Choose a free website template

After you’ve got your content ready, you can start actually putting your web pages together. To do this, you'll need web page templates that suit your industry. There is a variety of software options out there that offer templates for free websites, so your choice will likely come down to personal preference.

Our Website Builder includes a range of free website templates for a wide number of different industries. From fashion and photography, to restaurants and travel blogs, all of our free website templates are responsive to mobile devices, ensuring your website will look great on any screen.

6. Customise your website with drag and drop

Many of the templates that let you make free websites can be fully customised and personalised, enabling you to create a free website that looks bespoke and tailored to your business and branding. You have total control over the look of your website, and with drag-and-drop functionality, it’s easy to change fonts, add your company logo, or change the colours of the template to make your website instantly recognisable to your customers.

With Fasthosts Website Builder’s mobile quick-edit, you can make changes to your website from wherever you are, even on your smartphone or tablet. This means you can fit website building around your busy schedule, so no matter what your workload is like, you’ll always have time to create and manage the website your business sorely needs.

7. Add extra features to your website

Our Website Builder's free stock image library allows you to add beautiful imagery to your website. As well as content and imagery, you can add extra features like contact forms, photo galleries, and video clips. Giving your customers more to interact with on your website will increase the likelihood of them getting in touch or purchasing something.

8. Create a website with multiple pages

Your website homepage should outline all the important things about your business that your customer needs to know, such as what you sell, what you stand for, and how people can get in touch with you.

To give your users all this information, you should add multiple pages to your website to complement your homepage. Website Builder Complete allows you to add unlimited pages to your website, meaning you can have a page for each product you sell, a page for reviews and testimonials, a contact page, a blog, a help section, and much, much more.

9. Sell your products online

With your website in hand, you're ready to take the next step and start selling your products and services online. Website Builder Complete makes it easy to add a shop to your website, meaning you can start selling products in just a few clicks. A built-in ordering system lets you sell unlimited items, take secure payments, and manage stock and delivery options all from the same place.

The Fasthosts Ecommerce Website Builder is also perfect for those who want to set up an online shop. From as little as £1 per month for the first three months, you can build an online store in minutes, complete with flexible store design options, Facebook and Instagram shop integration, product filters, tracking options, a single page checkout experience, and more advanced ecommerce features.

10. Get your business found online

On top of being able to build a website for free, included with the Website Builder Complete package are tools for marketing and SEO that will improve the chances of getting your website found online. Edit and update your content to match these tips, and you’ll be flying up the search rankings and driving traffic to your site in no time.

When you sign up to Website Builder from Fasthosts, you can easily learn how to create a website for just £1 per month for up to three months. Our support teams are available 24/7 to help give advice on how to build your perfect website, and if for any reason you’re unsatisfied with our Website Builder, you can cancel your contract in the first 30 days.