Simple Geek’s Guide to Building an Affordable and Efficient Website

Let me just start off by saying that there is nothing affordable about my website. is huge and expensive, as ironic as that is. There are over 10k posts, a main site, and two subsites. Between hosting fees, writers, editors, and everything else, I spend about $3k a month on the motherfucker. But the work I do is important; I’ve been a champion of underground art and culture while giving a voice freaks and weirdos for over a decade. I cover San Francisco, New York, and beyond. Check out what I do and if you dig it, please consider helping out.

That said, unless you’ve been running a media company for a gazillion years, there’s no need for you to spend a ton of money on a website. Here’s how you can build one that’s both affordable and efficient.

This whole thing is pretty important. It’s the address where your site will live! So go to and see if the domain you want is open. To be honest, it’s not all the likely that your first choice will be, but fuck around with spellings for awhile and you’ll find something you want to stick with. Also, I still think Go Daddy is a stupid name.

If you didn’t register your domain name with Go Daddy most web hosts will allow you to do so when you sign up. That way you can do everything in one place. Your host is the server where all your magical internet things actually live, so it’s important to pick a good one. I personally use Blue Host because they have actual people you can call 24/7 if something goes wrong. There’s nothing worse than your site going down and not being able to get someone on the phone. And Blue Host’s basic plan starts at $3.95!

Depending on what your site is gonna be you need to decide whether you’re going to go the WordPress route or the Squarespace/Wix route. Squarespace and Wix are both really simple ways to create a site by basically uploading images and dragging and dropping things into the place you’d like them within a template. So it’s great for say, having a place to show off your Manga art, building a site for your alchemist inspired bar, or having a LARPing lifestyle blog.

While WordPress works well for simple sites, it’s versatile and is what you should use if creating a complicated site like an online community for fans of World of Warcraft. There are thousands of themes you can choose from that fit all kinds of functionalities. Chances are you’re going to want to customize the theme a bit though and unless you know how to code you’ll have to hire someone to do that for you. More on that below.

Once you’ve decided on what kind of site you’re going to build and once you have a host you are going to have connect your WordPress or Squarespace/Wix site. There are lots of online tutorials around the web that will show you how to do that, but if you don’t trust yourself not to screw it up you can hire someone cheaply. More on that below.

Let’s face it, if you were super tech savvy you wouldn’t be reading this article. Chances are you might need help with customizing the way your WordPress template works or connecting WordPress or Squarespace/Wix. Luckily you can hire affordable and talented tech geeks for specific tasks. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork allow you to be in contact with contractors and you can offer a job and have someone bid on it. It’s a good way to get affordable help if you don’t already have someone in your life who can assist.

Having an email list is super important. It’s the best way to stay in touch with your customers whether you’re sending them cool content or info about your products. I use Mailchimp because it’s easy to use and super powerful. You can build lots of custom forms and have them on your site so people can sign up for your list.

You should also install Sumo on your site. It’s is a great way to grow your list or show off features you want to highlight. It allows you to easily build custom popups that can direct your visitors to do anything from take part in a specific sale to following you on Facebook to signing up for your email list.

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Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at

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