What if I’m not sure about my business and I just want to test it out? In this post, I’ll show you how to test out your business idea with a basic website for less than $150.
Starting a business and building a website can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Sure, you can waste hours and hours and hours trying to make everything perfect and figure out all the possible options and try every idea. Or, you can spend about $150 and focus up for a week and get it all off the ground. Done is better than perfect here. All the ideas in the world are still just ideas until you execute and put them out into the world.
But how do I do that quickly and cheaply? I’m not even sure my idea will work, so I’m certainly not about to spend a ton of time and money building a website for it!
Yeah, exactly. Developers are expensive. I know, I am one. And reading everything on the WP Beginner blog takes forever and makes me want to stab chopsticks in my eyes.
But it’s not that hard or expensive, I promise. You can DIY this, for sure. Think of it as the first test in your entrepreneurial journey. If you can do this (and you can do this), you can do anything. Yes, you. Even if you’re allergic to technology, even if computers hate you, and even if your frustration-aggression makes you want to throw your laptop off the roof.
Here are the steps to test out your business idea with a basic website:
1. Get hosting & a domain.
You’ll need hosting and a domain no matter what kind of website you build. So, if your site does work out for you, you’ll be all set to grow from there. And if it doesn’t, well, you learned a lot and only lost about $35 anyway.
How to do it: Go to SiteGround and get their cheapest hosting package. They’ll give you a free domain when you register. Choose carefully, because you won’t be able to change it later! For more detailed information, check out this article on how to set up your hosting & domain.
2. Install WordPress
Once you have your hosting and domain, you’ll be able to install WordPress on your website. If you’re using SiteGround, it’s pretty much one click installation. They’ll ask you if you want to add in free plugins or use one of their themes. You can if you want, but you can always come back and get those later. I recommend just installing WordPress with nothing on it and then only adding in the things you want.
3. Install the Divi theme.
This is the most expensive part, honestly. The theme is $90 for a one year license. They have a 30 day guarantee, so if you don’t like the theme, you can get a refund and change it out. But, the Divi theme will absolutely save you more than $90 in web dev fees and time, and that’s why I recommend it. Plus, you’ll need this theme to get access to all of the templates that we’ll be using in the next step.
How to do it: If you’re using Divi, follow these instructions for how to install it. You’ll also need to be logged in to your Divi/ Elegant Themes account to get something called an ‘API key.’ That’s just a fancy name for a password. You just have to copy it and then paste it into your Divi theme in your WordPress admin dashboard. Go to Divi > updates, and add in your Elegant Themes username and that code. This connects your website with your paid account, letting the theme know you have access to updates and permission to use the theme. It’ll still work without it, but you won’t be able to update the theme.
4. Choose a template & upload it.
Here’s where the main benefit of using Divi to build a quick and basic website comes in, and why I recommend investing the money in the Divi theme instead of just using a free one. Divi comes with hundreds of templates. If you want a quick way to build a basic website and test your business idea, this is the key. Choose a template that you like and that suits your business idea. They have SO many – flower shop, marathon runner, restaurant, day care, electrician, pretty much anything you can imagine. It doesn’t have to be exact, because the layouts are very easy to edit, but pick something that works for your business. It’s also very easy to switch out the layouts, so if you start editing and realize that this one isn’t working for you, you can just try another one. Plus, all of the layouts are free with the Divi theme, so you don’t have to worry about paying to try out each individual one.
How to do it: In your WordPress admin dashboard, go to pages > add new. Add your page title (‘home’) and click ‘edit with the Divi builder.’ Click ‘choose a premade layout.’ All of the layout packs will show up, and you can choose right from that screen. Whichever one you select will automatically be loaded to that page. It’s really that easy!
5. Change out the text to match your business.
Once you choose a layout, you can easily edit it. Just change out the text to match your business, and you’re all set. All of the templates that Divi provides are already mobile responsive, so you don’t need to worry about that at all.
Make sure your template page is set to be your home page, and voila, your website is up and running and live for the world to see. You can do that in your WordPress admin dashboard > settings > reading. Make sure your home page displays ‘a static page’ and then select the home page you just created. Don’t forget to scroll down and save!