How to have a professional website for under $25 (Part 1)

professional website unsplash royalty free stock photo

Ever want a professional website, but then realize everything costs entirely too much? Yeah, me too. Today I'm going to tell you how you actually can have a professional-looking website for under $25. No, there's no catch. It's actually pretty simple!

Okay, so maybe there's a SLIGHT catch. It's not that big of an issue, and I'm going to run through the parts you have to sacrifice to get a gorgeous website like mine. As well as all the other details, pros and cons, tips, you name it. This is part of a series so be sure you're following me on Instagram. I updated my blog schedule through Instagram. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter, but to be really honest with you I'm not sure what incentive to provide you guys with to subscribe.  Eventually, I'll figure it out.

professional website dreamlikediana.com setup

With all that being said, it's really not that bad, trust me, and things definitely get better once you read on!

So what gives?

Short story, the website is run on Google's Blogger. Long story...


Blogger is outdated in a few ways.

It's definitely obvious the Blogger platform is outdated and buggy at best! But I still manage to have a professional website on Blogger and get this, 

I only pay $12 a year for it. 

Yup! Just $12 a year, compared to renewal prices at every other professional website like WordPress & BlueHost, Squarespace, and Wix. If only Google utilized and took Blogger to a whole new level, just imagine how many people would flock to Google! Especially since we use Google so much already!

Links 

You'll notice with my links they'll end in 

  • .html 
if it's a page or blog post. 

Or another example, my blog isn't 

  • /blog 
like it is on other websites. It's, 

  • /search?max-results=5 
Which may or may not confuse people. If you're mobile, you won't know the difference and what's going on. As it still works just like it’s supposed to, but if you're on PC you'll notice it. 

blogger links example .html and some wonky link for the blog

So what’s with the link?

The link is because the template I’m using transforms the blog format, and uses the main page as the landing page. Making it look crisp, aesthetic, and professional, but to bring in a blog page the code has to kind of deceive the website and the user.

All in all, the link doesn't look pretty, but it works. And everything else looks pretty. So it really isn't that big of a deal. I still have some top-performing posts, like this one (over 2k unique views; ranking in Google), despite this oddity. 

Some of you may also point out that there’s a date in my URL, like so:

And some websites don’t do this, but I’ve found some professional websites that actually do. For example, on Kenzi Green Design (she is a brand & web designer):

Google has said the date in a URL doesn’t do anything to block one's SEO or how one’s post performs! I will also back this up because some of my posts from Lavendaire and Passion Planner are ranking on the first page on Google, which is insane to me! But also, fucking dope! 


User Interface

The user interface of creating a blog post is outdated and buggy even though they just somewhat updated it. It's still not 21st-century modern. 

That being said, I like having the option of being more hands-on with code, but things can get really wonky quickly.

For example, I write all my posts in Google Docs. Then I add my links here. I figure out what I’m trying to say, do the touch-ups by using Grammarly and all that! But I can’t just copy and paste (CTRL+V) everything as is to Blogger. 

Instead, I have to “Paste without formatting” or “Paste as plain text” or “CTRL+SHIFT+V,” and then I have to go in and add all the formatting one by one on my own, once again. 

That's because if I try to just copy and paste, it gets so buggy and glitchy, and things don’t look right. If I try to fix it, it becomes a mess. It’s just so much easier to save myself the headache and do “CTRL+SHIFT+V” and add in my formatting, images, and links, one by one.

In general, it’s behind.

Blogger's outdated User Interface UI

No eCommerce Option

When I think about Google and how many amazing things it has done (YouTube, Google Drive, G-Suite, Google's Free Certifications, etc), it makes me wonder why they haven’t capitalized on Blogger. They could seriously build Blogger into a platform that does bring in money for them. We’re not in 2010 anymore. Having paid options is a good thing.

First, if you want a completely free option to have a website, you have the 

  • (yournamehere).blogspot.com 
in your name. Just like if you get a free website from WordPress, Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace you would have a
  • (yournamehere).wordpress.com
  • (yournamehere).squarespace.com
  • (yournamehere).wix.com
  • (yournamehere).weebly.com
But if you want to take your website and domain name to a whole professional level, you buy a domain name. 

So I would LOVE to see the Blogger platform eventually grow from what it is, and start adding other options like BlueHost, WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace all have! It has grown a little bit since its release, and the UI was updated ever so slightly just recently. 

I would also love to be able to host my shop in one place, and not have to redirect out to Etsy or Gumroad, or any other platform! 

But I find that most people choose to have their initial website with WordPress, and still hold their external website on Shopify. How did I find this? Right-click, "View page source" if you're on PC. But that's beside the point. If you want an eCommerce website, Blogger isn't for you. But there are tons of external websites that do it quite well and provide you with those tools. Whether it's for a huge lump of sum like Squarespace & Shopify, or free to start with some fees attached like Gumroad, RedBubble, and Etsy.


Starting with Blogger isn’t all bad!

That being said, it is very much possible to have a professional-looking website and your own domain name with Blogger. It's so inexpensive, and I think it's a great choice for anyone who is just starting out! 

pricing on other websites to just make a website

Because honestly, when I was looking at BlueHost, Hostgator, Squarespace, etc. it may seem cheap now, but the renewal fee a year later is going to cost you. The upkeep, if you're not tech-savvy, is going to cost you. The themes are going to cost you. There's always going to be some sort of cost. 

And don't believe what those mother fuckers say on YouTube or Instagram, blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, you could make it within a year if you have the time, dedication, and a profoundly good monetized niche, but for the rest of us, it takes time and patience. You may not see any reward in it for a few years!

That's why I still can't get behind transferring my website anywhere out of here because the ends don't justify my means.

pricing on other websites to just make a website

Yes, it’s possible to transfer a Blogger website and its content elsewhere.

That's another reason why I chose Blogger and choose to stick with Blogger. Because it’s possible to transfer a Blogger website and its content elsewhere. The same can't be said about other websites, well at least not all the time. I'm sure for a good fee someone could do it.

And I was super considering moving it to WordPress because my website designer made the same layout I have for WordPress, but honestly, I'm not a big fan of WordPress user interface even though they're a popular choice. Instead, I love Squarespace and everything it has to offer, but it also has its drawbacks. One of which being I can’t afford it. Or rather let me reword this: I don’t want to use my personal money on this. I want to be able to use funds from selling my designs, illustrations, and more to transfer my website to any other hosting platform that costs me more money. Because at least then I’ll be able to justify the means. 

My Etsy business is just starting out, and I’m not making much with it, that also takes time. Eventually, when I’m making more than enough, it’s definitely something I’m going to do!

So why should I sacrifice my peace and sanity, constantly migrating websites? Can you imagine me moving from here to WordPress and then Squarespace? I can tell you that it’s not an easy task!

I used to be a webmaster, and I have a love-hate relationship with websites. I’ve done it all, Drupal, WordPress, redesign websites, make a website more SEO friendly, more mobile-friendly, I’ve worked with a college, intranets, you name it, I’ve just had enough. Unless it’s for myself, I don’t want to be a webmaster anymore. I don't want to have to handle 6 major projects all at once. I can do it, but it’s stressful! I even have come to hate coding, that’s why I bought my website’s design but installed and tweaked tidbits myself. And still, continue to do so... when I'm in a good mood. 

So if I were to transfer my website, it wouldn’t be all neat and tidy. Sure it has the capability to migrate, but you can’t think it’s going to be that easy. Oh no! There’s going to be a lot of fixing things constantly, and it's going to be a nightmare and a headache every time. Therefore, I rather stay and continue with my original plan until the ends justify the means.


You shouldn't have to break the bank just to make a professional-looking website.

The choice is hard, it’s even something I had to weigh a crap ton before I decided on Blogger over 2 years ago. I disappear for great periods of time, you’ll notice the gaps in my blog posts. 😅 It happens, life gets busy. Or I procrastinate.

So how did I make my decision final? I made a huge list detailing everything, particularly the money side. Let's get into it.

wordpress, wix, weebly, squarespace, and shopify pros and cons personal reasons how i made sense of all the info

Say, for example, 

  • I went with Bluehost my first year. $35 isn't too bad. 
  • Plus $12 for my existing domain that I got through Google Domains. 
  • That's $47 for the current year, which really isn’t too bad. 
  • But a year from now that's $84 for BlueHost at their “regular renewal rate” if not more, depending on your plan, any extra packages, and tax, as well as $12 for my domain. 
  • Which comes to a total of $96 give or take. 
That's $100+ for a website you may or may not always stick to. 

I surely haven’t been consistent, so I’m definitely like, “I’m not going to blow a $100 on something I don’t always see the reward from. I could use that $100 for something else that will.” 

Just like how a lot of YouTubers will say, you don’t need a DSLR camera to start YouTube. You don’t need an amazing setup or amazing host site. You just need to start. Some people will get favored by the algorithm, but that’s rare, for others it takes time to grow.


Buy your domain name first!

Before you do anything though, I would highly suggest getting your domain name elsewhere like Google Domains or GoDaddy so at least you're never going to lose your domain name. Because if you get the free one through BlueHost or HostGator, and then you choose not to renew for the following year, bye-bye domain name!

It gets deleted from your identity and account once you stop paying for it, 

and someone else can start using it. Therefore, get it cheap from an external domain website. 

Not only that but any and all of your work gets deleted versus just keeping it on Blogger for free. I honestly do not mind paying $12 a year for my domain name every year. That’s like $1 a month!

  

If you’re wondering about the nitty-gritty of how I got my website to the way it is through blogger…

Well, that’s my next post! I will give you the exact nitty-gritty about making a professional-looking website through Blogger, design, domain name, really breaking things down further, and why it’s only going to cost you $12 a year!

It's kind of shocking that Google hasn't done anything with Blogger, and hasn't mentioned that they will. They do have a Google for Creators website and all, but that's about it. What about Blogger?

Make sure you’re following me on:

INSTAGRAM | TIKTOK | ETSY

If you're feeling extra kind today, buy me a bubble tea.

Till next time!

~Diana


how to have a professional website for under $25 pinterest pin

0 comments