Today, every business should have at least some kind of web presence. If things are moving slowly right now for your business, it’s a perfect time to start to build a website. You can build a website completely for free offline and only spend money when it’s ready to go online. The following resources all have a number of tutorials around the internet, too, so you will never be stuck at a roadblock for very long.
Why Build It Offline Yourself
There are a handful of reasons to build a website offline. The main reason is cost since working with an agency can run you thousands of dollars. Most of what they do can be done with the help of a YouTube tutorial or one from a website like WP Beginner. It is true that you need to be a little technical, but, the important thing is just a little.
You Don’t Even Need To Own A Computer
It’s true. While most people who read this will build a website on their Mac or PC, you just need access to one of those computers to do this. That could be lent from a friend, relative or you could use one at a local library. The bare-minimum requirement for this is owning a flash drive. First, however, we will be looking at how to build a website on your own computer with a software called WAMP or MAMP.
WAMP and MAMP
WAMP stands for “Windows, Apache, My SQL, and PHP.” MAMP stands for all the same letters as the “AMP” part except the “M” stands for Mac. On both Window’s and Mac’s, these act as what’s called a “localhost.” They allow you to set up a website offline and work on it as if you had paid for online hosting. WAMP is completely free and MAMP is also free (with a premium version available). You don’t need a really fast computer or anything to use these, either. One of my laptops is about eight years old and runs WAMP fine. In case your computer breaks or you don’t have one, there’s another option.
Main WAMP Site
Main MAMP Site
XAMPP on USB
Similar to the other two, “XAMPP” stands for “cross-platform, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Pearl.” This a lightweight and also free localhost server that you can run off a USB stick. That way, you can work on your website anywhere that has a computer with USB ports. Even better, this server works between Windows, Linux, and Mac. The one downside is that if the only copy of your website is on there and you lose it, no more website. The good news is that WordPress doesn’t take up too much space, so you can always keep a backup in free cloud storage like Google Drive or Microsoft Onedrive. The actual website for XAMPP is called “Apache Friends.”
XAMPP Download Page
Working with WordPress
While there are other content management systems out there to create a website offline, WordPress will likely be the best option. Over 38% of the web is powered by it, including Business 2 Community! The main installation is completely free and so are many themes. If all you need is a basic website to showcase your business, a method of contact, and maybe a blog, WordPress is perfect. I even built an eCommerce store offline with this CMS and the plugin WooCommerce. Since I wasn’t quite ready to make the investment in inventory or go online and run ads, using WAMP was a great option.
WordPress download page
Out of the box, WordPress will probably be enough for your business. However, if you want to beef things up and add additional functionalities, plugins are the answer. For example, if you want to add social sharing buttons to your home page, a plugin like Sumo’s is perfect. Many plugins are free or freemium and can also be added to an offline site. There are over 50,000 different WordPress plugins out there, so plenty to choose from. Be careful and make sure that whichever ones you use are regularly maintained and updated, since out-of-date plugins are a serious security risk.
Main WordPress plugin page
Tying It All Together
Things may be moving slowly for your business right now. If so, it’s a perfect chance to invest time in projects that can benefit you down the road. Thanks to a variety of open-source and free resources, you can easily start working on a website if you don’t have one. Leveraging MAMP, WAMP, or XAMPP local hosts with WordPress and the right plugins can help you lay the foundation for a robust online presence in the future.